A T-Shirt Sparks Claims That Another ‘Foreign Agitator’ Is Behind US Racial Unrest
Above photo: The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal seen in a t-shirt emblazoned with the eyes of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as he filmed the crowd fro his cell phone.
We’ve seen various state and federal officials over the past two weeks of George Floyd protests point to a ‘foreign hand’ stirring the unrest for the purpose of creating deeper instability in American society, already unsettled by months of the coronavirus pandemic crisis.
Of course, the ‘nefarious Russians’ were the first to be named — with CNN spending a lot of time amplifying this paranoid claim, for example in an interview with Susan Rice a week ago — but Trump administration officials have also named China, accusing Beijing of exploiting US racial tensions with targeted social media activity “coming straight from the government.”
But the country named by the US administration in the latest among ‘external interference’ blame-game statements is truly an interesting first. Days ago the White House pointed the finger at Maduro’s Venezuela.
As Stars & Stripes reported of the vague statements linking US protests to the Nicolas Maduro regime:
“We are aware of efforts by individuals linked to America’s adversaries, including the illegitimate regime of Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, to instigate conflict, help incite violence, and divide Americans by exploiting peaceful protests,” a senior Trump administration official told McClatchy and The Miami Herald, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the intelligence matter.
Asked for additional, non-public information to back up their claim, the senior administration official said, “We are unable to further discuss any non-open source information.”
Earlier reports also floated rumors than an arrest of ‘foreign instigators’ may have been made, but with no proof yet to follow now days later, the scenario appears completely bogus.
Addressing the official claims, AntiWar.com’s Jason Ditz writes that this appears all too hilariously to be centered on independent journalist and D.C. resident Max Blumenthal, whose reporting has long been sympathetic to Maduro amid aggressive Washington regime change efforts.
Right wing Venezuelan opposition fanatics are claiming that secret Bolivarian govt agents are whipping up violent demonstrations in US cities.
A photo of me wearing a shirt with the eyes of Chavez. https://t.co/p5mq44Msrs
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) May 30, 2020
Apparently Blumenthal’s sporting ‘pro-Venezuela’ T-shirts at Black Lives Matter protests may have caused alarm among some security officials:
The White House is refusing to offer any proof on this, saying it was “non-open source.” Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) cited certain news reports from Latin America. The whole thing, incredibly, all falls back on Max Blumenthal’s T-shirt.
Blumenthal, from TheGrayZone.com, was shown in a DC protest as wearing a T-shirt with “Hugo Chavez eyes” on it. This was taken as a sign of Venezuelan links to the protests, and doubled down on with Blumenthal having interviewed Maduro, and been photographed shaking his hand.
This all starts a not particularly complicated story of Max Blumenthal having gone to a protest and having worn a Venezuela-themed t-shirt.
Apparently US-backed Venezuelan opposition media picked up on it and tried base allegations of ‘state-sponsored unrest’ being orchestrated from Caracas.
“Chavistas infiltrated the demonstration in front of the White House,” one Florida based Venezuelan opposition newspaper breathlessly claimed based on the photo.
The photo shows Blumenthal, an American who lives in the Washington D.C. area, sporting an “eyes of Hugo Chávez” shirt.
I’ve seen a lot of people talking about this photo of someone wearing a Chavez T-Shirt at the protests in Washington DC last nigh.
It’s Max Blumenthal from Greyzone wearing the shirt while he was recording the protests.#Venezuela pic.twitter.com/bTkwf863MD
— CNW (@ConflictsW) May 30, 2020
Days following the initial administration claims of “Venezuela links” to the George Floyd protests, which last week reached a peak in terms of looting and rioting in some places, there’s yet to be any proof or definitive statements establishing that somehow Maduro is behind the mayhem.