Tag Archives: Wikipedia

¿Porqué difamar a Peña Esclusa en Italiano?

Existe solo una explicación creíble a la pregunta porqué Alejandro Peña Esclusa quede difamado solo en Wikipedia en italiano, y no en español o inglés, por ejemplo: Para influir a la iglesia Católica. Lógicamente, esto significa que Chávez y su consejeros en el gobierno Cubano considera el Vaticano un adversario importante. ¿Y porqué no? Es la única organización con una presencia en todo el país, el único que puede difundir la verdad en toda Venezuela cuando los medios de comunicación han sido censurados.

Chávez es amigo de Putin en Rusia, y Putin es amigo de Berlusconi en Italia. Los tres son corruptos en escala astronómica, los tres son obsesionados en controlar el mensaje en los medios. Los tres tienen sus propios imperios de media para difundir su propaganda.

Wikipedia tiene que ser un peligro para ellos. Sin embargo, cada uno puede editarlo, los subordinados de los corruptos también. Es fácil emplear un ejercito de usuarios, o mejor aun, indoctrinarles para hacerlo sin pago. “Idiotas útiles” como les llamaban los bolcheviques.

Afortunadamente, el Cardenal Urosa Savino en Venezuela no se deja engañar. Sin embargo, como vimos en Honduras, el Papa en Roma no necesariamente escucha a su propio gente en el país. Aunque el Cardenal dijo claramente que no fue un golpe de Estado en Honduras junio 28, 2009, pero un destitución legal de un presidente (por haber tratado de derrocar la Constitución), el Papa no repitió esa verdad.

Queda claro que la difamación de Alejandro Peña Esclusa en Wikipedia en italiano se hace con el mismo propósito: Para hacer el Vaticano perder la confianza en su propio Cardenal en Venezuela. Espero que el Papa sea mas sabio que de caer en esas mentiras, y mas bien defiende a los derechos de Peña Esclusa de no ser difamado, y lo toma como ejemplo de la importancia de tener mucho cuidado en los argumentos y en como trataremos a los demás.

Libelous article is part of framing of political prisoner

In 2007 an article on Italian Wikipedia was created about the Venezuelan politician Alejandro Peña Esclusa.

It was obviously created by his political opponents, the regime of Hugo Chávez and its supporters, in order to defame him. Since then a large number of attempts have been made to remove the libel, to no avail. Please look at the discussion and history pages. I furthermore contacted the top legal counsel of the Wikipedia Foundation back in July, but that was equally fruitless. The only result from my insistent arguments for removing the libel and making the article un-biased was to be permanently banned from Italian Wikipedia.

Peña Esclusa was framed for terrorism and jailed in July. The Wikipedia article did a tremendous amount of harm to him, as it was spread over the blogosphere in a machine-translated form, and convinced Internet users that he was a very bad person (fascist, violent, advocating military dictatorships) why they refrained from speaking up in his defense. He is to this day sitting in a 2 x 3 m cell in the jail of the political police in Caracas.

The most important libel in the article today is a paragraph that says, in short, that “he is furthermore a member of TFP, and some members of that organization have been accused of trying to murder Pope John Paul II, and President Reagan. TFP has been banned in several countries for being too extremist.” I first removed every statement after the first comma, since it belongs in the article about TFP, not this one. However, it was promptly reinserted.

Yesterday I got a chance to ask APE himself about his membership in TFP, and he gave me a quote from Ch 17 in his own book “350” where he explicitly says that he has NEVER been a member of TFP. I then went to another computer, to avoid the permanent block, and removed the entire paragraph, left a note referring to the discussion page, and in the discussion page I gave the quote and the reference. Three minutes later it was undone, asking for motivation (apparently ignoring what I wrote). I deleted it again, assuming that the other user would see and understand the note in the talk page. But a few minutes later an editor not only reinserted the libel without comment, but also blocked the IP I was at. I went out on Twitter and the following day two users removed the libel, one with a note referring to the talk page, but in both cases it was promptly reinserted by two different users. Thus, within 27 hours 4 different users reinserted the libel. To me it indicates that there is a conspiracy to defame Mr. Peña Esclusa.

Alejandro Peña Esclusa is facing prosecution in Venezuela, now a communist dictatorship where the entire executive, legislative, and judicial powers are in the hands of “Commander President” Hugo Chávez (he now calls himself Comandante in imitation of the Cuban revolutionaries, and the last step of the Sovietization took place at the end of December last year). He has a ministry of propaganda with an international TV network at its disposal (TeleSur). It is beyond likely that he also has a significant number of staff dedicated to Internet propaganda, and many of those are apparently engaged in editing Wikipedia. One example may be user Skyluke, who sported a communist symbol on his user-page while he edited the libelous article.

The above was sent this evening to the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee. I will report significant developments. First update is that the paragraph was deleted and reinserted a fifth time shortly after this letter was sent.

Update 2011-01-02: Using a still-not-blocked computer to access Italian Wikipedia, I wrote the following explicit warning and explanation of why is libelous: “The second paragraph states that Mr. Peña Esclusa is a member of TFP (Tradition Family Property). There is NO SOURCE given for that claim. Here is a referenced quote from the man himself saying that he has never been a member. Yet 5 different users have reinserted the libel within 48 hours. Furthermore, the rest of the paragraph does not belong in this article but in the article about TFP, and it is clearly present here for the sole purpose of defamation. The man himself being held as a political prisoner in a 2 x 3 m cell without windows and with bare concrete floor. This article contributed materially to him being framed and jailed. He has not ruled out a large lawsuit of the Wikipedia Foundation, or the users who have inserted the libelous claims in full knowledge that they were defamatory. Of course, any user that reinserted the libel after user Lindorm warned of it above in July may be held to an especially high standard.” The entire paragraph was removed by Vituzzu 6 hours later. I also removed the libelous paragraph explaining that it was removed for libel, but it was promptly reinserted by user Valerio79, who also protected the page from “vandalism”, as in all the other cases without any motivation or explanation of why the paragraph belonged there. If anybody doubted that it was communist propaganda, the sixth user to enter the fray in the past few days left us no doubt: User Jaqen added a reference to the statement that Mr. Peña Esclusa is a member of TFP; The source is the official propaganda of Bolivia.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a conspiracy by a criminal network, in which Italy may be deeply immersed. As is well-known, Peña Esclusa’s main target of criticism is Hugo Chávez (who is entirely beholden to Castro’s Cuba, to the extent that Cubans control his government, suck the oil from Venezuela’s ground like petro-vampires, and lately also has converted Venezuela to a Cuban or Soviet style communist dictatorship). Chávez in turn owns Bolivia’s president Evo Morales, so nothing from Bolivia has any value whatsoever as a reference against Peña Esclusa. Furthermore, this axis is closely connected not only to the communist dictator Lukashenko in Belorus, and not only to Ahmedinejad in Iran, but also to Putin in Russia – who in turn is a close friend of Berlusconi in Italy. This axis seems to be less about ideology and more about corruption. They are putting money in their own pockets in a scale that is unheard of in the history of mankind, and Alejandro Peña Esclusa, with his fierce defense of democracy and call for a peaceful uprising was apparently too big a threat for these greedy despots and their useful idiots on the Internet.

Wikipedia is aiding Human Rights-violations through Libel

Wikipedia is helping a communist dictatorship jail and – soon – convict an innocent man in a kangaroo court, by allowing grossly libelous and patent falsehoods to be published about the man in their online user-edited encyclopedia. Wikipedia has given certain users the power to block other users, and this has allowed an army of conspirators – quite possibly paid agents working for the new axis of evil – to block every attempt to remove the libel over the course of several years. They are constantly monitoring the page, since they revoke any change within minutes even if it has been months since the last attempt to change it. Any user that insists and starts arguing the case they block from not just editing the page, but also from arguing the case in the talk page.

After having contacted the top legal representative of Wikipedia without any result, I conclude that Wikipedia knowingly aids a dictatorial regime violate human rights – whether on purpose or for lack of resources is irrelevant. They have been notified and responded, but after the first contact they stopped responding to reminders that nothing had changed. It seems that they need more pressure, either a lawsuit for libel, or a scandal in media.

The case I’m referring to is the slanderous article in Italian Wikipedia, it.wikipedia.org, about Venezuelan politician and NGO-leader Alejandro Peña Esclusa. Every attempt to remove blatantly slanderous and propagandistic statements – even when accompanied with references proving that they are false – are undone almost immediately by several gatekeepers, at least one of whom is a communist judging from a communist star on his user page. Several of these gatekeepers are editors meaning they have the power to block other users. This they use to prevent the user who tries to remove the slander from even commenting in the discussion page of the article.

This slander of Alejandro Peña Esclusa, and the fierce protection of it, has been going on since 2007 on Italian Wikipedia. It correlates with his political activities as an outspoken critic of the communist step-wise coup d’État carried out by Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. Peña Esclusa was framed in July 2010, using methods denounced by the U.S. Embassy in La Lima in a diplomatic cable leaked through Wikileaks.

It is obvious that the purpose of framing Peña Esclusa was to silence his message, expressed through Fuerza Solidaria and UnoAmerica. The gist of the message is that Hugo Chávez is leading a regime of narco-terrorists based on communism as the official ideology.

Recent information that has reached me shows, however, that the Venezuelan government is deeply divided, with the Chávez branch consisting only of Cubans, under the direct leadership on none other than Commandante Valdez, who fought in the revolution in Sierra Madre alongside the Castro brothers. In other words, Venezuela is run as a protectorate of communist Cuba. The other branch are Venezuelan patriots, if socialists, and they are in deep disagreement with the selling out of the country to Cuba and China (such as $5 crude when the world market price is $80; rumor has it Hugito is getting a healthy kickback on an overseas account).

The scheme to eliminate the regime-critic thus seems to have been drafted in Habana, Cuba. The communist dictatorship apparently planned the imprisonment years in advance, starting by planting slanderous material online, and in a Wikipedia article. All attempts to correct it were systematically blocked. The final step was to kidnap a foreigner, Chavez Abarca, in Guatemala, fly him to Caracas, and show him on TV while claiming that he confessed to having come to carry out a murder plot of Hugo Chávez in conspiracy with Alejandro Peña Esclusa. To prevent questions they flew him to Cuba immediately, under the pretext that he was wanted there since earlier for another terrorist attack.

Peña Esclusa understood that he was being framed and published a YouTube video (part 1, part 2) denouncing it. Only hours later they ransacked his house and when nobody looked they planted alleged explosives in his 8-year daughter’s desk. Proof enough for the political police to jail him, and there he sits still – in a 2 m by 3 m cell.

It is a tragedy is that the well-intentioned Wikipedia Foundation in California, through incompetence or worse, has and is aiding and abetting the strategy of a communist dictatorship to suppress free speech, liberty, and democracy.

PS. Since yesterday, another user again erased the slanderous claim that Alejandro Peña Esclusa is a member of the organization Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), with the comment “He was never a member of TFP, see talk.” In the talk page, a quote from his book appears in which he says that he was never a member of TFP. In spite of this, three different Wikipedia users have now, within 24 hours, reinstated a paragraph that claims, without any source or reference, that Peña Esclusa is, at present, a member of TFP. Furthermore, the paragraph in question alleges several damning things about TFP that are obviously put in there only to slander Peña Esclusa through “guilt by association”, even though by Wikipedia’s own rules those details do not belong in the article about Peña Esclusa but in the article about TFP itself.

PS.PS. A couple of hours later, a third user erased it, and it was immediately undone, again. Four different users reinserting the same libel, knowing that it is defamatory, cannot be interpreted as anything less than a conspiracy.

PS.PS.PS. Two hours later, at 01:25 on January 2nd, a forth user deleted the libel, and two minutes later a fifth person reinserted the defamation of the political prisoner, a poor victim of a totalitarian communist dictatorship.

Wikipedia knowingly slanders political prisoner

As I reported in July 2010, Italian Wikipedia contains libelous claims about Alejandro Peña Esclusa, who is a political prisoner in Hugo Chávez’ Venezuela, a country that from now is a Soviet-style communist dictatorship. Yet, as late as today Italian Wikipedia blocks every attempt to remove the slander, even though they have been given proof that it is a lie.

The lie in question is that Mr. Peña Esclusa would be a member of an organization called Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP). Without citing any source for this claim, Wikipedia goes on to present a number of very serious allegations against TFP (not against Mr. Peña Esclusa). By doing this in the same paragraph they leave the non-expert reader with the impression that all of these things are the acts of Mr. Peña Esclusa, and that there is proof for it all.

On numerous occasions this lie has been pointed out to Wikipedia, in no uncertain terms as is evidenced on the talk page. Yet, the only result is that the one pointing out this lie has been blocked, thereby silencing the criticism and the inconvenient truth. The pattern has been repeated over and over.

The last attempt to remove the slander was made on New Years Eve. The paragraph in question was deleted with a reference to an explanation in the discussion page, in the form of a referenced quote from Alejandro Peña Esclusa’s book in which he, himself, states that he has never been a member of TFP. However, the deletion was undone within 3 minutes by another user, without any explanation on the talk page.

The user deleting the page again deleted the libelous claim, and two minutes later the Wikipedia editor Vituzzu not only reinserted the paragraph without explanation, but also blocked the user from editing both the article, and also the discussion page. Vituzzu thereby ensured that the blocked user can’t complain, or request that Wikipedia explains why they are helping a communist dictatorship incarcerate an innocent man, by helping them to spread their lies. For them to spread big lies is an integral part of their strategy to prevent Europeans from understanding the true nature of the narco-terrorist states led by Cuba.

While Wikipedia will claim that they have no editors, the fact that Vituzzu has the power to block dissenting opinions from being heard makes him a “Wikipedia dictator”, and thus – in any reasonable interpretation of the word – an editor. It is irrelevant if and who pays him for the job he does in the service of the dictatorship. Wikipedia has given him the authority to act in their name by blocking other users, and consequently they are responsible for his acts.

Here are some screen shots that show what happened, saved just in case someone tries to destroy the evidence:

The most blatantly slanderous paragraph in this article is the one talking about TFP. That was the one deleted and re-inserted twice today.
The most blatantly slanderous paragraph in this article is the one talking about TFP. That was the one deleted and re-inserted twice today.
The quote from Alejandro Peña Esclusa's book was provided with a reference in the talk page, but ignored by Wikipedia's editor Vituzzu.
The quote from Alejandro Peña Esclusa's book was provided with a reference in the talk page, but ignored by Wikipedia's editor Vituzzu.
The change history shows that any change that removes the slander is revoked within minutes, and that it has been like that for months if not years.
The change history shows that any change that removes the slander is revoked within minutes, and that it has been like that for months if not years.
This is the message that met the user after the second "undo". He is blocked from all pages in Italian Wikipedia which means that he cannot even point out the problem on the discussion page, or on Vituzzu's user page.
This is the message that met the user after the second "undo". He is blocked from all pages in Italian Wikipedia which means that he cannot even point out the problem on the discussion page, or on Vituzzu's user page.

This muzzle method is brutal. It is worthy of a Fascist dictatorship, or, as in this case, a narco-Communist dictatorship. Who is Vituzzu? Where is he? He could be anywhere. He could sit in Caracas, Venezuela, or for that matter in Havana, Cuba, and do these things. (His page on Wikipedia claims he lives in New York, but the phone number he gives is fake, so one cannot assign any credibility to the claims either as to his name or his whereabouts.)

The problem this creates for law enforcement is self-evident. A political prisoner in country A (Venezuela) is hurt in country B (Italy) and as a consequence also in the rest of the world, by material on a server that may be in country C, edited by persons who may be in any country in the world. They could even be the staffers of Hugo Chávez’ own ministry of propaganda, a powerful organization that also counts with the international satellite-TV network TeleSur, and which deploys all the methods and lies that communists have refined since the early Soviet Union.

What responsibility does Wikipedia have? You can log in (click Further in bottom right) and leave comments.

Wikipedia is Spreading a Terrorist Organization’s Propaganda

On July 12, 2010, the politician and regime-critic Alejandro Peña Esclusa was arrested in Venezuela accused of terrorism, an absurd accusation for anyone who cares to look into the facts. March 13, 2007, a biographical article was created about him on Italian Wikipedia, linking him to terrorism by presenting false, misleading, and irrelevant statements. In spite of repeated attempts at removing the libelous claims over the years, they remain there to this day.

Mr Peña is a sworn enemy to communism, and accuses the present Venezuelan regime to be an ally to the communists in Cuba, and the marxist FARC terrorist guerilla in Colombia. His biographical article was created by a communist, judging from his user page. By blocking every attempt to fundamentally correct the article, Wikipedia is spreading terrorist propaganda.

Wikipedia is a user-edited encyclopedic project. Anybody can edit, but certain users called admins have the power to block other users, or to lock articles from editing. There are Wikipedias in many languages apart from English. Since each project, each language that is, writes its own rules, a small but determined ideological group can turn their local Wikipedia into a propaganda outlet, while lending credibility from the original, English, Wikipedia project. While the English site often is an excellent resource, it is clear that not all is well in wikiworld.

What is Propaganda?

Before exposing what has happened, it may be useful to alert you to what to look for. Propaganda is an effort to change the behavior and opinions of a large group of people without them realizing that they are being manipulated. Here are some of the principles that characterize it:

  1. Effective propaganda should be indirect, not direct (as opposed to promotion).
  2. The purpose should not be evident.
  3. The originator should not be apparent.
  4. The message should appear as being commonly accepted knowledge.

A modern word for propaganda is “framing”. Imagine that the message is a painting. Rather than promoting the painting, the propaganda provides a frame into which the target of the message will put the painting, as if it was his idea. This makes it indirect and with a hidden purpose. Obviously the “frame” must not be provided by a “painter”, or else the target will guess the intention and probably be annoyed for being taken for a fool. (This is why framing articles are planted in media through any one of a number of methods.)

It is my observation that an often used device for spreading  ideas (that you have no support for) is to present the message as incidental information in a dependent clause, or as “additional information”, giving the impression that it is common knowledge. I first noticed the device on FOX News when I followed the channel non-stop for many hours. All of a sudden they started mentioning a fact as if they had just talked about that piece of news and established it as a fact, but they never did present any such story. They just pretended they had (it related to Yassir Arafat).

The Wikipedia Article

Alejandro Peña Esclusa has been a vocal critic of Hugo Chávez since 1995, accusing him of being allied with the FARC narco-guerilla in Colombia. FARC is considered a terrorist group by the US, EU, and others. Since we now have strong evidence that Mr Peña Esclusa has been right, we can conclude that it is – and has been for 15 years – in FARC’s and Chávez’s interests to discredit him.

When Mr Peña was arrested on July 12, 2010, only one Wikipedia site had an article on him, the one in Italian. Internet users all over the world turned to that article for more information after hearing about his arrest. This is what they saw:


Alejandro Peña Esclusa (1954) è un politico venezuelano, leader del partito Fuerza Solidaria.

Nel 1998 fu candidato alle presidenziali in Venezuela, raccogliendo un totale di 2.424 voti pari allo 0,04%.

Membro della setta Tradizione, Famiglia e Proprietà, movimento filo-fascista, che permette l’ingresso solo a coloro che dimostrano di essere di razza ariana pura.

La setta sarebbe stata organizzatrice di attentati[1] contro Giovanni Paolo II durante il suo viaggio a Caracas il 13 novembre 1984, e al presidente degli Stati Uniti d’AmericaRonald Reagan, in seguito ai quali la setta è stata dichiarata fuorilegge in VenezuelaFranciaSpagnaArgentina, paesi dove era maggiormente radicata.

L’11 aprile 2002, Peña Esclusa partecipa al tentato colpo di stato in Venezuela.

Alle ultime elezioni presidenziali venezuelane, svoltesi nel 2006, si è scagliato contro il capo dell’opposizione Manuel Rosales, per aver dichiarato la propria sconfitta nei confronti del presidente Hugo Chavez. Nel suo programma politico attuale propugna oggi il rovesciamento violento dei governi di centro-sinistra latinoamericani e il ritorno di dittature militari. Tra i suoi referenti politici vi sono ambienti neoconservatori statunitensi e il partito di ultradestra di El Salvador, Arena.

Ha creato particolare scalpore il suo incontro in Italia con esponenti dell’UDC, tra i quali il segretario nazionale Lorenzo Cesa, avvenuto l’8 marzo 2007Roma.


  1. ^ Gennarocarotenuto.it


The Terrorism Slander in the Article

There is only one source cited, a personal blog of a journalist who is openly hostile to Mr Peña. The paragraph where the reference appears speaks about a religious group called Tradition, Family, and Property, why nothing in that paragraph belongs in this article. Furthermore, the paragraph makes accusations that do not even appear in the TFP article. These are serious errors for an article on Wikipedia, and still it has remained that way for over 3 years, through 73 edits, by 31 different editors. Something is obviously amiss here. But let’s see what it says.

Mr Peña is (falsely) accused of being a member of TFP, which is described as a “fascist-friendly sect that allows entry only to those that can demonstrate that they are of pure Aryan race”.

History of the Terrorism Slander

The article was created March 13, 2007, by user Skyluke (who openly displays a communist star on his user page). The original page was virtually identical to what is shown above. The main difference is that two sentences were added by an anonymous user on May 12, 2007, stating that his political program includes the “violent overthrow of center-left governments in Latin America” by military coups, and that he is ideologically aligned with US neoconservatives and the “extreme right” party Arena in El Salvador, respectively.

From May 12, 2007, to July 14, 2010, the article contained these un-sourced libelous claims, in spite of repeated attempts to correct the article text.

History of Thwarted Correction Attempts

On July 9, 2008, the article text was replaced entirely by a text in Spanish providing a decidedly positive point of view. This was done in violation of Wikipedia rules, and the change was undone quite correctly. However, nobody seems to have picked up the pieces of information present in that version, which they could have, if they really had desired to improve the article.

April 26, 2009, another anonymous user removed the claim that TFP is fascist-friendly and Aryan-only, and soon after, all other paragraphs after the first (which was the only one not containing potentially libelous claims). User Guidomac within a minute(!) re-inserted the previous libelous claims, without justification. (This re-insertion was a violation of Wikipedia rules, because you can neither insert nor re-insert potentially libelous and un-sourced claims in a biographical article on a living person without justifying it.)

April 8, 2010, a third anonymous user removed the claim that he is a member of TFP (the third paragraph in the text above), with the comment that “it is not true.” Four hours later Skyluke undid the change and reinserted the libelous claim, also without justification.

On July 14, 2010 (after his arrest), a forth anonymous user removed both the third and the forth paragraphs (everything dealing with TFP). Within seconds(!!) this change was undone by user Siciliano Edivad, again without justification.

On July 15, 2010, I added one reference, and flagged the article as lacking adequate references.

On July 17, 2010, at 18:01, I wrote on the talk page that the article “contains potentially libelous claims without source that should be removed immediately”. In the next 4 hours, three different users made four different edits, but nobody did anything to add sources or remove libelous claims. At 22:25, I took action, removed all paragraphs containing un-sourced or inadequately sourced potentially libelous claims, and made a note in the talk page. Five minutes later user L736E reinserted them, again, without justification. This was repeated a second time; see talk page.

On July 18, 2010, user Lepido made a series of improvements to the article, although it retained the libelous claims relating to TFP, and it still omitted crucial material. To correct this, I incorporated all the text from the English article, and combined it with the Italian text. Two hours later, at 01:33 July 19, an anonymous user reverted all the changes, naturally without justification. Another user reinserted my longer text, and admin Vituzzu again removed it.

On the talk page, I explicitly pointed out that the existing article text was communist propaganda. Thus, when Vituzzu re-inserted the libelous text the last time, he had been warned that it was communist propaganda, and he still posted it. Quite deliberately. Furthermore, he blocked me from Italian Wikipedia to prevent me from raising the matter with those legally responsible for the site.

The warning flag for bias that I inserted was taken away by L736E on July 19, claiming that the article was balanced and with adequate sources. That is, however, not true. The article remains libelous and biased today.

Who are these users who have contributed to this material support to a terrorist organization? I don’t know. For all we know they may be children, or they may be FARC members posting from the jungle in South America; there is just no way a reader of Wikipedia can find out who wrote the text. The Wikipedia foundation does not have editors, but leaves the editing to the users, without any policing.

Thus, the one to hold accountable here is primarily the Wikipedia foundation, since it provides the platform and is in effect the publisher of the libel, as I see it. But Fuerza Solidaria (an NGO that Peña leads) told me in an interview today that they have tried for years to get that libel removed from Italian Wikipedia, without success. Of course it is difficult to raise a libel suit in Italy from Venezuela, but this raises a legal issue that perhaps the European Parliament should deal with. Crooks should not get a free pass by slandering a person on a different continent via the internet.

Dissecting the Propaganda

Finally a word about motive and the role of this propaganda, the framing. The crucial message in the article on Mr Peña – judging from the edit history – is the sentence that in essence says that “he is a member of FTP, which is a fascist terrorist organization.”

Let us examine this message in detail. The statement that he is a member of FTP is false, denied by himself, while the statement characterizing FTP is referenced only partially, and then to an openly biased source.

Furthermore, the description of FTP does not belong in this article, but in the FTP article. Note that not a single word in the forth paragraph above has anything at all to do with this article. It is also worth noting that none of these accusations against FTP appear in the actual article about FTP, which strongly suggest that they, too, are false.

So why put in irrelevant falsehoods? It is not by chance, that is obvious from the change history: The various clauses have been re-inserted several times after being removed. They must serve a purpose, and we can easily guess which, if we know some things about Mr Peña that are left out from the article.

And there is the other part of the propaganda: Critical omissions. Certain facts must be held back, namely those facts that would enable the reader to understand the purpose of the propaganda, or as it were, why the seemingly irrelevant statements are there. In this case, that Mr Peña is a leading critic of Hugo Chávez, considering him a front man for Castro and a collaborator with FARC, and that Peña is advocating for legal, peaceful, and democratic methods to be used. These are the well-sourced facts that I, in vain, tried to get into the article, and for which I was blocked from Italian Wikipedia for, as they wrote, “being biased”.

The purpose of this propaganda article in Wikipedia is thus both to undermine his credibility in the public debate so that people don’t listen to his words, and to make the general public think that he is a bad guy who belongs in jail. The conclusion is thus near that Wikipedia has been used as a propaganda channel for preparing the public to accept as believable the manufactured evidence that Mr Peña is a terrorist, and to accept that he belongs in jail in Venezuela, so that this fierce critic of Chávez could be put away without a global PR fiasco.

But a PR fiasco it is.

Related stories: CNN attacks the scourge of internet anonymity

Wikipedia fails to stop Slander of Political Prisoner

As reported here 2 days ago, in Character-Assassination of Political Prisoner on Wikipedia, the Italian-language version of the popular free online encyclopedia has for a long time hosted an openly biased and clearly libelous article about the Venezuelan opposition-politician Alejandro Peña Esclusa. Since that article was published, the editor has gone in and removed the two sentences that I quoted the other day. Kind of (see below).

However, he also removed the flag that the article is biased and lacks credible sources – in spite of the fact that many problems still exist.

The Article Remains Libelous

The second paragraph says, “He is furthermore a member of the Catholic-inspired traditionalist movement Tradition, Family, and Property, some members of which were accused of the attempt to organize the attack on Pope John Paul II during his visit to Caracas November 13, 1984 (the organisation has denied such a ‘sacriligious attack’)[2], and against Ronald Reagan, president of the United States of America. As a result of this the movement is outlawed in Venezuela, France, Spain, and Argentina, the countries where it mainly existed.” (“È inoltre membro del movimento tradizionalista di ispirazione cattolica Tradizione, Famiglia e Proprietà, di cui alcuni appartenenti sono stati accusati del tentativo di organizzare attentati contro Giovanni Paolo II durante il suo viaggio a Caracas il 13 novembre 1984 (l’associazione ha però smentito tale “sacrilego attentato”)[2], e contro Ronald Reagan, presidente degli Stati Uniti d’America. In seguito a ciò il moviemento è stata dichiarata fuorilegge in Venezuela, Francia, Spagna e Argentina, paesi dove era maggiormente radicata.“)

Reference 2 speaks about the alleged attack plans, not about his membership in the organization. There is thus no source for the only claim that is relevant: The allegation that he is a member of an organization that is outlawed in his country. In other words, they are accusing him of committing a crime without presenting any proof whatsoever.

Apart from this obvious legal embarrassment for Wikipedia, the article remains negatively biased against Peña Esclusa. For instance, his own arguments, in his own defense, recorded in videos posted online before his arrest, are not even mentioned. Whenever a user introduced such text and references, an admin immediately deleted it.

Furthermore, the biased intentions of the editor can be deduced from the fact that the two problematic sentences I mentioned last time were not actually removed from the file. They were just commented out by admin “Vituzzu”. As soon as nobody is watching, any user can remove the comment-characters and make the libel re-appear.

An examination of the history of the article shows that the efforts to keep smears in place is not something new. On April 8, 2010, an anonymous user took away the sentence saying that he was “a member of the Tradition, Family and Property movement, which only allows Aryans as members” with the comment that “it is not true”. Almost immediately the sentence was reinserted by user Skyluke, whose page you can see below. Draw your own conclusions.

The page of the Wikipedia user who inserted libelous claims about Alejandro Peña Esclusa on April 8, 2010
The page of the Wikipedia user who inserted libelous claims about Alejandro Peña Esclusa on April 8, 2010

It’s not so easy for the falsely accused to defend himself against this libel, given that he is a political prisoner in Venezuela. But if it was me, and I could get word to my lawyer, I would tell him to send a cease and desist letter; not to Italian Wikipedia, but to the mother-foundation in the US. You see, by them allowing the Italian site to use the name wikipedia, they are lending their credibility to the articles also in Italian. It is a fact that also non-Italian users have used this article to get – as they thought – neutral and balanced information about who he is, after the news of his arrest went over the world last week. This has caused a large number of people to decide not to try to help him, as evidenced from discussion pages on the internet.

One of the arguments of the Italian editors was that the text was putative, not decisive. Tough luck. That does non come through in the machine translations on the Internet. Nor does the lack of credible sources come through. Speaking of which, the page still retains as a presumably neutral source a journalist who is demonstrably hostile to the person of the article.

I am looking forward to see how this plays out. It would be an interesting legal case if it would play out, given the many legal facts to consider. (Disclaimer: This is just my opinions, and nobody should take it as advice.) Although a much better solution is of course that the Wikipedia Foundation realizes that an innocent person has been harmed, and takes actions to both help him, and to prevent it from happening again. For instance, by mandating that the rules for protecting biographies on living persons be followed by all sites associated with them. To help undo the damage, they could set experts to edit the article about Mr. Peña, and present it as a featured article.

Character-Assassination of Political Prisoner on Wikipedia

Last edited 11:10, created 10:08 – Three days ago, the Italian Wikipedia article about Alejandro Peña Esclusa consisted almost entirely of clearly libelous and false claims. Over a period of 3 days the editors have refused to remove the libelous claims, blocked attempts by other users both to remove the libel, and efforts to introduce Peña’s self-confessed political opinions as a balance.

As reported the other day (English, Swedish), Alejandro Peña Esclusa is an anti-communist politician and activist imprisoned by Hugo Chavez on July 12, 2010, on manufactured and laughable terrorist charges, and held by a kangaroo court. The Wikipedia article about him in Italian was a pure hit-job, accusing him of attempted murder, for being a coupster, fascist, anti-semite, racist; most either without source, or sourced to statements by political enemies. A big effort yesterday to incorporate well sourced and NPOV (neutral point of view) material from the English Wikipedia article immediately got deleted. For good measure, the user got blocked from doing further edits. Another user re-inserted it and it again got deleted. The libelous text was reinserted. Little does it help that it was flagged as biased and lacking credible sources, when some of it was patently false and libelous.

Here is an example of the reinserted text, as it stands at 10:24 today: “Nel suo programma politico attuale propugna oggi il rovesciamento violento dei governi di centro-sinistra latinoamericani e il ritorno di dittature militari.” In translation, “In his present political program he is advocating the violent overthrowing of the center-left governments of Latin America and the return of military dictatorships.” No source is provided. In spite of repeatedly providing quotes from Peña, video-recordings where he himself states that he opposes violence, to the editors, they let the libelous statement stand, and delete the refutations. The quoted text mentions “center-left governments,” which should have been a warning flag for the editors, being the terminology of Hugo Chávez’s “Bolivarian Revolution” and “Socialism in the XXI Century.” Neutral observers rarely consider governments that socialize companies “center”.

A link to a video where Peña Esclusa himself declares that he denounces violence as a political method was provided, but rejected by the editors. Here is a quote from another website under his control: “the Venezuelans ought to become inspired by the Honduran model, and strive for a change of government as soon as possible, through pacific, democratic, and constitutional means–and not just electoral–to avoid a national tragedy” (my emphasis). To allow the unsourced claim to stand, in complete contradiction to his own clearly stated and sourced political ideology (in the translated article), is beyond incompetence. It is either deliberate libel, or libel through gross negligence, since the concerns had been clearly pointed out in the discussion page.

The history of the increasingly frustrating efforts to make the administrators (admin for short, i.e., the Wikipedia term for editors) agree to remove the libelous claims can be read on the discussion page and the history page on Italian Wikipedia.

The first mentioning of the problem was made on the discussion page 2010-07-17 18:01 CEST, with the following message: “This page appears to contain potentially libelous claims without source, that should be removed immediately – this needs to be addressed by an editor in Italian wikipedia.” The rules for articles on living persons in English Wikipedia (there is no Italian translation) clearly states that one should delete such text immediately, but out of courtesy a chance was given to the Italian users to correct the page first. When after 4 hours nothing had happened, all libelous and unsourced claims were removed. That only left one sentence in the article – which goes a long way to show how biased it was.

This delete was undone within 5 minutes by user L736E, an admin who in the discussion kept insisting that Italian Wikipedia had different rules than English Wikipedia, although he never managed to provide a link to the rules. This is his reply: “Sorry guy but in Wikipedia in italian there’s no such rule that “libelous claim should be deleted IMMEDIATELY”.” He later edited his reply to, “Sorry guy but “libelous claim should be demonstrated and presented as such.”

Among the libelous claims that he re-instated was this: “On April 12, 2002, Peña Esclusa participated in the failed coup d’état in Venezuela.” No source for this statement was given. The fact is that he was arrested and promptly set free. The judicial principles are that if the prosecution of a person is dropped, then he is to be regarded innocent, just as if he been declared innocent by a court of law. This sentence in the article was thus demonstrably libelous. Being from the person’s ideological enemies, the communists, it was also communist propaganda. There was thus every reason to either remove it, or rephrase the text to state that it is an accusation from his political enemies. But it had to be done immediately, not “mañana”.

However, when the communist propaganda-nature of the libelous statements was pointed out to admin L726E, he took the argument as a personal attack against him(!). As a result, another admin, calling himself Vito Giulio-Claudio at the time, blocked not just further edits but also all discussion and messages.

These admins claim that the Italian version of Wikipedia entirely lacks rules for protecting innocent persons against libelous attacks with unsourced statements the way the English one does. In their words, the English rules do not apply to them. But on the English page on Biographies of living persons, it says, “This page documents an English Wikipedia policy, a widely accepted standard that all editors should normally follow” (my emphasis). Their word normally links to a common sense clause, which instructs the editors to use common sense, based on the “Ignore all rules-rule,” which says, “If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it.”

The Italian admins thus have all the clout they need to stop the libelous attacks on Alejandro Peña Esclusa, but instead they chose to use their clout to keep the libel in place by avoiding fundamental changes.

The Wikipedia Foundation would be well advised to permanently block those irresponsible administrators who let libel stand, especially in a case like this, when the person’s life quite literally is in the balance–and just might depend on the veracity of that information.

Footnote: Wikipedia in June announced that they would open up some 2000 hitherto locked articles to make editing easier, including many biographies of living persons (source DN).

Example of Chávez’s propaganda, added 11:10: The new house organ of Hugo Chávez from 2009, Correo del Orinoco, has published an article in which they discuss a video of Alejandro Peña Esclusa talking in a church in 2007. In effect, what he is saying is calling for the congregation to follow the constitution and to protest peacefully. This is their way of demonstrating that Peña is a dangerous terrorist(!). If this is the most incriminating evidence they have, they have nothing. In other words, what the propaganda outlet suggests between the lines, is that to even be opposed to Chávez’s socialist revolution legally and peacefully is unacceptable, and deserves to lend a person in jail.