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Jane Roe Confesses Anti-Abortion Conversion ‘All an Act’ Paid for by the Christian Right

In its final 20 minutes, the documentary film AKA Jane Roe delivers quite the blow to conservatives who have weaponized the story of Jane Roe herself—real name, Norma McCorvey—to argue that people with uteruses should have to carry any and all pregnancies to term.

McCorvey, who died in 2017, became Jane Roe when, as a young homeless woman, she was unable to get a legal or safe abortion in the state of Texas. Her willingness to lend her experience to the legal case for abortion led to the passing of Roe v. Wade in 1973, which legalized abortions in all 50 states (though red states do all they can to get around this; recently, several have even used the COVID-19 pandemic to make abortions functionally impossible to procure). But conservatives had a field day in the mid ’90s when the assertive, media-savvy pro-choice advocate and activist McCorvey became an anti-abortion born-again ex-gay Christian with the help of leaders of the evangelical Christian right, Reverend Flip Benham (of the infamous Operation Rescue) and Reverend Rob Schenck. A conservative film, Roe v. Wade, starring Jon Voight and Stacey Dash, will dramatize McCorvey’s “conversion.”

But those filmmakers, and the rest of the pro-life evangelical community, have another curveball coming. In the final third of director Nick Sweeney’s 79-minute documentary, featuring many end-of-life reflections from McCorvey—who grew up queer, poor, and was sexually abused by a family member her mother sent her to live with after leaving reform school—the former Jane Roe admits that her later turn to the anti-abortion camp as a born-again Christian was “all an act.”

“This is my deathbed confession,” she chuckles, sitting in a chair in her nursing home room, on oxygen. Sweeney asks McCorvey, “Did [the evangelicals] use you as a trophy?” “Of course,” she replies. “I was the Big Fish.” “Do you think you would say that you used them?” Sweeney responds. “Well,” says McCorvey, “I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say. That’s what I’d say.” She even gives an example of her scripted anti-abortion lines. “I’m a good actress,” she points out. “Of course, I’m not acting now.”

I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say. That’s what I’d say.

Sweeney shows the video of McCorvey’s confession to her friends and acquaintances on the pro-abortion and anti-abortion sides, including pro-choice activist Charlotte Taft who, on the verge of tears, says, “That just really hurts because it’s big stakes. It’s just really big stakes.”

Reverend Schenck, the much more reasonable of the two evangelical leaders featured in the film, also watches the confession and is taken aback. But he’s not surprised, and easily corroborates, saying, “I had never heard her say anything like this… But I knew what we were doing. And there were times when I was sure she knew. And I wondered, Is she playing us? What I didn’t have the guts to say was, because I know damn well we’re playing her.” Reverend Schenck admits that McCorvey was “a target,” a “needy” person in need of love and protection, and that “as clergy,” people like Schenck and Benham were “used to those personalities” and thus easily able to exploit her weaknesses. He also confirms that she was “coached on what to say” in her anti-abortion speeches. Benham denies McCorvey was paid; Schenck insists she was, saying that “at a few points, she was actually on the payroll, as it were.” AKA Jane Roe finds documents disclosing at least $456,911 in “benevolent gifts” from the anti-abortion movement to McCorvey.

Reverend Benham then blurts out, “Yeah, but she chose to be used. That’s called work. That’s what you’re paid to be doing!” Schenck’s thinking is quite different: “For Christians like me, there is no more important or authoritative voice than Jesus,” he explains. “And he said, ‘What does it profit in the end if he should gain the whole world and lose his soul?’ When you do what we did to Norma, you lose your soul.”

In fact, Reverend Schenck underlines his own conversion, which took place in the last decade: “I still identify as an evangelical, but I like to think of myself as lovingly critical of my community. I guess in some ways I’d like to use whatever years I have remaining to undo the damage that I did and that many movement leaders did on the pro-life side. I used to think that Roe v. Wade would never be overturned. I think Roe v. Wade could be overturned now. And I think the result of that would be chaos and pain. And to impose that kind of crisis on a woman is unthinkable.”

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Russian Direct Investment Fund Says It Paid in Full for COVID-19 Aid Sent to US

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said on Tuesday it had fully paid for the cargo of medical equipment delivered in April to the United States amid the coronavirus outbreak, and the US side would fully pay for its reciprocal aid to Russia.

“The RDIF has facilitated the exchange of humanitarian aid between Russia and the United States to combat coronavirus. In accordance with the final agreement, the Fund fully financed the delivery of Russian cargo to the United States, and the American side financed the delivery of complementary American cargo of 200 ventilators to the Russian Federation,” the fund said.

The fund added that it has been a reliable partner for US companies present in the Russian market for many years and has always pushed for a dialogue between Russia and the United States.

“Today, such a dialogue is crucial for the fight against the coronavirus at the global level. The RDIF wants to stress that the coronavirus pandemic is a global challenge that can only be overcome through multilateral international cooperation. Thanks to its international partners, the RDIF is now actively involved in the fight against the coronavirus at the international level and receives the most relevant information on methods to combat the pandemic,” the fund said.

Earlier today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that the US would be sending 200 artificial lung ventilators free of charge as part of an aid package to Russia. The first 50 ventilators will be ready for shipment on Wednesday.

In April, a cargo with medical equipment was delivered from Russia to the United States, along with infection detecting systems sent by the RDIF. According to the the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, half of the cost of the cargo was paid by the RDIF and the other half by the US.

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Corporate Media Don’t Think Americans Paid To Invade Venezuela Count Are Mercenaries

Corporate Media Don’t Think Americans Paid To Invade Venezuela Count Are Mercenaries

Corporate Media Don’t Think Americans Paid To Invade Venezuela Count Are Mercenaries2020-05-13PopularResistance.Orghttps://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2020/05/mercenaries-e1589391922696.jpg200px200px

Above photo: From Telesur (via People’s Dispatch5/6/20) of captured mercenaries in Venezuela.

When an attempted invasion of Venezuela launched from the shores of Colombia was foiled on May 3, after armed commandos were intercepted at Venezuela’s coastline of La Guira, it seemed undeniable that the heavily armed men, possessing satellite phones and uniforms with the US flag emblazoned on them, had been paid to take part in a coup attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government (People’s Dispatch, 5/6/20).

In recent reports regarding the Bay of Pigs–style invasion, however, the term “mercenary” was accompanied by scare quotes, as if these men could only be seen that way from the perspective of an Official US EnemyTM (whose perspective is always illegitimate in the eyes of corporate media).

The Hill (5/5/20) is not sure whether an armed force invading Venezuela, led by the head of the “Florida-based security company called Silvercorp USA,” can be described as “mercenaries.”

Fox News’ “Venezuela’s Maduro Says Two US ‘Mercenaries’ Were Captured in Failed Raid Attempt” (5/5/20) described Maduro as the “embattled leader of Venezuela,” who said that authorities in Caracas had “captured 13 ‘terrorists’—including two US citizens—in a failed invasion attempt that he said was no doubt orchestrated by the Trump administration.”

The Hill’s “Venezuela Says Two US ‘Mercenaries’ Captured in Raid” (5/5/20) reported that “Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Monday said that two US citizens have been detained as part of a group of ‘mercenaries’ authorities captured in a raid,” and added that

Maduro said during a state television address that 13 “terrorists” were arrested by Venezuelan authorities for allegedly being involved in a plot Maduro claimed was coordinated with Washington to oust him from power.

The New York Times’ report (5/5/20) actually mentioned that the two Americans captured, Airan Berry and Luke Denman—who had their names and birthdays, from their ID cards and passports, recited aloud in a state address—were employed by “Silvercorp, a Florida-based security company whose owner has claimed responsibility for the failed incursion on Sunday,” which appears to confirm the Venezuelan government’s account. The Times cited a video posted on social media by Silvercorp owner Jordan Goudreau, a retired Green Beret, and retired Venezuelan army captain Javier Nieto, claiming that “Operation Gideon” had been “successfully launched ‘deep into the heart of Caracas.’ They added that other armed cells had been activated throughout the country.”

AP (5/5/20) described the American who led the attempt to overthrow Venezuela’s government as “a three-time Bronze Star US combat veteran,” whereas President Nicolás Maduro describing the foiling of the effort was “self-aggrandizing.”

Before the coup attempt, the Associated Press (5/1/20) published a report describing these men as “aspiring freedom fighters,” scolding the soldiers-for-hire for “skimpy planning” and “poor training,” leaving them unprepared to execute their regime change schemes. The article seemed to take more issue with the fact that it was an unrealistic and poorly planned effort, rather than the fact that trying to overthrow democratically elected governments in Latin America is immoral and illegal.

Subsequent articles (New York, 5/5/20, 5/5/20; Vice, 5/6/20) mocked the botched coup plotters for announcing their plans via Twitter. Perhaps US journalists should be more focused on condemning and investigating these coup attempts, rather than giving advice on how to pull one off better?

The AP’s later report (5/5/20) on the failed invasion, “Venezuela: Two US ‘Mercenaries’ Among Those Nabbed After Raid,” which described how Venezuelan authorities “arrested two US citizens among a group of ‘mercenaries’ on Monday,” went on to omit the role of US’s genocidal sanctions devastating Venezuela’s economy by pinning the blame on Maduro, absurdly painting him as an all-powerful dictator, despite the opposition controlling the Venezuelan legislature (Venezuelanalysis, 1/16/20):

Venezuela has been in a deepening political and economic crisis under Maduro’s rule. Crumbling public services such as running water, electricity and medical care have driven nearly 5 million to migrate. But Maduro still controls all levers of power despite a US-led campaign to oust him.

The Wall Street Journal’s report (5/6/20) not only put terms like “mercenary incursion” in scare quotes, but also lionized these mercenaries by portraying them as unlikely heroes, out to “arrest Venezuela’s authoritarian government and free political prisoners.” Whereas BBC’s headline “Venezuela Detains Two US Citizens Over Speedboat Incursion” (5/5/20) seemed better suited to describing rich bros wandering into the wrong area, rather than soldiers of fortune caught trying to overthrow a government.

The Washington Post (5/4/20) reported that Maduro claimed that his government “had captured two American ‘mercenaries’ Monday in a murky operation allegedly intended to infiltrate Venezuela, incite rebellion and apprehend its leaders.” But even as it cast doubt on the idea that a mercenary force had tried to overthrow Venezuela’s government, the Post seemingly tried to justify such a coup effort by reiterating bogus and hypocritical US accusations against Maduro for being involved with narcoterrorism. The Post inserted—without any critical scrutiny—that “US officials” have “indicted Maduro on narcoterrorism charges, offered a $15 million bounty for information leading to his capture or conviction, and imposed severe sanctions on his government.”

FAIR (4/15/20) has documented how the US has long been involved in a War for Drugs and a War of Terror, and how corporate media covered for the US government’s threats against Venezuela by laundering numerous evidence-free drug allegations against Official US Enemies (Extra!, 1/90, 9/12; FAIR.org 9/24/19, 5/24/19).

The Grayzone (8/6/19, 3/27/20) reported how Maduro has survived previous assassination attempts, and documented US-backed opposition figurehead Juan Guaidó’s ties to the infamous Los Rastrojos drug cartel. The news site noted that only 7% of total drug movement in South America comes through Venezuela, with the US being the biggest consumer of cocaine, while US-allied Colombia is the biggest producer.

Pino Arlacchi, former executive director of the UN’s Office for Drug Control and Prevention, claimed that he never came across evidence of Venezuela’s involvement in the drug trade, and observed that Colombia and the US have driven drug production and consumption in his 40 years of anti-narcotic work. Honduras’ US-backed President Juan Orlando Hernández has been linked to drug trafficking in US courts and brought about a resurgence of death squads, yet the US has put no Mafia-style bounty on his head.

That the US government and corporate media recite these dubious talking points suggest they’re more interested in sabotaging the Bolivarian Revolution and undermining domestic progressive movements (FAIR.org, 2/8/19, 2/20/19) than in any sincere effort to combat narcoterrorism, as the Venezuelan government has a strikingly different political agenda than the right-wing Colombian and Honduran governments aligned with the Trump administration.

The Washington Post (5/3/20) isn’t even sure if armed forces coming into your country to overthrow the government can really be called an “invasion.”

The Washington Post’s earlier “Venezuelan Government Says It Stopped ‘Invasion’ Launched From Colombia” (5/3/20) couldn’t even acknowledge that it was an invasion attempt, putting scare quotes around the term when it wrote, “The government of President Nicolás Maduro said it had thwarted an early morning ‘invasion’ off its Caribbean coast on Sunday.” The Post did this despite explicitly mentioning that Operation Gideon was “an effort to capture senior members of Maduro’s government,” and citing three anti-Maduro figures familiar with Sunday’s coup attempt, including “opposition lawmaker Hernán Alemán,” who claimed that the captured men hailed from Colombian training camps filled with Venezuelan military defectors (who were urged to defect by the US) and sought out by former Venezuelan army general-turned-defector Cliver Alcalá.

According to Alemán, the initial plan to invade Venezuela at La Guaira (where the mercenaries were captured) had to be adjusted after weapons shipments were seized by Colombian authorities in March. Omitted by the Post’s report (and corporate media coverage more generally) were earlier reports (Grayzone, 3/27/20; People’s Dispatch, 3/27/20) of Alcalá confirming the Venezuelan government’s account of the March 24 weapons seizure in Colombia being part of regime-change efforts, when he gave interviews and posted on social media revealing plans concocted with US government advisers and Guaidó to assassinate Maduro. Alcalá’s testimony seems to be corroborated by the fact that the weapons in March were headed towards Robert Colina Ibarra, alias “Pantera,” who was one of the men killed in Sunday’s coup attempt (Telesur, 3/26/20, 5/3/20).

Although corporate media reports of the coup attempt frequently cited denials by US officials and Guaidó of any involvement with the La Guaira invasion, testimonies by Silvercorp’s Jordan Goudreau and Luke Denman—as well as photos of Guaidó’s signature on a general services contract, offering payment for their services—seem to contradict at least Guaidó’s claims.

It is also unclear how the US-backed Guaidó could hope to come up with the minimum of $212.9 million agreed upon in Silvercorp’s contract unless he anticipated the financial support of the US (which bankrolls him to a generous degree)—though the fact that he ultimately reneged on his financial promises to Silvercorp raises the possibility that his Washington paymasters might have been unimpressed with the coup plan’s prospects.

At Grayzone (5/10/20), FAIR contributor Alan MacLeod reported that Silvercorp’s contract also authorized the killing of anyone the mercenaries considered to be “armed and violent colectivos.” The term colectivo is a dehumanizing catch-all term used by certain sectors of the Venezuelan elites to apply to any working-class person, and appears to instruct these mercenaries to convert into death squads under Guaidó’s command after fulfilling their mission, in order to kill opposition to a successful coup. This bolsters the Maduro government’s case for regarding the mercenaries as potential terrorists as well.

While there is no definitive evidence that the US was behind the coup attempt, the Trump administration has never made its consideration of a “military option” to enact regime change in Venezuela a secret. And the March weapons seizures coincided with the administration’s explicit declarations of a “maximum-pressure March,” and the announcement of a “Monroe Doctrine 2.0,” as the US stepped up its illegal, genocidal sanctions on Venezuela, and military buildup in Latin America under the pretext of fighting foreign threats (Grayzone, 3/17/20, 3/30/20; FAIR.org, 3/25/20).

Journalists should not be too quick to discount the possibility of US involvement,  because the US has a history of exploiting a loophole in international law banning the use of mercenaries that allows the use of “private military security contractors” as soldiers-for-hire under a different name. These serve to provide plausible deniability for war crimes and evade accountability. The UN has noted that the increasing use of contractors in US wars clearly amounts to mercenary activity by another name. It’s hard to believe that US officials didn’t anticipate that  mercenaries would to attempt to kidnap or assassinate Venezuelan government officials, as a US hit list incentivizes people to collect millions in bounty money. Recent reports indicate that Silvercorp was trying to obtain the Trump administration’s bounty.

FAIR (5/1/19, 11/26/19) has documented how corporate media have been advocating for a coup in Venezuela on behalf of the US government, and whatever the case may be regarding official US involvement, it’s clear that the men behind the La Guaira invasion aren’t described as mercenaries because the US government and media alike favor regime change in Venezuela.

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