London-based Venezuelan reporter has children threatened if he doesn’t stop reporting the truth.
By Nate Thayer
November 21, 2014
Alek Boyd is one of the most skilled and courageous journalists I have ever met.
This week, agents of powerful and corrupt Venezuelan government forces threatened to kill him and his young children.
Threatening journalists, and their young children, for writing the truth is against the rules.
Boyd lives in exile in London. This week, they broke into his house and stole his computers.
Alek Boyd is the real deal.
For years, Boyd has waged a lonely battle as an investigative journalist micro focused on the entrenched political and moneyed powers in Caracas to expose their blatant corrupt hold on power in the pursuit of personal enrichment.
Alek Boyd has not blinked, for years, in the face of intimidation and death threats by corrupt and powerful Venezuelan thugs loyal to the Chavista government who have tried to silence him.
And nobody is paying him for his work.
Now that ante has been upped.
This week, they threatened to kill his children. This week, government agents broke into his house in London, where he lives in exile, stole his computers, and left pictures of his children as a warning.
I sent him this message yesterday: “Alek: If you need anything, please make sure to let me know. I will do all in my power to make sure this does not go unnoticed. This is scandalous.”
He responded: “Dear Nate: Thanks for the support, mate. Further to the break into my flat on Monday, this morning I found four printouts of recent photographs of my children and myself, presumably taken from quite a distance, going about our business in Central London. The printouts were left inside the pocket of one of my coats, in my bedroom. This new development leads me to believe that it weren’t the laptops they were after, that was just a bonus. I take those pictures as an open threat, to my children and myself. I take those pictures as a form of terrorism. The message is clear: whoever is behind this wants me to know that my family can be harmed at their wish….. I think I have a good idea of who is behind this. London’s Metropolitan Police has been informed.”
I think free people everywhere should also be informed. And they should be angry at this attack on the free press doing an excellent job doing what a free press is supposed to do.
Both Caracas and London should know the world thinks Alex Boyd, and his work, are important.
Yesterday, Alex sent me the following: “Only Tuesday last week I was at the Offshore Alert conference here in London, listening to Bill Browder explain how Sergei Magnitsky had taken the trouble to document every single thing the Russian State did to him, until his untimely assassination. That eventually led to the Magnitsky Act. Taking inspiration from him, I shall try to do the same: I will keep a public record of what is happening, and in case my family or myself perish, interested parties in the future like Bill Browder- will hopefully take an interest and the Venezuelan culprits pay the consequences of their actions. Best, Alek”
I feel honoured to call Alek Boyd my friend. We support you, Alex. And we are watching.
I sent Alex a message:
That is both disgusting and alarming and outrageous. Have you made these facts public? Do you have any objection to me doing so? My short and long list of friends would undoubtably be outraged, as they well should be. They come from the whole spectrum of politics but certainly agree on this point: No one should be bullied or threatened from the pursuit of the truth or free flow of information.
I would like to write of it. Let me know if that is a problem.
And take care. As we both know these people are mainly huff and puff, but they are also dangerous. Threatening ones children is even against the rules for the mafia, for God’s sake.”
Alek replied: “Dear Nate, go ahead and help me spread the news far and wide, write about it however you see fit. I feel that’s the only deterrent against further attacks.
I truly appreciate your support mate.
With best wishes,
So I am.
I know Alek Boyd.
We met in Washington D.C a few months ago and ate onion cheese steaks in my living room and talked of the cancer of corruption and governments ruled by dictators, and commiserated over the state of investigative journalism.
We had hoped to collaborate on stories regarding Venezuelan corruption.
But, to my regret, I had accepted gifted money from what I later learned were politically interested Venezuelan parties, which made me writing on the subject impossible. While it was very important to paying my rent, it made me unable to report on anything related on the outrageous corruption and thuggery that is the truth in today’s Venezuela.
Alek Boyd has both given me hope and invigorated my commitment to our mutual passion of telling people with guns, money and political power to go fuck themselves if they think they can use those illegitimate powers to intimidate reporters from telling the documented, well researched truth.
In all honesty, Alek Boyd is a far more skilled and better journalist than me.
I am in awe of how he has reported, with slam dunk documentation, the corruption of the current government powers in Venezuela.
Alek Boyd will never give up. He breathes making the corrupt dictators in Venezuela answer to their actions.
But he might well die doing his job.
And we should also do our jobs defending free people disseminating truth to power.
Alek Boyd needs the support of people who believe in free flow of information and unfettered journalism.
Boyd is a blogger. He has no paycheck. He has no bosses. And he has precious little support.
He deserves far more. But he is satisfied doing what he was born to do–tell the truth.
Alek Boyd is a poster boy for freedom for everyone.
Boyd’s work exposing the corruption of the Chavista government is as unmatched as it is unheralded.
Like many unsung heroes, he works for no one, but is driven by a passion to not let intimidation and power and money and guns stop him from reporting the truth.
And the truth in Venezuela is a very ugly truth indeed.
Powerful thugs in the employ of one of the most under-reported, corrupt, and repressive governments in the world are trying to silence him.
This will not happen.
We are all Alek Boyd.
I urge people to be skeptical and go to Boyd’s blog site and see for themselves the extraordinary work Alek Boyd has produced.
He said: “I think the best contact is via Twitter @alekboyd or email at this address.
“Documents, leaks, and tips can be sent to: email@example.com”
The link to what has happened, which I will be updating: http://infodio.com/191114/agents/chavismo/break/in/blogger/london
I asked him why they were threatening him and his family.
“Reasons? They want to terrorise me into silence. They hate being exposed, especially considering that the likely culprits are being investigated by US federal agencies and Manhattan DA’s office.
Here is Alek Boyd, in his own words:
“To be perfectly honest folks, I didn’t see this one coming, consequence I think, of having shed many years ago the paranoia that almost every Venezuelan carries like a second skin. I thought I was safe in Central London. Until Monday morning, when some thugs most probably sent by chavismo and/or its boligarch associates broke into my flat and stole my laptops. They didn’t take my wallet, money, valuables… mind you they even left behind one of their own rain jackets and a mobile phone. Frankly I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about it. On the one hand, I have to respect the boldness of the men who carried out this action. I have used plural all along on purpose, for there is CCTV evidence of at least three men, totally unrelated to the residents of the building where I live, trying to gain access to it. Neither of them bothered to cover their faces. In fact, one of them spoke to the porter and tried to force his way in, in three separate instances, through the front door of the building, while another stood at a very close distance and laughed at the porter. I have got to interpret their boldness as if they purposefully wanted to send a strong message: “we came to your flat, we broke into it in broad daylight, and we can’t care less about being caught by video cameras or be seen.”
Another part of me is convinced that this is most definitely the work of chavistas. For only chavistas can break into a flat to steal laptops containing sensible information and leave behind so much evidence, such as their own phone. This reminds me of the typical Venezuelan “rambos” that make up the “intelligence” forces in that country: smash first and never bother with details. Guapos y apoyaos sort of attitude. But then, if they could do that, it is evident they are prepared to do anything, including re-launching a defunct British intelligence agency (MI-16) and “reporting” that “my house had been raided on Wednesday” (that’ll be 48 hours after the fact).
My interpretation of events after two days is this: thug no. 1 manages to get through piggybacking on somebody exiting the building. He then gets in the lift, and makes his way in the floors above to the staircase. Goes down the stairs and opens the fire exit door to thug no. 2. Both of them were carrying rucksacks. One, or the two of them, then wait, in the staircase, until I leave the flat (I was at home at the time the first gets into the building). Thug no. 3, who is wearing running clothes, tips them when he sees me leaving the building. Door lock is forced with a screw driver, and they get into my flat. But then, something must have alerted them. Footage of roughly one hour later shows no. 1 outside the front door of the building, ringing the intercom presumably to no. 2, who’s inside my flat. He tries that three times, but does not manage to get in. He rings different flats, alerting different neighbors. In one occasion he even talks to the porter, and says in broken English that he has a meeting with “John” in the flat next to mine. By this time the porter suspected something was going on. So no. 3 also tried the front door, once, and fails. They leave with exactly what they came for, nothing else.
I got back from a run to realize the mat is misplaced, and when I saw the lock noticed it’s been forced. Went to the porter’s office and reported it to the police. The porter then shows me footage of what had happened outside the front door. When I entered the flat with the police I noticed, by the door, the rain jacket of no. 2. The police officer picks it up and notices a mobile phone inside. He shows me some text messages, in Spanish, along the lines of “estoy en la escalera” and “llamame quando estes listo”. The log shows a number of different mobile phone numbers.
They took only the computers, suggesting the order was “bring the laptops”. It shows a level of discipline on the one hand, and the most absolute lack of common sense on the other. Like foot soldiers. They took laptops, but didn’t take backup servers staring at them (don’t worry about coming back chaps, my stuff is backed up much before you came in plenty of places you will never be able to reach). They took laptops, but didn’t take my phone, or my wallet, passports, documents, etc. So what to make of that? They spent about an hour here, which would have given them enough time to bug the place. However I have found no evidence of it, and a proper, professional sweep will be done in the next few days. What will happen right now is this: I am going to make “los tres chiflados” instant online celebrities:
I am going to then ask, both publicly and privately, my fellow bloggers, investigative journos, law enforcement mates and contacts around the word, and everyone else I can enlist, to help me get to the bottom of this. If I don’t get killed first, which is a definite possibility considering the above, I am going to make my short, mid, and long-term personal goal to expose whoever was stupid enough to contract such an incompetent bunch of half wits to do this.
UPDATE 21.14.2014: Further to the break into my flat on Monday, this morning I found four printouts of recent photographs of my children and myself, presumably taken from quite a distance, going about our business in Central London. The printouts were left inside the pocket of one of my coats, in my bedroom.
This new development leads me to believe that it weren’t the laptops they were after, that was just a bonus. I take those pictures as an open threat, to my children and myself. I take those pictures as a form of terrorism. The message is clear: whoever is behind this wants me to know that my family can be harmed at their wish.
I shall take this as I interpret it to be. Yesterday I posted pictures of the three suspects (SEE ABOVE). Given publication of certain “reports” in a chavista rag in Venezuela (primicias24.com), I think I have a good idea of who is behind this. London’s Metropolitan Police has been informed.
Only Tuesday last week I was at the Offshore Alert conference here in London, listening to Bill Browder explain how Sergei Magnitsky had taken the trouble to document every single thing the Russian State did to him, until his untimely assassination. That eventually led to the Magnitsky Act. Taking inspiration from him, I shall try to do the same: I will keep a public record of what is happening, and in case my family or myself perish, interested parties in the future -like Bill Browder- will hopefully take an interest and the Venezuelan culprits will pay the consequences of their actions.
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