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Anti-Chavez blogger loses press complaint
Aleksander Boyd, who had advocated the violent overthrow of the Venezuelan government and then deleted the passages from his blog, complained that his views had been misrepresented in an opinion piece published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free section in September 2007.
But the newspaper watchdog stated that "no inaccuracies had been determined as to raise a breach of the code."
The Guardian comment piece, by 21st Century Socialism co-editor Calvin Tucker, quoted Boyd saying that he wished to “neutralise” supporters of President Chavez through “barbaric practices”. One method of torture he advocated was to “pour melted silver” into the eyes of captured opponents. Others opponents were to be “decapitated in public plazas” or thrown out of planes and helicopters.
Boyd also promoted cannibalism. "I wish I had eaten my half brother," he explained on his blog.
Before making his complaint, Boyd removed these passages from his blog thus ensuring that all the links on the Guardian website led to error pages.
However, the passages had previously been published (and sourced to Boyd's website) on press releases issued by the Greater London Authority. In 2006. Aleksander Boyd issued libel proceedings against the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. Boyd withdrew the case after the defence presented its evidence.
One of the quotations which destroyed Boyd’s case against both Livingstone and the Guardian, has now been traced to its original source and can be viewed online: “Re advocating for violence yes I have mentioned in many occasions that in my view that is the only solution left for dealing with Chavez.”
Boyd reacted angrily to the decision of the Press Complaints Commission, saying that it "reeked of discrimination".
The PCC had "borrowed straight from the derogatory jargon used by Hugo Chavez and his apologists," he said.
Boyd also accused the internet search engine Google of conspiring with the Venezuelan government to "safeguard the online reputation" of Calvin Tucker and other "henchmen" of the Venezuelan president. Google is the "ultimate propaganda tool of Hugo Chavez," he added.
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