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Gangster Capitalism:
Financial oligarchy and the Globalization of Organized Crime

News Neoliberalism Recommended Links Financial Looting Financilization of economy as the mechanism of redistributing the wealth up Crony Capitalism as Neoliberalism "new normal" Classification of Corporate Psychopaths Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists  
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" The Danger Imposed by Financial Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers The Deep State Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism
The Great Transformation Neoliberalism as secular religion, "idolatry of money" The Iron Law of Oligarchy Senator Bob Menendez Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Globalization of Financial Flows Globalization of Corporatism
Greenspan as the Chairman of Financial Politburo Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Neoliberalism and the crash on Boeing 737 MAX Techno-fundamentalism Neoliberalism Bookshelf Greenspan humor Etc

"The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist" 

Thomas Friedman 

Free market is possible only under strict government regulation. Without government regulation free market quickly deteriorates into the law of jungles. Such a paradox ;-)
And if financial oligarchy gets to power as they got via coup d'état in the USA in late 7th, it is only a matter of time before the society collapses. They are very destructive to the society at large. Probably more so then organized crime. But wait. They actually can be viewed as special type of organized prime as is "The best way to rob the bank is to own it".

If you think that Yeltsin privatization (see  Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia) and rise of organized crime in Russia are two distinct phenomenon, think again. Neoliberalism which declare profit as single and only moral value is in reality deeply interconnected with organized crime both in methods and personalities.  This is not very noticed in the USA, but quite so in, say, Ukraine.

It's not accidental that Forbes magazine recently placed two Mexicans, Carlos Slim and Joaquín Guzmán, high on their list of the most powerful people in the world. Carlos Slim is the world’s third-richest man and CEO of a telecommunications company and Joaquín Guzmán is the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

US Big Banks Are A Culture of Crime!

TheTradingReport

Organized crime. This phrase is now a precise synonym for big-banking in the United States. These Big Banks commit big crimes; they commit small crimes. They cheat their own clients; they swindle outsiders. They break virtually every financial law on the books. What do all these crimes have in common? The Big Banks commit all these crimes again and again and again – with utter impunity.

These fraud factories commit their serial mega-crimes, year after year, because the Big Banks know that they will never, ever be punished. On rare occasions, their crimes have been so egregious that U.S. ‘justice’ officials could no longer pretend to be oblivious to them. In such cases, there was a token prosecution, there was a settlement where the law-breaking banks didn’t even have to acknowledge their own criminality, and there was a microscopic fine – which didn’t even force the felonious financial institutions to disgorge all of their profits from these crimes.

Criminal sanctions, by definition, are supposed to deter criminal conduct. The token prosecutions against U.S. Big Banks didn’t deter Big Bank crime, they encouraged it. But even these wrist-slaps were becoming embarrassing for this crime syndicate, so they dealt with this problem. The Big Bank crime syndicate told its lackeys in the U.S. ‘justice’ department that they were not allowed to prosecute one of its tentacles, ever again.

The lackeys, as always, obeyed their Masters, and issued a new proclamation. The U.S. ‘Justice’ Department would never prosecute a U.S. Big Bank ever again – no matter what crimes it committed, no matter how large the crimes, no matter how many times the same Big Banks committed the same crimes. Complete, legal immunity; totally above the law. A literal culture of crime.

What happens when you create a culture of crime in (big) banking? Not only the banks break laws – with impunity – their bank employees do so as well. Case in point: Warren Buffett’s favorite Big Bank – Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo employees came up with a good idea for boosting their salaries: stealing money directly out of the accounts of the bank’s clients.

Consider how large this crime became, in just one of these tentacles of organized crime.

L.A City Attorney Mike Feuer announced a $185 million settlement reached with Wells Fargo, after thousands of bank employees siphoned funds from their customers to open phony checking and savings accounts raking in millions in fraudulent fees.[emphasis mine]

Thousands of bank employees stealing millions of dollars from bank customers, in tiny, little increments, again and again and again. But the story gets much worse. Why was a lowly city attorney involved with the prosecution of this organized crime?

So where is the FBI? Where is the Department of Justice? How about California Attorney General Kamala Harris? Too busy campaigning for the Senate to notice? How about L.A. District Attorney Jackie Larry?

Only City Attorney Mike Feuer took action, and he only has the authority to prosecute misdemeanors…

There are only two ways in which the non-action of the U.S. pseudo-justice system can be explained:

  1. All of the layers of “justice” above the City Attorney, are completely bought-off, and refuse to prosecute one of the corporate fronts of their (real) Masters.
  2. All of the layers of “justice” above the City Attorney considered this systemic crime by Wells Fargo’s employees to be nothing more than a misdemeanour.

Take your pick. The U.S. pseudo-justice system is used to seeing so many multi-billion dollar mega-crimes being committed by these fraud factories that the systemic crime at Wells Fargo (which was ‘only’ in the $millions) didn’t even attract their attention. Or, the entire U.S. pseudo-justice system is completely bought-off and corrupt – and they refuse to prosecute Big Bank organized crime.

A culture of crime.

It gets still worse. Thousands of Wells Fargo employees stole millions of dollars, from countless clients. They were caught. But not even one banker was sent to jail. In a real justice system, systemic crime of this nature would/could only be prosecuted in one of three ways. Either every Wells Fargo criminal would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law (given the egregious nature of the crime), or Wells Fargo management would be prosecuted – because they would have/should have known about this crime-wave. Or else both.

Bankers stealing money, directly and brazenly, right out of customer accounts, but no one goes to jail? A culture of crime.

Understand that endemic, cultural changes of this nature don’t originate at the bottom of the corporate ladder. They originate at the top. In the case of the Wall Street crime syndicate; we already know that their management personnel are criminals, because they haveadmitted to being criminals.

Many Wall Street executives says [sic] wrongdoing is necessary: survey

If the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes were to go out with his lantern in search of an honest man today, a survey of Wall Street executives on workplace conduct suggests he might have to look elsewhere.

A quarter of Wall Street executives see wrongdoing as a key to success, according to a survey by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow released on Tuesday.

In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK [New York and London], 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful… [emphasis mine]

One-quarter of Big Bank management admitted that they “need” to commit crimes. A culture of crime. More needs to be said about the rampant, disgusting criminality among upper management in the Big Banks of the U.S. (and UK).

A known whistleblower was conducting a public survey, asking known criminals how many of them were engaging in criminal behavior. What percentage of respondents would lie when answering such a survey? Three-quarters sounds about right. One-quarter of Wall Street executives admitted that committing crimes was a way of life. The other three-quarters lied about their criminal acts.

Monkey see; monkey do. The lower level foot soldiers see their Bosses breaking laws, with impunity, on a daily basis. Their reaction, at Wells Fargo? “Me too.”

Most if not all of the Wall Street fraud factories conduct detailed “personality testing” on their bank personnel. Are they looking to weed-out those with criminal (if not psychopathic) inclinations? Of course not. They conduct this personality testing to find which employees have no reservations about engaging in criminal conduct – so they can be fast-tracked for promotion.

There is no other way in which the systemic criminality of senior banking personnel can be reconciled with the detailed personality-testing in which they participated, in order to reach that level of management. The Wall Street fraud factories look for the most amoral criminals which they can find. And with the exorbitant, ludicrous “compensation” they award to these criminals for their systemic crimes, they end up with (literally) the best criminals that money can buy.

A culture of crime.

As a final note; the U.S. system of pretend-justice already has a powerful weapon in its arsenal to fight organized crime: the “RICO” act. This anti-racketeering statute was created for one, precise purpose: to not merely prosecute/punish organized crime, but to literallydismantle the crime infrastructure which supports the organized crime.

Not only does the statute confer strong (almost limitless) powers in gathering evidence of organized crime, it also permits mass seizures of assets – anything/everything connected to the organized crime of the entity(ies) in question. In the case of the Big Bank crime syndicate, where all of its operations are directly/indirectly tied into criminal operations of one form or another, if RICO was turned loose on these fraud factories, by the time the dust had settled there would be nothing left.

Oh yes. If the U.S. ‘Justice’ Department ever went “RICO” on U.S. Big Banks, lots and lots and lots of bankers would go to prison, for a very, long time.

Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime

The first researcher who explored this uncanny relationship between that two and strong links between the neoliberal system of governance and organized crime was Michael Woodiwiss with his influential book Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime (Paperback):

Everyone knows what organized crime is. Each year dozens of feature films, hundreds of books, and thousands of news stories explain to an eager public that organized crime is what gangsters do. Closely knit, ethnically distinct, and ruthlessly efficient, these mafias control the drugs trade, people trafficking and other serious crimes. If only states would take the threat seriously and recognize the global nature of modern organized crime, the FBI's success against the Italian mafia could be replicated throughout the world. The wicked trade in addictive drugs could be brought to a halt.

The trouble is, as Woodiwiss demonstrates in shocking and surprising detail, what everyone knows about organized crime is pretty much completely wrong. In reality the most important figures in organized crime are employees of multinational companies, politicians and bureaucrats. Gangsters are certainly a problem, but much of their strength comes from attempts to prohibit the market for certain drugs.

Even here they are minor players when compared with the intelligence and law enforcement agencies that selectively enforce prohibition and profit from it. Woodiwiss shows how respectable businessmen and revered statesmen have seized these opportunities in an orgy of fraud and illegal violence...

A very timely book, November 16, 2008 Joseph Oppenheim (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews

What makes "Gangster Capitalism" so worthwhile is that it helps in understanding what has led us to the 2007-8 financial meltdown. As the book shows, like during the 1920's, deregulation led the way for powerful companies to allow the very wealthy to get wealthier at the expense of average people by using poor working conditions, low wages, etc, plus at the same time supporting supposedly moral movements (against gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc) which mainly served the purpose of making these trades more profitable to crooks and therefore created rampant gangsterism there. The result was such a society wracked with gangsterism at all levels, but because most people felt they were prospering, few complained.

But, then it all collapsed with the 1929 crash and resulting Depression, which led the way for FDR and the New Deal programs which increased regulation of corporations, repeal of Prohibition, etc. Though the Depression lingered until WWII, the New Deal was successful in restructuring our laws and public infrastructure to create a better footing for the prosperity which would follow.

The book effectively traces how much of this regulation was reduced piece by piece, beginning in earnest with Nixon, using Cold War fears to tilt the nation toward more corporate power and away from reform, support of right-wing dictators around the world, re-energizing a 'moral crusade' especially by beginning the War on Drugs, thereby making the illegal drug trade super profitable, etc.

The nation had shifted Right and even Democratic presidents like Carter who was instrumental in deregulating industry and Clinton who signed into law the repeal of Glass--Steagle weren't able to stop the shift. Then, the 'Gangster Capitalism" went on steroids with G. W. Bush. By 2003, corporate taxes only amounted to 7% of revenues, while payroll taxes amounted to 40%.

Of note, the book makes clear it is opportunity which leads to much crime, so the approach of massive deregulation of corporations, plus focusing on arrests and imprisonment for victimless crimes ends up with the wrong results, more entrenched crime, even allowing corporations to capitalize on a prison industry.

The book is also good at highlighting how corporations and outright gangsters were able to corrupt legal drugs (price-fixing), tobacco, asbestos, body parts, autos (Pintos), etc. Some other things in the book, of note: Hamid Karzai included drug traffickers in his Afghan administration.

And, our support of Suharto (Indonesia), Mobuto (the Congo), and Marcos (the Philippines) allowed 'looting' of these countries.

A corrupt financial infrastructure included the BCCI bank and offshore banking to evade taxes also developed. Plus, laundering money from illegal arms sales, drugs, and so many other illegal activities passed through our financial system.

The book is definitely tilted toward a liberal way of looking at things, therefore it doesn't go into the good things about capitalism, but there are disturbing patterns which are important to understand, and this book does that very well.

Wasted opportunity, September 6, 2006

By James R. Maclean (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Despite the fact that I was predisposed to agree with many of the author's views, this book was a huge disappointment. First, the basic premises:
  1. American business enterprise is singularly corrupt;
  2. Most of the crime that Americans suffer from is corporate crime;
  3. American methods of fighting crime focus on lurid fantasies of underworld conspiracy;
  4. The USA exports criminality through its foreign & trade policies.

Each of these premises could have been, and in other venues have been, well-argued. The first three suffer from a lack of generally accepted, objective measures, but experts on criminology have overcome worse obstacles. What we get instead is an unfocused, rambling listing of claims (plausible, but very poorly documented) about the criminal underworld, anecdotes about corporate crime, and extreme statements. No doubt "legitimate" business enterprise does rip off more money from customers each year than do gangsters or mafiosi; but the latter also account for a tiny fraction of the total US labor force. And comparing deaths from industrial accidents to mob hits is just over the top.

Woodiwiss says that the book "had its inception during a seminar series on transnational organized crime run by Adam Edwards and Peter Gill... Adam and Peter put together several of the best academic researchers from Europe and North America...." Yet the book is exasperatingly badly substantiated. I noticed almost no original research. Woodiwiss's footnotes, which--like cops--are never around when you need them (viz., when he is actually saying something that requires documentation), are almost exclusively from articles in the *Guardian* or from other sensational exposes. Radical literature has its place, of course, but saying, "US capitalism is just like organized crime... see, it says so in 'The New Left Review'" is just a harangue, not evidence.

The back cover declaims: "..[T]he position of large multinational corporations...actually provide the most enticing opportunities for illegal profit...Gangster Capitalism shows how respectable businessmen and revered statesmen have seized these opportunities in an orgy of fraud and illegal violence that would leave the most hardened mafiosi speechless."

In fact, it's a disappointing pile of clippings. With the exception of his claims--again, plausible but unsubstantiated--you are not going to find any surprises here.

As I mentioned, he attacks conventional wisdom regarding the mafia and J. Edgar Hoover (who comes off surprisingly well); unfortunately, Woodiwiss offers almost no support for those contentions that are likely to be controversial. For example, on p.78 he mentions President [Nixon]'s Advisory Council on Executive Organization, "Organized Crime Strike Force Report" [1969], which included a vaguely worded remark that the reliance on legal sanctions to fight drug abuse was actually causing organized crime to flourish." This is footnoted. Then he says that Nixon was so horrified by this that he ruthlessly suppressed the report. This is not footnoted. The next pargagraph (p.49) includes a quote from a law enforcement officer claiming that gambling arrests were made just to pad the arrest numbers; this is footnoted. The next paragraph declares that gambling is no more corrupt than the rest of the economy. A surprising observation, it is predictably not footnoted.

The result: lots of footnotes documenting that water is a bit on the damp side, but nothing to support the controversial stuff. Only a small part is devoted to crime; the rest is a paste-up job from two dozen radical critiques of the USA. Anything from the 1971 ditching of the gold exchange standard to the various covert activities of the CIA are brought up, with no more compelling a connection to Woodiwiss' original point than being bad things that Americans did.

< are so insipid (it calls for "fair trade" with no further specification of how that would be any different... capital punishment for corporations--evidently Mr. Woodiwiss has never heard of 'money laundering,' in which a vehicle corporation commits suicide), that it is pointless to spend any time on them. Woodiwiss needs to actually learn something about economics; ironically enough, for someone who claims business is closely tied to crime, he knows almost nothing about it. He needs to know, and say what he knows, about law enforcement and business practices abroad, so he can make a comparison. And finally, he needs to actually learn how to write.


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[Apr 21, 2019] Whenever someone inconveniences the neoliberal oligarchy, the entire neoliberal MSM mafia tells us 24 x7 how evil and disgusting that person is. It's true of the leader of every nation which rejects neoliberal globalization as well as for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Highly recommended!
Apr 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Have you ever noticed how whenever someone inconveniences the dominant western power structure, the entire political/media class rapidly becomes very, very interested in letting us know how evil and disgusting that person is? It's true of the leader of every nation which refuses to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized power alliance, it's true of anti-establishment political candidates, and it's true of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they'll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they'll be far more likely to consent to Assange's imprisonment, thereby establishing a precedent for the future prosecution of leak-publishing journalists around the world. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you're suspicious of him you won't believe anything he's saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it's as good as putting a bullet in his head.

Those of us who value truth and light need to fight this smear campaign in order to keep our fellow man from signing off on a major leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia, and a big part of that means being able to argue against those smears and disinformation wherever they appear. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any kind of centralized source of information which comprehensively debunks all the smears in a thorough and engaging way, so with the help of hundreds of tips from my readers and social media followers I'm going to attempt to make one here. What follows is my attempt at creating a tool kit people can use to fight against Assange smears wherever they encounter them, by refuting the disinformation with truth and solid argumentation.

This article is an ongoing project which will be updated regularly where it appears on Medium and caitlinjohnstone.com as new information comes in and new smears spring up in need of refutation.

[Apr 20, 2019] What shocked me most from the recent story here about Torturer Gina Haspel lying to Trump wasn't that she did it. The woman has no scruples at all, and her misbehavior is hardly a surprise.

Apr 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Apr 18, 2019 5:09:48 PM | 7 ">link

Assuming that it is correct, who might be the most likely culprit?

Making that assumption, I want to focus on this part:

The U.S. embassy in Kuwait contacted a contracted private company to send the package to the U.S. on board of an American airline.

Government is evil. Therefore hiring enough vetted US citizens to run an embassy is to be avoided if a Private Company can be paid to do the same job. It's been done in the Military. NASA. National Intelligence has been "privatized". (think Edward Snowden)

What shocked me most from the recent story here about Torturer Gina Haspel lying to Trump wasn't that she did it. The woman has no scruples at all, and her misbehavior is hardly a surprise. The NYT piece was just another story about an ignorant old man who can be easily managed. No, here is the part which jumped out at me.

"Houseflies buzzing around the Oval Office were drawing his attention, and ire.

After reading that I'd be surprised if there is a competent core of White House GOVERNMENT workers remaining there. Nobody to manage the flying vermin. It took the director of the CIA to send over some flypaper!

I doubt if the Trumpies could organize a 1-float parade, so the lax security could be almost anywhere in the chain of events. But my present vote is on a Private Company. It might be the transport company. If they don't have junior staffers in the Embassy to run simple missions like delivering a package, they probably don't have an in-house cleaning staff, either. So they may hire some locals to come in and mop and sweep the joint. Inexpensive Outsiders.

[Apr 19, 2019] What shocked me most from the recent story here about Torturer Gina Haspel lying to Trump wasn't that she did it. The woman has no scruples at all, and her misbehavior is hardly a surprise.

Apr 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Apr 18, 2019 5:09:48 PM | link

Assuming that it is correct, who might be the most likely culprit?

Making that assumption, I want to focus on this part:

The U.S. embassy in Kuwait contacted a contracted private company to send the package to the U.S. on board of an American airline.

Government is evil. Therefore hiring enough vetted US citizens to run an embassy is to be avoided if a Private Company can be paid to do the same job. It's been done in the Military. NASA. National Intelligence has been "privatized". (think Edward Snowden)

What shocked me most from the recent story here about Torturer Gina Haspel lying to Trump wasn't that she did it. The woman has no scruples at all, and her misbehavior is hardly a surprise. The NYT piece was just another story about an ignorant old man who can be easily managed. No, here is the part which jumped out at me.

"Houseflies buzzing around the Oval Office were drawing his attention, and ire.

After reading that I'd be surprised if there is a competent core of White House GOVERNMENT workers remaining there. Nobody to manage the flying vermin. It took the director of the CIA to send over some flypaper!

I doubt if the Trumpies could organize a 1-float parade, so the lax security could be almost anywhere in the chain of events. But my present vote is on a Private Company. It might be the transport company. If they don't have junior staffers in the Embassy to run simple missions like delivering a package, they probably don't have an in-house cleaning staff, either. So they may hire some locals to come in and mop and sweep the joint. Inexpensive Outsiders.

[Apr 17, 2019] What Are We to Make of Gina Haspel by Publius Tacitus

Notable quotes:
"... That fact is a very sad and disturbing commentary on what America is or has become. Tolerating torture and excusing such an activity in the name of national security is the same justification that Stalin and Castro employed to punish dissidents. ..."
"... Let me be clear about my position. If Gina was in fact the Chief of Base and oversaw the application of the waterboarding and other inhuman treatment then she lacks the moral authority to head the CIA. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of overlooking human rights violations and war crimes. ..."
"... Students of WW II will recall that US military intelligence recruited and protect Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, as an asset after the war. He murdered Jews and sent others to Auschwitz. He should have been hung. Instead, we turned a blind eye and gave him a paycheck. ..."
"... I've read that she enjoyed torture and mocked a prisoner who was drooling by accused him of faking it. I never knew anything about her sexual orientation but now I have to consider if she's so cruel because she hates men. ..."
"... Yes, waterboarding is torture. We considered it so egregious that we prosecuted Japanese military officers after WWII for using it on POWs. ..."
"... just reinforces the feeling that those at the upper echelons are completely out of touch or alternatively are just lying/posturing to present themselves in a better light. ..."
"... A torturer is a torturer, no matter how one try to glaze it, or sugar coat it. If one is against torture, or the fancy name for it EIT, one should come out and say it like it is. This lady is accused of torturing captives ( enemy combatant) that can't and will not go away unless she come clean. ..."
Mar 19, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Before Gina became the Chief of Staff for Rodriguez, what role did she play in the waterboarding of two AQ operatives in Thailand? It appears that she was at least witting of what was going on. Did she have the authority to decide what measures to apply to the two? Did she make such decisions?

Those are facts still to be determined. I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. But there are others who I respect that are adamant in opposing her nomination. The only thing I know for sure is that her nomination will be a bloody and divisive political battle. If it comes down to embracing waterboarding as an appropriate method to use on suspected terrorists, then a majority of Americans are supportive of that practice and will cheer the appointment of Haspel.

That fact is a very sad and disturbing commentary on what America is or has become. Tolerating torture and excusing such an activity in the name of national security is the same justification that Stalin and Castro employed to punish dissidents. It is true that one man's terrorist is another woman's freedom fighter.

Let me be clear about my position. If Gina was in fact the Chief of Base and oversaw the application of the waterboarding and other inhuman treatment then she lacks the moral authority to head the CIA. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of overlooking human rights violations and war crimes.

Students of WW II will recall that US military intelligence recruited and protect Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, as an asset after the war. He murdered Jews and sent others to Auschwitz. He should have been hung. Instead, we turned a blind eye and gave him a paycheck.


Cee , 18 March 2018 at 12:55 PM

PT,

I've read that she enjoyed torture and mocked a prisoner who was drooling by accused him of faking it. I never knew anything about her sexual orientation but now I have to consider if she's so cruel because she hates men.

No to her confirmation.

steve , 18 March 2018 at 01:11 PM
IIRC, Haspel was the chief of staff to whom Rodriguez refers. That does not sound like a bit player. Would you say that Kelly is a bit player in the Trump admin? As you say, we should know the facts, but so far it looks like she both participated in torture and in its cover-up.

Steve

tv , 18 March 2018 at 01:11 PM
Is waterboarding "torture?" It does not draw blood nor leave any physical damage. Psychological damage? These ARE admitted terrorists.
BillWade , 18 March 2018 at 01:20 PM
With all the crap going on at the FBI, the last thing we need now is a divisive candidate for any top level government position (torture advocacy is divisive for many of us).

A woman, a lesbian, who cares as long as they are a capable and decent law-abiding individual.

Publius Tacitus -> tv... , 18 March 2018 at 01:23 PM
Yes, waterboarding is torture. We considered it so egregious that we prosecuted Japanese military officers after WWII for using it on POWs.

And where do you get "admitted" terrorists from? In America, even with suspected terrorists, there is the principle of innocent until proven guilty. At least we once believed in that standard.

Apenultimate said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 March 2018 at 01:26 PM
And I very much respect you for your position on this (it is this American's view as well).

What amazes me (and yet doesn't) is the example of Rodriguez's supposed introspection "How bad could this be?" Really?!? That just strikes me as not having any feel for the media, US citizenry, or even common sense, and just reinforces the feeling that those at the upper echelons are completely out of touch or alternatively are just lying/posturing to present themselves in a better light.

Laura , 18 March 2018 at 01:42 PM
PT -- Thank you. Much to consider in these times. I come down on the "no torture and waterboarding is torture" side of the debate but am also just eager for some competence and professional experience in key positions.

That these positions may be mutually exclusive says a great deal about our current situation. Again, thank you, for your opinions and information.

Kooshy , 18 March 2018 at 01:42 PM
A torturer is a torturer, no matter how one try to glaze it, or sugar coat it. If one is against torture, or the fancy name for it EIT, one should come out and say it like it is. This lady is accused of torturing captives ( enemy combatant) that can't and will not go away unless she come clean.

At the end of the day that don't matter, since as a policy, and base on your own statement, this country's government will prosecut and punish for liking of torture but not torture and tortures. And, furthermore, is not even willing to do away with it, per it's elected president. Trying to show a clean, moral, democracy on the hilltop image, is a BS and a joke.

[Apr 17, 2019] Haspel used brazen manipulation of her boss, who happens to be a commander in chief of a nuclear power. It looks like waterboarding Trump with the stream of lies.

Apr 17, 2019 | craigmurray.org.uk

Vinnie Pooh , April 17, 2019 at 14:07

Yeah, my eyes almost popped out of my head as I read it in the news. Direct brazen manipulation of your boss, who happens to be a commander in chief of a nuclear power. And no, I don't hear any howls about treason and conspiracy from across the pond.

John Dowser | Apr 17, 2019 2:16:43 AM | 75

"Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied".

This would indicate, if true, that the Brits desired to manipulate and used the CIA here mainly as conduit to influence Trump. It would make more sense, historically as well, interpreting causality and motive this way.

[Apr 17, 2019] Gina Haspel the CIA torturer extraordinaire

Notable quotes:
"... The idea that Trump was kidded along in this way with photos of suffering children is similar to that which allegedly persuaded him to bomb Syria (along with the UK and France) after the more recent also alleged Douma chemical weapons attacks. So who actually was telling him porkies and why or is this just another myth to prove Trump's crassness – in which case there is no need to make anything up. ..."
"... Trump doesn't give a toss about suffering children or suffering anyone else, so it's not likely that he was persuaded by the kind of argument that runs from injured children to the need for US diplomatic action. ..."
"... Trump forgets he lies in minutes. He'd not heard about Julian Assange? If I was reporter I would have played him his words from my laptop and ask: Mr President is this you or a fake President? ..."
"... Actually he is a fake President as most US Presidents are. The man's a dunce. I thought after George W Bush US Presidents couldn't get any worse but know history hits us up the backside with a banjo yet again. ..."
Apr 17, 2019 | craigmurray.org.uk

Sharp Ears , April 17, 2019 at 12:06

Gina Haspel the CIA torturer extraordinaire.

Q. Where are the Skripals?

Crispa , April 17, 2019 at 12:07

I took note when I read that on the Guardian website late last night. What struck me was the treatment of the statement as if it could be true, but in more than one way.

The idea that Trump was kidded along in this way with photos of suffering children is similar to that which allegedly persuaded him to bomb Syria (along with the UK and France) after the more recent also alleged Douma chemical weapons attacks. So who actually was telling him porkies and why or is this just another myth to prove Trump's crassness – in which case there is no need to make anything up.

Even if the story is true, the article accepts it as fact and in no way qualifies it, which is just plain misrepresentation as Craig points out.

The reference to the two Russian operatives at that time is certainly a give away one way and another – but nothing in the article to highlight that inconsistency.

Strange timing too for the appearance of the article too. No doubt there will be a response from the Russian Embassy.

N_ , April 17, 2019 at 12:34

Trump brings together stupidity, narcissistic mental illness and obnoxiousness such that when an official has to deal with him their attitude must surely be to tell the moron whatever gets him to do what they want as soon as possible, so they don't have to spend any more time than necessary in a room with him.

He lies all the time – the guy can't stop lying – nobody wants to spend time with a person like that – even his wife can't stand the sight of him – and it doesn't matter what it is that you tell him or show him.

Trump doesn't give a toss about suffering children or suffering anyone else, so it's not likely that he was persuaded by the kind of argument that runs from injured children to the need for US diplomatic action.

The question is who was behind the anti-Russian side of the Skripal story and why. Not much progress will be made without looking at the British defence review and the huge increase in military spending that warfare interests have moved Gavin Williamson's lips to call for.

N_ , April 17, 2019 at 12:23

"(E)xtremely clear CCTV footage of the duck feeding"? So there are fixed cameras watching where the ducks swim in Queen Elizabeth's Park in Salisbury, are there? Because I haven't been able to find even some lamp posts they might be secured to. ( Some images .) Which is not to say the Skripals weren't photographed. And how's the Nikolai Glushkov inquest going?

Ken Kenn , April 17, 2019 at 13:40

Trump forgets he lies in minutes. He'd not heard about Julian Assange? If I was reporter I would have played him his words from my laptop and ask: Mr President is this you or a fake President?

Actually he is a fake President as most US Presidents are. The man's a dunce. I thought after George W Bush US Presidents couldn't get any worse but know history hits us up the backside with a banjo yet again.

Simple really: Show the video of the Skripal actively feeding the ducks – blank the kids faces and we'll be able to see them in all of their pre poisoned glory.

All this has been done before by the MS – The London Bridge attackers – 7/7 and so on.

So why not show the video? Because it shows something(s) which they want to hide. I have my views as to why, as do others but once you start lying you have to develop a good memory and ' British Intelligence ' is a misnomer.

It's quackery.

Phil , April 17, 2019 at 15:01

Rob Slane from the Blogmire interviewed the mother of the children who fed the ducks and she said she was shown "extremely clear CCTV footage".

Nicholas Kollerstrom , April 17, 2019 at 12:26

Let us not for one moment forget: Yulia musty be alive somewhere. I reckon they did in Sergei – serve him right for being a double (or triple) agent – but Yulia must still be around. She TOLD US in her video she was fine and getting better.

Thank god for Craig Murray and the Off-Guardian, they have preserved our sanity over this mad story, this maddest of British Intel cockups.

N_ , April 17, 2019 at 12:37

@Nicholas – I'd advise delaying the conclusion that it was a cockup, except in the sense that in most military and intelligence operations something cocks up – until we hear what happens with British military spending plans.

Gerard Hobley , April 17, 2019 at 12:27

Someone said to me on Twitter that confirmation of Novichock was from a Mass Spec of the nerve agent bound to some enzyme (probably acetyl cholinesterase). Is this really the official line? If so it's rubbish. Whoever made such a claim was clearly no chemist. Acetyl Cholinesterase weighs about 66700 Daltons and the nerve agent weighed, say between 200 and 400 daltons. Firstly a mass spectrum of the protein would be that of the protein plus or minus anything upto about 300 water molecules Which makes the mass (69400 +/- 2700) and a multitude of other possible ions or other factors bound to it. The error in the mass of the protein clearly exceeds the mass of the nerve agent. Given that, because of the blinding uncertainties as to what species are actually hitting the detector in the mass spectrometer, no-one anywhere attempts to study ligands bound to proteins by mass spec and certainly not one of this size, why would they do it in this case?

John2o2o , April 17, 2019 at 19:21

They make it up Gerard.

Unfortunately most people are not chemists and therefore lack the required knowledge to be skeptical about such claims.

Casual Observer , April 17, 2019 at 12:45

Apply the smell test ?

The CIA Director tells outright lies to her boss, who as a result approves a stern national rebuke.

In a cartoon version of life where Dick Dastardly gets to be an intelligence supremo, and a total dummy gets to be President, this would be highly likely. Needless to say, to believe such a scenario would exist in the real world requires a massive suspension of logic.

More likely there's something coming down the track that requires Haspel, and or the CIA, to be discredited prior to its becoming visible to the public ?

Northern , April 17, 2019 at 13:29

What could possibly be coming down the track that isn't comparable to what we already know about Haspel and the CIA though?

If you can straight faced maintain support for an admitted and documented human rights abuser who heads a non accountable government spy agency that has been extra judicially torturing, assassinating and over throwing any who stands in its way for 70 years; what on earth could be about to come out that's suddenly going to convince our bought and paid for media, and by extension the general public, that these monsters have been discredited?

Brendan , April 17, 2019 at 13:04

UK spooks are switching to damage limitation mode, with the help of the Deborah Haynes of Sky and II:

"Update: UK security sources say they're unaware of children hospitalised because of #novichok or wildlife killed in #Skripal attack. May have been a photo of a dead swan though not evidence swan was killed by #Novichok. If that's true, I wonder what these images used by CIA were! "

https://twitter.com/haynesdeborah/status/1118409471754153984

John2o2o , April 17, 2019 at 19:22

lies?

Goose , April 17, 2019 at 13:12

I'm not a conspiracy theorist –
I'm a conspiracy analyst.

Gore Vidal

[Apr 17, 2019] Gina Haspel As If Nuremberg Never Happened

Notable quotes:
"... I was not in the least surprised at reports that a known torturer was slated to head the CIA, and I expected quick confirmation. Such is my opinion of our ruling classes. ..."
"... Whatever Haspel may be, we can be sure the CIA will continue to torture, detain people without charge, assassinate and terrorize with its own drone force, and cause mayhem around the world and at home. No one can be trusted with the Ring of Power. ..."
"... American Exceptionalism is perhaps the most toxic ideology since Nazism and Stalinism. It says that the United States is always virtuous even when it tortures, when it bombs towns, villages, cities in the name of "freedom or installs dictators, military governments, trains torturers, and, yes, rapes and loots in the name of "democracy." ..."
"... Fast forward to January, 2017 and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer telling MSNBC's Rachael Maddow that President-elect Donald Trump is "being really dumb" by criticizing the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia's cyber activities: Shumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you, So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he's being really dumb to do this." No, Shumer wasn't joking. He was serious. ..."
"... There won't be a 'Nuremberg' tribunal because Al Qaida didn't defeat the United States, and you'd have to convict not just Ms. Haspel, but a sizeable portion of the U.S. Government. ..."
"... If nothing else, the appointment of Bloody Gina as CIA head finally drives a wooden stake through the heart of the myth that "we're The Good Guys(tm)!" or its cousin "all we gotta do is elect Team D and we can be The Good Guys(R) again!" ..."
"... I do not know whether to admire Mr. van Buren's idealism or be astonished at his naivete. Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence? People in Latin America know better than to believe the U.S. protestations of virtue. They know about torturers, and the U.S. support for them. ..."
"... She was put in charge there not long after and oversaw the waterboarding of at least one prisoner, and later followed orders to destroy the tapes of waterboarding at that site. Your claim that " She had nothing to do with torture anywhere" is incorrect. ..."
"... furbo: your contention that " US extreme interrogation techniques are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones" is wrong. The UN Convention against Torture, to which the US is a signatory, states " For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person " Ask anyone who has been waterboarded whether that fits the official definition? ..."
"... Ceterum censeo: given that the Iraq invasion and occupation was an act of aggressive war in violation of the UN Charter and thus illegal under US law, it is not just torturers but also war criminals in government and general staff that have to be considered in the contexts of these words. ..."
Mar 19, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Nothing will say more about who we are, across three American administrations -- one that demanded torture, one that covered it up, and one that seeks to promote its bloody participants -- than whether Gina Haspel becomes director of the CIA.

Haspel oversaw the torture of human beings in Thailand as the chief of a CIA black site in 2002. Since then, she's worked her way up to deputy director at the CIA. With current director Mike Pompeo slated to move to Foggy Bottom, President Donald Trump has proposed Haspel as the Agency's new head.

Haspel's victims waiting for death in Guantanamo cannot speak to us, though they no doubt remember their own screams as they were waterboarded. And we can still hear former CIA officer John Kiriakou say : "We did call her Bloody Gina. Gina was always very quick and very willing to use force. Gina and people like Gina did it, I think, because they enjoyed doing it. They tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information."

It was Kiriakou who exposed the obsessive debate over the effectiveness of torture as false. The real purpose of torture conducted by those like Gina Haspel was to seek vengeance, humiliation, and power. We're just slapping you now, she would have said in that Thai prison, but we control you, and who knows what will happen next, what we're capable of? The torture victim is left to imagine what form the hurt will take and just how severe it will be, creating his own terror.

Haspel won't be asked at her confirmation hearing to explain how torture works, but those who were waterboarded under her stewardship certainly could.

I met my first torture victim in Korea, where I was adjudicating visas for the State Department. Persons with serious criminal records are ineligible to travel to the United States, with an exception for dissidents who have committed political crimes. The man I spoke with said that under the U.S.-supported military dictatorship of Park Chung Hee he was tortured for writing anti-government verse. He was taken to a small underground cell. Two men arrived and beat him repeatedly on his testicles and sodomized him with one of the tools they had used for the beating. They asked no questions. They barely spoke to him at all.

Though the pain was beyond his ability to describe, he said the subsequent humiliation of being left so utterly helpless was what really affected his life. It destroyed his marriage, sent him to the repeated empty comfort of alcohol, and kept him from ever putting pen to paper again. The men who destroyed him, he told me, did their work, and then departed, as if they had others to visit and needed to get on with things. He was released a few days later and driven back to his apartment by the police. A forward-looking gesture.

The second torture victim I met was while I was stationed in Iraq. The prison that had held him was under the control of shadowy U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces. Inside, masked men bound him at the wrists and ankles and hung him upside-down. He said they neither asked him questions nor demanded information. They did whip his testicles with a leather strap, then beat the bottoms of his feet and the area around his kidneys. They slapped him. They broke the bones in his right foot with a steel rod, a piece of rebar ordinarily used to reinforce concrete.

It was painful, he told me, but he had felt pain before. What destroyed him was the feeling of utter helplessness, the inability to control things around him as he once had. He showed me the caved-in portion of his foot, which still bore a rod-like indentation with faint signs of metal grooves.

Gina Haspel is the same as those who were in the room with the Korean. She is no different than those who tormented the Iraqi.

As head of a black site, Haspel had sole authority to halt the questioning of suspects, but she allowed torture to continue. New information and a redaction of earlier reporting that said Haspel was present for the waterboarding and torture of Abu Zubaydah (she was actually the station chief at the black site after those sessions) makes it less clear whether Haspel oversaw the torture of all of the prisoners there, but pay it little mind. The confusion arises from the government's refusal to tell us what Haspel actually did as a torturer. So many records have yet to be released and those that have been are heavily redacted. Then there are the tapes of Zubaydah's waterboarding, which Haspel later pushed to have destroyed.

Arguing over just how much blood she has in her hands is a distraction from the fact that she indeed has blood on her hands.

Gina Haspel is now eligible for the CIA directorship because Barack Obama did not prosecute anyone for torture; he merely signed an executive order banning it in the future. He did not hold any truth commissions, and ensured that almost all government documents on the torture program remained classified. He did not prosecute the CIA officials who destroyed videotapes of the torture scenes.

Obama ignored the truth that sees former Nazis continue to be hunted some 70 years after the Holocaust: that those who do evil on behalf of a government are individually responsible. "I was only following orders" is not a defense of inhuman acts. The purpose of tracking down the guilty is to punish them, to discourage the next person from doing evil, and to morally immunize a nation-state.

To punish Gina Haspel "more than 15 years later for doing what her country asked her to do, and in response to what she was told were lawful orders, would be a travesty and a disgrace," claims one of her supporters. "Haspel did nothing more and nothing less than what the nation and the agency asked her to do, and she did it well," said Michael Hayden, who headed the CIA during the height of the Iraq war from 2006-2009.

Influential people in Congress agree. Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which will soon review Haspel's nomination, said , "I know Gina personally and she has the right skill set, experience, and judgment to lead one of our nation's most critical agencies."

"She'll have to answer for that period of time, but I think she's a highly qualified person," offered Senator Lindsey Graham. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson defended Haspel's actions, saying they were "the accepted practice of the day" and shouldn't disqualify her.

His fellow Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, signaled her likely acceptance, saying , "Since my concerns were raised over the torture situation, I have met with her extensively, talked with her She has been, I believe, a good deputy director." Senator Susan Collins added that Haspel "certainly has the expertise and experience as a 30-year employee of the agency." John McCain, a victim of torture during the Vietnam War, mumbled only that Haspel would have to explain her role.

Nearly alone at present, Republican Senator Rand Paul says he will oppose Haspel's nomination. Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats, have told Trump she is unsuitable and will likely also vote no.

Following World War II, the United States could have easily executed those Nazis responsible for the Holocaust, or thrown them into some forever jail on an island military base. It would have been hard to find anyone who wouldn't have supported brutally torturing them at a black site. Instead, they were put on public trial at Nuremberg and made to defend their actions as the evidence against them was laid bare. The point was to demonstrate that We were better than Them.

Today we refuse to understand what Haspel's victims, and the Korean writer, and the Iraqi insurgent, already know on our behalf: unless Congress awakens to confront this nightmare and deny Gina Haspel's nomination as director of the CIA, torture will have transformed us and so it will consume us. Gina Haspel is a torturer. We are torturers. It is as if Nuremberg never happened.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. He tweets @WeMeantWell.


Douglas K. March 19, 2018 at 3:19 am

Covering up torture is quite possibly the worst thing Obama did. (I'd put it neck-and-neck with targeted killing.) This nation desperately needs a president who will expose all of these horrors, and appoint an attorney general who will prosecute these acts as war crimes.
I Don't Matter , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:49 am
Trump likes waterboarding. He said so himself. One assumes he meant, being a whimpering coward himself, when someone else does it to someone else. But who knows? Enjoy judge Gorsuch.
Mark Thomason , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:49 am
"doing what her country asked her to do, and in response to what she was told were lawful orders"

To complete the parallel, we would need to prosecute and punish those who asked her to do it, and those who told her those orders were lawful. Instead, some are doing paintings of their toes, some are promoted to be Federal judges, and some are influential professors at "liberal" law schools. Why punish *only* her?

Peter Hopkins , says: March 19, 2018 at 6:52 am
Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it.
Ian , says: March 19, 2018 at 7:10 am
As we've proved, we're not better than them. Any of them.
Bagby , says: March 19, 2018 at 8:00 am
I was not in the least surprised at reports that a known torturer was slated to head the CIA, and I expected quick confirmation. Such is my opinion of our ruling classes. I am in full support of Mr. Van Buren's thesis. However, Pro Publica, which seems to have been the source of much reporting of Haspel's torture record, has retracted the claim that Haspel had tortured in Thailand. Mr. Van Buren quotes another source from his blog that supports the thesis that Haspel is a torturer. How does one know what to believe? Whatever Haspel may be, we can be sure the CIA will continue to torture, detain people without charge, assassinate and terrorize with its own drone force, and cause mayhem around the world and at home. No one can be trusted with the Ring of Power.
Centralist , says: March 19, 2018 at 8:19 am
Its because we lost our sense of what makes us who we are. We are an empire that dances for private interests. In Rome they were called families and led by patricians, they had money private guards, gladiators, and even street people supporting them. In the Modern USA they are called Interest Groups and/or Corporations. They are lead by CEOs and instead of gladiators they have Lawyers. Our being better matters less then their own squabbles which is why a torturer could reach the highest seat in intel. The majority of Americans have lost their sense of being Americans instead they are Republicans, Democrats, etc, etc. Things that once use to be part of an American have come to define us.
Banger , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:09 am
American Exceptionalism is perhaps the most toxic ideology since Nazism and Stalinism. It says that the United States is always virtuous even when it tortures, when it bombs towns, villages, cities in the name of "freedom or installs dictators, military governments, trains torturers, and, yes, rapes and loots in the name of "democracy."

At least this appointment along with the election of Trump shows the true face of the United States in international affairs. When we face the fact we are (a) an oligarchy and (b) a brutal Empire we might have a chance to return to something more human. Few readers, even of TAC, will want to look at our recent history of stunning brutality and lack of interest in even being in the neighborhood of following international law.

Peter Van Buren , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:31 am
CIA has purposefully refused to disclose Haspel's role for a decade+ They have selectively released information last week to discredit those criticizing her. I don't think we should play their game, letting them set the agenda. Instead, I declaim torture itself and any role she played in it, whether she poured the water or kept the books.
Kurt Gayle , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:34 am
Does Peter Van Buren's criticism of the CIA's Haspel put him at risk?

In the 2003 film "Love Actually" the British Prime Minister (played by Hugh Grant) jokes with a Downing Street employee Natalie (Martine McCutcheon):

"PM: You live with your husband? Boyfriend, three illegitimate but charming children? –
"NATALIE: No, I've just split up with my boyfriend, so I'm back with my mum and dad for a while.
"PM: Oh. I'm sorry.
"NATALIE: No, it's fine. I'm well shot of him. He said I was getting fat.
"PM: I beg your pardon?
"NATALIE: He said no one's going to fancy a girl with thighs the size of big tree trunks. Not a nice guy, actually, in the end.
"PM: Right You know, being Prime Minister, I could just have him murdered.
"NATALIE: Thank you, sir. I'll think about it.
"PM: Do – the SAS are absolutely charming – ruthless, trained killers are just a phone call away."

It's just a film. It's just a joke. But the joke works because the public knows that – in reality – the security services have the skills-sets and the abilities, to do damage anyone they want to do damage to -- and to probably get away with it.

Fast forward to January, 2017 and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer telling MSNBC's Rachael Maddow that President-elect Donald Trump is "being really dumb" by criticizing the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia's cyber activities: Shumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you, So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he's being really dumb to do this." No, Shumer wasn't joking. He was serious.

Fast forward again to yesterday, March 17, 2018: Former CIA Director John Brennan wasn't joking when he reacted to the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe -- and President Donald Trump's tweeted celebration of it -- by tweeting this attack against Trump:

"When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America America will triumph over you."

Obama UN Representative Samantha Power followed up on the Brennan tweet with this:

"Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan."

When public officials and former public officials -- like Shumer, Brennan and Power -- make such public statements it must necessarily have a chilling effect on public criticism of the security services.

After all, none of the three are joking. They're serious. And the American people know that they're serious.

Does Peter Van Buren's criticism of CIA operative Haspel put him at risk?

Peter Van Buren , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:35 am
New information makes it less clear whether Haspel oversaw the torture of all of the prisoners at her black site, but pay it little mind. The confusion is because the government refuses to tell us what Haspel actually did as a torturer. Arguing over just how much blood she has on her hands is a distraction when she indeed has blood on her hands.

The idea is her participation on any level at the black site is sufficient to disqualify her from heading the Agency. If the Agency wishes to clarify her role, as was done via trial for the various Nazis at Nuremberg, we can deal with her actions more granularly.

Wilfred , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:25 am
Since we have not had any more successful attacks on the scale of 9-11, it is very easy to be scrupulous regarding rough treatment of terrorists.

But if we had suffered a dozen or more such attacks, of increasing magnitude and maybe involving nuclear weapons, how many of you would still be condemning Mrs Haspel et al.? Or would you then be complaining they had not used water-boarding enough?

The 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, was caught weeks before 9-11. Investigators figured out he was up to no good, tried to get permission to search his computer, but were denied. The U.S. Government carefully protected his privacy rights. So are you pleased with the outcome, Mr van Buren?

furbo , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:45 am
I'm sorry – this whole piece is a massive non sequitur. Ms. Haspel has no 'blood' on her hands as US extreme interrogation techniques (sleep deprivation, uncomfortable positions, waterboarding) didn't draw any. They are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones. US techniques might have been bad policy – won't argue – but lets not fall for a false equivalency.

Ms. Haspel was an agent of her government, acting on it's orders under it's policies and guidelines. Which leads to

Nuremberg. The Nuremberg tribunals (they were military tribunals – not trials) were conducted by a victorious military force against a defeated military force. They were widely criticized as vengeance even by such august people as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Stone and associate Justice Douglas. There won't be a 'Nuremberg' tribunal because Al Qaida didn't defeat the United States, and you'd have to convict not just Ms. Haspel, but a sizeable portion of the U.S. Government.

And lastly there's this from a comment of the authors: "The idea is her participation on any level at the black site is sufficient to disqualify her from heading the Agency." Utter nonsense. That was the mission of the Agency at that time. It's like saying a 33yr old Drone Pilot who takes out an ISIS/Al Qaida operative as well as 15 civilians is disqualified to be the Sec Def 2 decades later.

Just stop.

Sid Finster , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:59 am

If nothing else, the appointment of Bloody Gina as CIA head finally drives a wooden stake through the heart of the myth that "we're The Good Guys(tm)!" or its cousin "all we gotta do is elect Team D and we can be The Good Guys(R) again!"

We demonize Russia at every opportunity, but I don't see Russia rewarding torturers by appointing them to high office.

Sally Stewart , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:11 am
Douglas K. What are you talking about? Covered up? You mean Bush http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/175/end-the-use-of-torture/
Stephen J. , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:12 am
A lot of info below on the War criminals at large.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
May 26, 2015 Do We Need Present Day Nuremberg Trials? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2015/05/do-we-need-present-day-nuremberg-trials.html

And

March 9, 2018 Are We Seeing Government By Gangsters? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2018/03/are-we-seeing-government-by-gangsters.html

connecticut farmer , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:49 am
I didn't know too much about this woman's background until I read that Rand Paul opposes her nomination. I tend to take notice whenever Rand Paul holds forth on any subject. All I can say is that if her actual record even approximates what has been alleged, then this woman is unfit for the post–Nuremberg or no Nuremberg.
Winston , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:54 am
"As we've proved, we're not better than them. Any of them." Oh, -PLEASE-, spare us the hyperbole! WE burn alive captives held in cages? WE saw off their heads?

Thousands of US Navy and Air Force pilots have been waterboarded as part of their Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (S.E.R.E.) training programs.

Lex Talionis , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm
All of the torturers should be brought to justice. So should all of the officials who ordered or authorized torture.

There is no statute of limitations on capital Federal crimes. For a U.S. citizen to kill via torture is a capital Federal crime, no matter where the torture took place. If statutes of limitations make it too late to prosecute some acts of torture, it is not too late to bring about some measure of justice by making torturers pariahs. As many sexual harassers have recently learned, there is no statute of limitations in the court of public opinion.

bob sykes , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm
The story linking her to torture has been formally retracted. She had nothing to do with torture anywhere. How about a retraction of this story and an apology.
Youknowho , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:30 pm
I do not know whether to admire Mr. van Buren's idealism or be astonished at his naivete. Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence? People in Latin America know better than to believe the U.S. protestations of virtue. They know about torturers, and the U.S. support for them.

Personally, I prefer that the cruelty should be, as Lincoln once put it, "unalloyed by the base metal of hypocrisy"

Tyrone Slothrop , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:07 pm
bob sykes: you should read Pro Publica's retraction ( https://www.propublica.org/article/cia-cables-detail-its-new-deputy-directors-role-in-torture ) of the claim that Haspel was in charge of the Thai black site when Abu Zubaydeh was tortured. She was put in charge there not long after and oversaw the waterboarding of at least one prisoner, and later followed orders to destroy the tapes of waterboarding at that site. Your claim that " She had nothing to do with torture anywhere" is incorrect.

Winston: why do you suppose "thousands of US Navy and Air Force pilots have been waterboarded as part of their Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (S.E.R.E.) training programs"? Is it not to prepare them for the possibility of what we call torture when used by our adversaries?

furbo: your contention that " US extreme interrogation techniques are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones" is wrong. The UN Convention against Torture, to which the US is a signatory, states " For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person " Ask anyone who has been waterboarded whether that fits the official definition?

Near Rockaway , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:31 pm
"Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence?"

Evil stuff. And we're still paying for it. Keeping Haspel out of the Director's chair is a basic step toward avoiding more such needless, stupid evil.

Chris Mallory , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:47 pm
Wilfred, the problem was not that the Feds protected Zacarias Moussaoui's right to privacy. The problem is that it let any of the 20 Arab Muslims into the US in the first place. Closing our borders and mass deportations would have been the best thing to do in the aftermath of 9/11, not torture and invasions.
b. , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:58 pm
Very well put. Lest we forget: Bush also delivered the stern warning that "war crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished, and it will be no defense to say, 'I was just following orders'."

Ceterum censeo: given that the Iraq invasion and occupation was an act of aggressive war in violation of the UN Charter and thus illegal under US law, it is not just torturers but also war criminals in government and general staff that have to be considered in the contexts of these words.

Wilfred , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm
Chris Mallory (Mar 19 @1:47 p.m.), I agree with you. We shouldn't be letting them in.

But if someone had sneaked-a-peek at Moussaoui's laptop during the 3 weeks they had him before 9-11, we might have been able to thwart the attack altogether. (And the Press has been strangely incurious about investigating whoever it was who issued the injunction protecting Moussie's precious computer). This type of hand-wringing cost us 3,000 lives. Even more, considering the Afghan & 2nd Iraq wars would never have been launched, were it not for 9-11.

[Apr 17, 2019] Haspel is not the "underling". Trump is the underling. Sure, being that he is also an oligarch makes Trump's role in the show complicated, but Presidents are installed in order to serve the oligarchy, and the CIA are top level strategists/enforcers for the oligarchy.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Haspel is not the "underling" . Trump is the underling. Sure, being that he is also an oligarch makes Trump's role in the show complicated, but Presidents are installed in order to serve the oligarchy, and the CIA are top level strategists/enforcers for the oligarchy. ..."
"... In the real organization chart for the empire the CIA is above the President. This has been the case in the US since Kennedy. ..."
"... Trump will not fire Haspel. He can't. He's just an actor playing a role in a show, and Haspel is one of the producers/writers of that show. If she doesn't put firing in the script then Trump cannot say those lines. I doubt he really wants to anyway. ..."
Apr 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Apr 16, 2019 4:41:41 PM | link

"If Trump were not in on the schemes he would just fire his underlings!"

This sentiment indicates a failure to understand the power dynamics at play here. Haspel is not the "underling" . Trump is the underling. Sure, being that he is also an oligarch makes Trump's role in the show complicated, but Presidents are installed in order to serve the oligarchy, and the CIA are top level strategists/enforcers for the oligarchy.

In the real organization chart for the empire the CIA is above the President. This has been the case in the US since Kennedy.

Trump cannot fire Haspel or Pompeo. They can fire him, though, and with a sniper's bullet if they want.

Unfortunately for the oligarchy, that would cause additional complications at a time when they have lots of tricky and inexplicably unstable (for them) operations ongoing, which is why they are just steering Trump around instead of replacing him. And Trump is willfully cooperating, even if they are not filling him in on the plans.

Trump will not fire Haspel. He can't. He's just an actor playing a role in a show, and Haspel is one of the producers/writers of that show. If she doesn't put firing in the script then Trump cannot say those lines. I doubt he really wants to anyway.

[Apr 17, 2019] The media's interest in the well-being of a foreign population is directly proportional to the West's interest in toppling its government, while editorial standards are inversely proportional to its enemy status

Highly recommended!
Apr 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 16, 2019 7:26:23 PM | link

Ah yes, Prescient observation regarding Venezuela:

"The media's interest in the well-being of a foreign population is directly proportional to the West's interest in toppling its government, while editorial standards are inversely proportional to its enemy status."--John McEvoy

So, lets employ this maxim to Russiagate and the Skripal Saga and the respective national media. In the first case, the Russian public's completely ignored unless it's a member of the so-called opposition while Putin and Russia get slandered constantly. The same treatment goes for the UK media and a case could be made that the two act in tandem, implying innerconnectivity between their spy agencies as suspected.

[Apr 16, 2019] Is the NYT promoting Gina Haspel as someone who deserves a more influential position than the nation's top torturer?

Notable quotes:
"... What's the real agenda though behind that article? It's to put Gina Haspel in a favourable light at the same time as it's criticising Trump. Is the NYT promoting Gina Haspel as someone who deserves a more influential position than the nation's top torturer? She wouldn't be the first such criminal being subtly encouraged to try for DJT's job in the future. ..."
"... I see it as a complex exercise in CYA. They need to reinforce certain narratives. ..."
"... As of almost 8 PM, there are 35 comments. In a national newspaper on a story like this? There must be a committee cherry picking them for "suitability" - the collection is as fake as the article. Wonderful Haspel at the head of an amazing CIA tutoring a clueless moron of a POTUS. The third part they got right. ..."
"... Why are they fluffing the torturer and the out-of-control CIA? Is something planned where they want both to shine in their future stories on that "something"? ..."
Apr 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Apr 16, 2019 7:32:35 PM | link

The New York Times article seems whiffy to me. (Is anything from the NYT not whiffy?) The article is the work of no fewer than five writers and the part about Donald Trump being swayed by pictures of sick children in hospital and dead ducks seems a bit like a game of Chinese whispers.

What's the real agenda though behind that article? It's to put Gina Haspel in a favourable light at the same time as it's criticising Trump. Is the NYT promoting Gina Haspel as someone who deserves a more influential position than the nation's top torturer? She wouldn't be the first such criminal being subtly encouraged to try for DJT's job in the future.

Jen , Apr 16, 2019 7:39:15 PM | link

ADKC @ 56 (and Koen @ 50):

Better not play too many of those "Call of Duty" video games either. You might find that being a pretend mercenary shooting up innocent people in foreign lands is not just for the purpose of wasting a half of day on mindless entertainment.

Jackrabbit , Apr 16, 2019 7:59:38 PM | link
Jen @59

I see it as a complex exercise in CYA. They need to reinforce certain narratives.

>> The media was right about Trump: he has a soft spot for Russia.

>> Trump cares about people (and even ducks) - remember how he bombed Syria because of the babies? Now Trump is super concerned about the people of Venezuela. What a humanitarian!

>> Russia has no reason to oppose USA (in Venezuela or elsewhere) - they could just contact their friend Trump! To do otherwise demonstrates malicious intent.

Zachary Smith , Apr 16, 2019 8:00:12 PM | link
@ Bart Hansen #1

As of almost 8 PM, there are 35 comments. In a national newspaper on a story like this? There must be a committee cherry picking them for "suitability" - the collection is as fake as the article. Wonderful Haspel at the head of an amazing CIA tutoring a clueless moron of a POTUS. The third part they got right.

Why are they fluffing the torturer and the out-of-control CIA? Is something planned where they want both to shine in their future stories on that "something"?

[Apr 16, 2019] Defending The Revolution a short film about the People's Militia in Venezuela. Not gonna be easy.

Apr 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Desolation Row , Apr 14, 2019 2:19:05 PM | link

Defending The Revolution a short film about the People's Militia in Venezuela. Not gonna be easy.

And one more time, Whitney Webb is doing a bang up job with this series:

This article is Part II of a multi-part investigative series examining the efforts of the global elite, as well as powerful elements of the global Zionist lobby and the government of Israel, to create an independent state out of Argentina's southern Patagonia region in order to plunder its natural resources and to fulfill long-standing Zionist interest in the territory that dates back to the "founding father" of Zionism, Theodore Herzl. Part I, which focuses on the de facto "parallel state" created by British billionaire Joe Lewis in Argentina's Patagonia, can be read here. Part II focuses on Eduardo Elsztain -- one of Argentina's wealthiest businessmen, who is deeply connected to the global elite and global Zionist lobbies -- and his role in a scheme to undercut Argentina's democracy by hijacking its voting system.

See my "lost" comment at the end of OT 2019-20, #167

[Apr 15, 2019] The Absurdity of Our Regime Change Policy in Venezuela

Notable quotes:
"... Even if Maduro were forced out by his current supporters in the military, it does not follow that Guaido or any other opposition figure would take over later. At that point, does the policy of forcing regime change continue shuffling forward like a zombie, or will the U.S. then accept a military government in Venezuela that is run by someone not named Maduro? How long does the U.S. keep trying to install its preferred government in power before admitting that it won't work? ..."
"... Since these haven't occurred, they have no plan except to strangle Venezuela's economy further through sanctions. Perhaps the best part is that the administration claims that Guaido is president of Venezuela, but that his presidency hasn't actually started yet. The administration's special representative, Elliott Abrams, claimed this in a press briefing last month , saying that the 30-day "interim" period of Guaido's "presidency" won't begin until after Maduro leaves office. ..."
"... Abrams' comments remind us of the shaky legal basis for everything that Guaido has been doing this year. As Noah Feldman pointed out shortly after this started, the provision in the Venezuelan constitution that Guaido invoked to claim his position as "interim" president was intended to apply in cases of death or incapacity of the incumbent president. It wasn't a loophole for declaring the presidency vacant when it is still very much occupied. Now because it is occupied, the official line is that Guaido's "interim" presidency hasn't really begun. Judging from how the regime change effort has been going so far, it probably never will. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Credit: StringerAL/Shutterstock The Trump administration's statements about Venezuela are beginning to sound eerily like Western governments' pronouncements about Syria over the last seven years:

The United States has no timeline for a change in government in Venezuela, a U.S. top official said, but is certain embattled President Nicolas Maduro will not remain in power.

Almost three months have passed since the U.S. threw its support behind Guaido as "interim" president. During that tine, the opposition has made no discernible progress in taking over, and the military remains firmly on Maduro's side for now. The administration has no "timeline" for when Maduro will leave power because they and the opposition have no idea how to achieve the regime change they are seeking, but that isn't stopping them from pursuing it anyway. Like the confident Western assertions from 2012 that Assad "must go," the administration is "certain" of an outcome that seems increasingly unlikely to happen.

It is possible that the top military brass will eventually decide that it is better for them to rid themselves of the unpopular ruler and retain power for themselves, just as Algeria's military did with Bouteflika and Sudan's military did with Bashir recently, but there is no guarantee that this would lead to a "restoration of democracy."

On the contrary, a transition that depends so heavily on the military is much more likely to produce another dictatorship.

Even if Maduro were forced out by his current supporters in the military, it does not follow that Guaido or any other opposition figure would take over later. At that point, does the policy of forcing regime change continue shuffling forward like a zombie, or will the U.S. then accept a military government in Venezuela that is run by someone not named Maduro? How long does the U.S. keep trying to install its preferred government in power before admitting that it won't work?

The absurdity of the administration's current policy is quite remarkable. They insist that Maduro is no longer president, but the president they recognize controls nothing. The success of their ill-conceived regime change "plan" depended almost entirely on mass defections from the military, but they have found no way to spur these defections.

Since these haven't occurred, they have no plan except to strangle Venezuela's economy further through sanctions. Perhaps the best part is that the administration claims that Guaido is president of Venezuela, but that his presidency hasn't actually started yet. The administration's special representative, Elliott Abrams, claimed this in a press briefing last month , saying that the 30-day "interim" period of Guaido's "presidency" won't begin until after Maduro leaves office. According to them, Guaido is the "legitimate" president but has not yet assumed office:

QUESTION: So Juan Guaido is the interim president of an interim that doesn't exist yet?

MR ABRAMS: The 30-day end to his interim presidency starts counting. Because he's not in power, that's the problem [bold mine-DL]. Maduro is still there. So they have decided that they will count that from when he actually is in power and Maduro's gone. I think it's logical.

QUESTION: So then he really isn't interim president, then?

MR ABRAMS: He is interim president, but he's not --

QUESTION: With no power.

MR ABRAMS: -- able to exercise the powers of the office because Maduro still is there.

Abrams' comments remind us of the shaky legal basis for everything that Guaido has been doing this year. As Noah Feldman pointed out shortly after this started, the provision in the Venezuelan constitution that Guaido invoked to claim his position as "interim" president was intended to apply in cases of death or incapacity of the incumbent president. It wasn't a loophole for declaring the presidency vacant when it is still very much occupied. Now because it is occupied, the official line is that Guaido's "interim" presidency hasn't really begun. Judging from how the regime change effort has been going so far, it probably never will.

[Apr 15, 2019] With the situation stalled the US is ramping up talk of a military attack on Venezuela to create psychological pressure

Apr 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Washington Post again laments that the U.S. coup attempt in Venezuela failed:

Venezuela's military, despite U.S. expectations, has not turned on Maduro

Nearly three months later, Venezuela's top-heavy military remains largely intact under President Nicolás Maduro. The once-brisk pace of defections to neighboring Colombia has slowed to a trickle. Fewer than 1,500 Venezuelan soldiers, relieved by the Colombian government of their weapons and uniforms and housed in sparsely furnished hotel rooms near the border, now sit waiting for something to happen.

The idea that the Venezuelan army would defect was always crazy. Anyone with a bit of knowledge of Venezuela could predict that it would never do so. Reports of lonely soldiers isolated in fourth class hotels in Columbia will not incite any further defections. While the random opposition guy promised amnesty for any soldier moving to his site, the U.S. seeks to arrest one of the few who did:

Venezuela's ex-spy chief arrested in Madrid on US warrant

Venezuela's longtime spy chief was arrested Friday in Madrid by Spanish police acting on a U.S. drug warrant a few weeks after he threw his support behind opponents of President Nicolas Maduro.
...
The opposition saw Carvajal's criticism of Venezuela's socialist government as a stimulus to prod other military figures to defect, but the country's armed forces have remained largely loyal to current Maduro.

With the situation stalled the U.S. is ramping up talk of a military attack on Venezuela:

US Military Attack on Venezuela Mulled by Top Trump Advisors and Latin American Officials at Private DC Meeting

EXCLUSIVE: Away from the public eye, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank hosted a top-level, off-the-record meeting to explore US military options against Venezuela.

Such talks are poor attempts to create some psychological pressure. There are no sound military options. The U.S. is not going to invade Venezuela. It will ramp up sanctions and press its 'allies' to do the same. Venezuela and its people will suffer but they will not give up on resisting U.S. pressure. The current situation will only resolve itself when the regime in Washington or in one of Venezuela's neighboring countries changes.

[Apr 15, 2019] Canada To Russia Meddling Is Okay If It Destabilizes You But Not The Other Way Around

Notable quotes:
"... While Russia is being set up as the scapegoat of the collapsing western liberal establishment, this most recent red alarm by Freeland and Canada's response to the "danger" is useful for two reasons: ..."
"... First and foremost, Freeland's shameless warnings over "foreign interference" have become so loud that an irony has become unavoidable. She has after all been caught red handed behind the destabilization of both Ukraine and Venezuela. Secondly, by reviewing the mechanisms being created by Canada to counter-act this "threat", a clear insight is provided into the inner workings of the actual foreign influences which infiltrated Canada many decades ago. ..."
"... On the first point, Freeland's role as a co-architect of the nazi-fueled overthrow of a pro-Russian government in February 2014 is now well known. Aside from her family's Nazi connections going back to her grandfather Michael Chomiak's leading role as a Nazi collaborator in WWII, and her own mother's role in helping to draft Ukraine's neo-liberal constitution, Freeland herself not only befriended leading neo-Nazi collaborators such as Canadian Ukrainian Congress' president Paul Grod and but has also promoted NATO's anti-Russian expansion across eastern Europe. ..."
"... Freeland set up a program for regime change which involved a two-part formula of 1) mobilizing mass direct support for the overthrow of a government, and 2) gaining international support for said overthrow. ..."
"... Canada itself was infiltrated by a foreign player many years ago and what we will briefly see is that Canada can only be called the "world's first post national-state nation" because it never really became a genuine nation in the first place, but was always manipulated by a foreign power... although not the one you think. ..."
"... It is from this cybernetics central node that the web of governance both in Canada and also across other British infiltrated territories in the Trans-Atlantic system is coordinated under the directives of London. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Canada To Russia: 'Meddling' Is Okay If It Destabilizes You But Not The Other Way Around

by Tyler Durden Mon, 04/15/2019 - 18:50 74 SHARES Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

In the midst of one of the most de-stabilizing scandals to rock Canada in years, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced on April 5 that the threat of "Foreign interference" going into the October 2019 elections was at an all-time high. Sitting beside her UK counterpart at a G7 meeting in France, Freeland stated:

"Interference is very likely and we think there have already been efforts by malign foreign actors to disrupt our democracy" . Her warning was echoed by an embattled puppet Prime Minister in Ottawa who stated it is "very clearly that countries like Russia are behind a lot of the divisive campaigns that have turned our politics even more divisive and more anger-filled than they have been in the past. "

The Measures to Defend the British Deep State

In order to counteract this "foreign threat", several Canadian mechanisms have been announced to "keep democracy safe" in alignment with the G7, Five Eyes and NATO. These mechanisms are:

The creation of an " Incident Public Protection Panel " run by five Privy Council bureaucrats under the Clerk of the Privy Council which will exist outside of the authority of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, whose job is to maintain the integrity of elections. In defense of this mysterious group, Canada's Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould stated that "it won't be one person who will decide what Canadians will be allowed to know" (apparently having five people decide is more democratic). The new Clerk of the Privy Council is Ian Stugart, who served as former deputy minister to Chrystia Freeland until just a few weeks ago.

A Security and Intelligence Election Threats Task Force which will incorporate all of Canada's intelligence agencies such as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the RCMP, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and Freeland's Global Affairs Canada. All of these agencies are Privy Council organizations.

The Rapid Response Mechanism of the G7 created in June 2018 and headquartered in Ottawa Canada in Freeland's Global Affairs Office and Privy Council Office.

While Russia is being set up as the scapegoat of the collapsing western liberal establishment, this most recent red alarm by Freeland and Canada's response to the "danger" is useful for two reasons:

First and foremost, Freeland's shameless warnings over "foreign interference" have become so loud that an irony has become unavoidable. She has after all been caught red handed behind the destabilization of both Ukraine and Venezuela. Secondly, by reviewing the mechanisms being created by Canada to counter-act this "threat", a clear insight is provided into the inner workings of the actual foreign influences which infiltrated Canada many decades ago.

Chrystia Freeland: Regime Change Princess of Ukraine and Venezuela

On the first point, Freeland's role as a co-architect of the nazi-fueled overthrow of a pro-Russian government in February 2014 is now well known. Aside from her family's Nazi connections going back to her grandfather Michael Chomiak's leading role as a Nazi collaborator in WWII, and her own mother's role in helping to draft Ukraine's neo-liberal constitution, Freeland herself not only befriended leading neo-Nazi collaborators such as Canadian Ukrainian Congress' president Paul Grod and but has also promoted NATO's anti-Russian expansion across eastern Europe.

Less well known but equally important is Freeland's leading role in planning for the Venezuelan coup attempt which has been recently halted thanks to Russia's March 23rd intervention.

Working alongside fellow Oxford operative Ben Rowswell (now head of the Canadian International Council/ Chatham House of Canada) during his three year tenure as Ambassador to Venezuela (2014-2017), Freeland set up a program for regime change which involved a two-part formula of 1) mobilizing mass direct support for the overthrow of a government, and 2) gaining international support for said overthrow.

Rowswell's on-the-ground work was designed to achieve the former as he himself admitted in a 2017 interview saying "We became one of the most vocal embassies in speaking out on human rights issues and encouraging Venezuelans to speak out" . Before leaving his post to become the head of the Chatham House of Canada, he tweeted "I don't think they (anti-Maduro forces) have anything to worry about because Minister Freeland has Venezuela way at the top of her priority list" .

Working on fulfilling the 2nd part of the formula, Freeland directed the creation of the "Lima Group". A Global News article of January 24 described the group in the following terms:

"Playing a key role behind the scenes was Lima Group member Canada, whose Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to Guaido the night before Maduro's swearing-in ceremony to offer her government's support should he confront the socialist leader".

It shouldn't be too surprising in our day and age that a nation with such a high reputation as "polite Canada" is actuality, an active agency for regime change and global governance. Canada's very Prime Minister did assert in 2016 that "Canada is the world's first post national-state nation" . What may surprise some readers is that Canada itself was infiltrated by a foreign player many years ago and what we will briefly see is that Canada can only be called the "world's first post national-state nation" because it never really became a genuine nation in the first place, but was always manipulated by a foreign power... although not the one you think.

The "Foreign Influence" Controlling Canada

While a longer presentation is needed to do this story justice, it is enough to note for now that neither Freeland, nor Rowswell are operating on behalf of Canada's interests, but are rather both operatives run by an entity that took over Canada many decades ago and are currently directed by two interlocking organizations: The Privy Council Office and the Rhodes-Milner Round Table Group .

The Privy Council Office

The Privy Council office was set up in 1867 in order to act as the British hand guiding its newly formed confederacy (Canada nearly became a part of Lincoln's America in the wake of the Civil War. The only thing stopping that outcome was Britain's creation of a confederation. The full story is told in the Imperial Myth of Canada's National Policy. ). While its power was always great, there was still room for independent policy making by nationalistic elected officials when the international conditions were favorable.

This was nearly entirely destroyed during the reign of technocratic golden boy Pierre Elliott Trudeau during his 1968-1973 reform of the Federal Government under the guidance of the OECD's Sir Alexander King. It was during this time Sir King's Club of Rome (Ottawa branch) was set up in Ottawa under the guidance of Trudeau and his clerk of the Privy Council Michael Pitfield, and other neo-Malthusian technocrats such as Privy Council President Michel Lamontagne, Maurice Strong, and Governor General Roland Mitchener.

It was from this control point in Ottawa in 1971 that the work later to become known as Limits to Growth was funded by tax payers and which became the bible for the new Malthusianism and blueprint for the "post-industrial society". It is from this cybernetics central node that the web of governance both in Canada and also across other British infiltrated territories in the Trans-Atlantic system is coordinated under the directives of London.

... ... ...


sir lozalot , 14 minutes ago link

this whole world wide medeling thing after our govs have been unashamedly meddling everywhere for years , it just shows thier fear, they are loosing thier populaces and looking for scapegoats, i love it, times are changing

Reaper , 19 minutes ago link

Obedience to a degenerating noble class or hegemony's psycho neo-ruling class is self-destructive.

Dude-dude , 1 hour ago link

...will Canada follow suit in order to become a true sovereign nation freed of all foreign imperial influence once and for all?

Ha ha (Bart Simpson style). Canada has, and will always be, a British-USA vassal-state (with a veneer of democratic elections). Washington tells the Ottawa government to jump! After asking permission from the UK, Canada negotiates with America as to how high - since the country is technically insolvent there isn't that much jumping room.

Neochrome , 2 hours ago link

Russia is charged with bringing things in the open, to the light, instead of letting creatures of the dark skulk in shadows, plotting, backstabbing, poisoning and conducting their "business" as usual. Because apparently democracy flourishes in darkness and ignorance...

[Apr 14, 2019] Russia remains an obstacle for Trump goal of colonizing Venezuela

Apr 14, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

b4real , Apr 14, 2019 5:20:25 PM | link

@ james your 38 from post on iran thread.....


" it seems the usa is no longer willing to go full on.."

What is being missed by most is that we entered a new era March 2018 when Putin unveiled his new toys. The u.s. is no longer the presumed supreme military power on the planet. Of course they will not not admit this, but I believe we are approaching the moment when the U.S. will be told to stand down or suffer the consequences, whether it be in Syria, Venezuela or Ukraine.

Link

"I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed at containing our country's development: Everything that you wanted to impede with your policies has already happened," he said. "You have failed to contain Russia."

"No one listened to us then. So listen to us now," Putin said to thunderous applause in the speech, which was held at a venue just outside the Kremlin and televised live nationwide.

The pentagon has admitted it has no defense against those hypersonic missiles.

Link

"If that happens, what kind of defense do we have against the hypersonic threat?" Inhofe asked.

Hyten replied, "We have a very difficult -- well, our defense is our deterrent capability. We don't have any defense that could deny theemployment of such a weapon against us, so our response would be our deterrent force, which would be the triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat."

Putin has quite clearly stated the what the Russian response will be should the U.S. resort to the use of nuclear weapons.

Link

"Only when we know for certain – and this takes a few seconds to understand – that Russia is being attacked we will deliver a counter strike. This would be a reciprocal counter strike. Why do I say 'counter'? Because we will counter missiles flying towards us by sending a missile in the direction of an aggressor. Of course, this amounts to a global catastrophe but I would like to repeat that we cannot be the initiators of such a catastrophe because we have no provision for a pre-emptive strike. Yes, it looks like we are sitting on our hands and waiting until someone uses nuclear weapons against us. Well, yes, this is what it is. But then any aggressor should know that retaliation is inevitable and they will be annihilated. And we as the victims of an aggression, we as martyrs would go to paradise while they will simply perish because they won't even have time to repent their sins. "


Russia is not going to allow the U.S. to destroy Venezuela, Iran, Syria or Ukraine. It makes sense because Ru cannot allow the United States and vassals to continually put Ru in the position of one step forward two steps backs via their destructive policies and I firmly believe that Putin will not allow the u.s. time to develop counters to their new missiles. That would be foolish as the u.s. has shown what they are capable of when there is no serious threat to their military. It will be a world war and the unites states has been pushing hard to keep its allies on a short tether.

U.S. has been stalemated in Syria, (soon to be ejected) Ukraine is about to fall back into ru orbit after the elections next week. Venezuela has Russians on the ground. They dare not go into Iran, because the iron dome is rusty and one direct hit by the foab about 13k southeast of dimona is going to make a large part of that illegal settlement called israel uninhabitable .

There is much room for miscalculation, and I believe war is an almost certainty. At the same time, I think we need a few tens to hundreds of millions to meet their maker as the human race is only growing more stupid by the minute and eliminating a large portion of the race will likely extend its survival. Sad but true.

'nuff said


b4real

[Apr 13, 2019] Pompeo repeats Gene Sharp recipes: China, Russia Spread Disorder And Corruption In Latin America

That happened often when a second rate provincial lawyer became the Secretary of State. At least Kerry knows French. Pompeo knows absolution nothing and is capable only of repeating old cliché.
Today's special word is: Projection
Notable quotes:
"... Pompeo should go into advertising. Since the late '50's, we've torn Latin America to shreds, but we're the good guys, eh?!. ..."
"... Doesn't Pompeo also believe in the rapture. ..."
Apr 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

idontcare , 2 minutes ago link

Pompeo should go into advertising. Since the late '50's, we've torn Latin America to shreds, but we're the good guys, eh?!.

I luv my country, but I hate my government.

beemasters

This must have been the most transparently crooked administration ever in the US history! Ain't that the pot calling the kettle black!

2willies

Doesn't Pompeo also believe in the rapture.

Idaho potato head

At some point even the most deluded sheep has got to realize he is being lied to. Or is it just as in the Matrix, there is an age limit as to when a mind can be awoken.

After reading CYMS1 below I retract that question.

The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet

Mark Twain

[Apr 13, 2019] "We support peoples of all countries in independently choosing their development paths that cater to their national conditions. We never interfere in other countries' internal affairs, nor do we impose anything on other countries," Ma added.

Apr 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Apr 11, 2019 1:02:58 AM | link

@ Grieved with the UN/Pence story....here is China's take on the situation
"
UNITED NATIONS, April 10 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday rejected U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's accusation against China over Venezuela.

"China categorically rejects the accusation," Ma Zhaoxu, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, told a Security Council meeting on the situation in Venezuela.

"Earlier in his intervention, the U.S. representative leveled an unfounded accusation on China's position on Venezuela in the Security Council," he said, referring to Pence's remarks that Russia and China obstructed Council action on Venezuela with their veto power.

China has all along maintained friendly and cooperative relations with other countries around the world, including Venezuela, on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, he said.

"We support peoples of all countries in independently choosing their development paths that cater to their national conditions. We never interfere in other countries' internal affairs, nor do we impose anything on other countries," Ma added.

Members of the Security Council should faithfully abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the universally recognized norms of international relations, genuinely respect the choices of peoples of other countries, and do more positive and practical things for the people of Venezuela rather than the opposite, said the Chinese envoy."

[Apr 09, 2019] Maduro government policy protecting Guaido's car in Caracas from being lunched by the mob.

Apr 09, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Jen April 1, 2019 at 2:24 pm

Global Research publishes the video of a Venezuelan TV news show interview in which a recording of Juan Guaido's apparent admission of culpability in the sabotage of Venezuela's electricity system and intent to disrupt other essential utilities is played.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/juan-guaido-confesses-being-behind-the-sabotage-of-venezuelas-electric-system/5673104
Mark Chapman April 1, 2019 at 3:45 pm
Just to point out once again, it is a war crime and a violation of the International Rules of Armed Conflict for the ENEMY to cut civilians off from the services they need to live. And he wants to lead the country??!!

https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v2_rul_rule54

Certainly getting the poor and the middle class on his side. Here's an NPR interview with Ari Shapiro, on the Colombian border with Venezuela. Along with bigging up the impression that there is a shitload of military deserters just waiting to have a crack at Maduro, including the 80% who want him gone but don't dare say so out of fear – by the simple device of interviewing some young men we know nothing about, not even their names because their identities must be kept secret – he says this:

"This is the Colombian ambassador to the U.S., Francisco Santos. Ambassador Santos insists there is still time for what we'll call plan A – international pressure and sanctions to force Maduro out. Venezuela would then hold elections, and Guaido would take power."

Guaido would take power. Oh, wait, wait: we have to have an election first.

Obviously it is inconceivable that anyone else might win. The guy most of the country had never heard of a year ago, now is a shoo-in for the presidency. Isn't democracy fun ???? You just never know what's going to happen!

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/28/707722484/venezuela-hovers-on-the-brink-of-conflict-many-fear-the-situation-will-escalate?ft=nprml&f=

The USA and its 'partners' are moving forward with a debt-restructuring plan for Venezuela – which you just know is going to include massive loans by the IMF and arm-twisting of allies to persuade them to forgive debt to help the US State Department's newest plaything – just as if Guaido is inevitable.

Well, he's not. And few things would give me as much pleasure as seeing the smirk slapped off their faces.

yalensis April 2, 2019 at 3:26 am
"And I repeat, the cessation of darkness will definitely come with the cessation of usurpation," culminates the self-proclaimed Juan Guaidó"

It's odd that the sabotage includes that element of blackmail, i.e., "put me in office, and I will turn the lights on again." How would he expect to do that, if the grid has been damaged?
Such blackmail only makes sense if Guaidó had, like, the secret password that would turn off the viruses(?)
Because, if the damage is physical, then it will take a while to fix, even if Guaidó and the American engineers worked at it night and day.

Mark Chapman April 2, 2019 at 1:40 pm
Even if he has no control over it, he is talking it up like he has, more like "I know people". Which tends to make it sound more as if it is his backers doing it.

I would say he is well on his way to making himself the most hated man in Venezuela, at least barring those who hope to sweep him into power.

yalensis April 2, 2019 at 3:38 pm
I know. How can you even imagine being that guy? Who deprives your neighbors of their electricity and then asks them to vote for you, so you would turn it on again?
A person like that would be lynched!
Jen April 2, 2019 at 5:31 pm
There have already been some reports of people attacking Guaido's car in Caracas when they see it and the occupants inside (Guaido doesn't travel on his own).
https://www.rt.com/news/455308-guaido-police-caracas-rally-venezuela/

As Grayzone Project's Max Blumenthal says, the irony is that Nicolas Maduro's government is protecting Guaido and his freedom to travel around Caracas through the police. So much for Maduro being a tyrannical dictator

[Apr 07, 2019] What Monroe Doctrine

Apr 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

What Monroe Doctrine?

by Tyler Durden Sun, 04/07/2019 - 08:10 94 SHARES Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Because there is a presidential election coming up next year, the Donald Trump Administration appears to be looking for a country that it can attack and destroy in order to prove its toughness and willingness to go all the way in support of alleged American interests. It is a version of the old neocon doctrine attributed to Michael Ledeen, the belief that every once in a while, it is necessary to pick out some crappy little country and throw it against the wall just to demonstrate that the United States means business.

"Meaning business" is a tactic whereby the adversary surrenders immediately in fear of the possible consequences, but there are a couple of problems with that thinking.

The first is that an opponent who can resist will sometimes balk and create a continuing problem for the United States, which has a demonstrated inability to start and end wars in any coherent fashion.

This tendency to get caught in a quagmire in a situation that might have been resolved through diplomacy has been exacerbated by the current White House's negotiating style, which is to both demand and expect submission on all points even before discussions begin. That was clearly the perception with North Korea, where National Security Advisor John Bolton insisted that Pyongyang had agreed to American demands over its nuclear program even though it hadn't and would have been foolish to do so for fear of being treated down the road like Libya, which denuclearized but then was attacked and destroyed seven years later. The Bolton mis-perception, which was apparently bought into by Trump, led to a complete unraveling of what might actually have been accomplished if the negotiations had been serious and open to reasonable compromise right from the beginning.

Trump's written demand that Kim Jong Un immediately hand over his nuclear weapons and all bomb making material was a non-starter based on White House misunderstandings rooted in its disdain for compromise. The summit meeting with Trump, held in Hanoi at the end of February, was abruptly canceled by Kim and Pyongyang subsequently accused Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of making "gangster-like" demands.

The second problem is that there are only a few actual casus belli situations under international law that permit a country to attack another preemptively, and they are usually limited to actual imminent threats. The current situation with Venezuela is similar to that with North Korea in that Washington is operating on the presumption that it has a right to intervene and bring about regime change, using military force if necessary, because of its presumed leadership role in global security, not because Caracas or even Pyongyang necessarily is threatening anyone. That presumption that American "exceptionalism" provides authorization to intervene in other countries using economic weapons backed up by a military option that is "on the table" is a viewpoint that is not accepted by the rest of the world.

In the case of Venezuela, where Trump has dangerously demanded that Russia withdraw the hundred or so advisors that it sent to help stabilize the country, the supposition that the United States has exclusive extra-territorial rights is largely based on nineteenth and early twentieth century unilaterally declared "doctrines." The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 and the Roosevelt Corollary of 1904 de facto established the United States as the hegemon-presumptive for the entire Western Hemisphere, stretching from the Arctic Circle in the north to Patagonia in the south.

John Bolton has been the leader in promoting the Monroe Doctrine as justification for Washington's interference in Venezuela's politics, apparently only dimly aware that the Doctrine, which opposed any attempts by European powers to establish new colonies in the Western Hemisphere, was only in effect for twenty-two years when the United States itself annexed Texas and then went to war with Mexico in the following year

[Apr 04, 2019] If one recognizes that Brzezinski's "The Grand Chessboard, American Primacy Its Geostrategic Imperatives (1997)" in replacing "Lebensraum" with "control over Eurasia", "Tausendj hriges Reich" with "American Primacy"

Apr 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Wally , says: April 4, 2019 at 4:43 pm GMT

@JR ssaid:
If one recognizes that Brzezinski's "The Grand Chessboard, American Primacy & Its Geostrategic Imperatives (1997)" in replacing "Lebensraum" with "control over Eurasia", "Tausendjähriges Reich" with "American Primacy" and providing our 'elite' with an "realist" and "amoral" excuse to act completely and consistently immoral one has to recognize too that this "Grand Chessboard" is an amalgamation of 'Mein Kampf' and 'Il Principe".

Except that Germany did not send Germans into the conquered territories during WWII, though they wanted to do so.

[Apr 03, 2019] Suspected of Corruption at Home, Powerful Foreigners Find Refuge in the US

Highly recommended!
Apr 03, 2019 | www.propublica.org

Wealthy politicians and businessmen suspected of corruption in their native lands are fleeing to a safe haven where their wealth and influence shields them from arrest.

They have entered this country on a variety of visas, including one designed to encourage investment. Some have applied for asylum, which is intended to protect people fleeing oppression and political persecution.

The increasingly popular destination for people avoiding criminal charges is no pariah nation.

It's the United States.

An investigation by ProPublica, in conjunction with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University, has found that officials fleeing prosecution in Colombia, China, South Korea, Bolivia and Panama have found refuge for themselves and their wealth in this country, taking advantage of lax enforcement of U.S. laws and gaps in immigration and financial regulations. Many have concealed their assets and real-estate purchases by creating trusts and limited liability companies in the names of lawyers and relatives.

American authorities are supposed to vet visa applicants to make sure they are not under active investigation on criminal charges. But the ProPublica examination shows that this requirement has been routinely ignored.

One of the most prominent cases involves a former president of Panama, who was allowed to enter the United States just days after his country's Supreme Court opened an investigation into charges that he had helped embezzle $45 million from a government school lunch program.

Ricardo Martinelli, a billionaire supermarket magnate, had been on the State Department's radar since he was elected in 2009. That year, the U.S. ambassador to Panama began sending diplomatic cables warning about the president's "dark side," including his links to corruption and his request for U.S. support for wiretapping his opponents.

Soon after Martinelli left office in 2014, Panamanian prosecutors conducted a widely publicized investigation of corruption in the school lunch program, and in mid-January 2015, forwarded their findings to the country's Supreme Court.

On Jan. 28, 2015, just hours before the Supreme Court announced a formal probe into the charges, Martinelli boarded a private plane, flew to Guatemala City for a meeting and then entered the United States on a visitor visa. Within weeks, he was living comfortably in the Atlantis, a luxury condominium on Miami's swanky Brickell Avenue. He is still here.

The State Department declined to comment on Martinelli's case, saying visa records are confidential and it is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that decides who is allowed to enter the country. CBP said privacy regulations prevent the agency from commenting on Martinelli.

Efforts to reach Martinelli, including a registered letter sent to his Miami address, were unsuccessful.

In September this year, Panama asked to extradite Martinelli, but the former president is fighting that request, arguing there are no legal grounds to bring him back to his home country where the investigation has broadened to include insider trading, corruption and abuse of authority. Last December, Panama's high court issued a warrant for his arrest on charges that he used public funds to spy on over 150 political opponents. If found guilty, he could face up to 21 years in jail.

Rogelio Cruz, who is defending Martinelli in Panama's Supreme Court, said that the former president "will return to Panama once adequate conditions exist with respect to due process, where there are independent judges -- which there aren't."

The United States has explicit policies that bar issuing visas to foreign officials facing criminal charges in their homelands. In 2004, President George W. Bush issued a proclamation designed to keep the United States from becoming a haven for corrupt officials. Proclamation 7750, which has the force and effect of law, directed the State Department to ban officials who have accepted bribes or misappropriated public funds when their actions have "serious adverse effects on the national interests of the United States."

Under the rules implementing Bush's order, consular officers do not need a conviction or even formal charges to justify denying a visa. They can stamp "denied" based on information from unofficial, or informal sources, including newspaper articles, according to diplomats and State Department officials interviewed for this report.

The State Department declined to provide the number of times Proclamation 7750 has been invoked, but insisted that it has been used "robustly."

Over the years, some allegedly corrupt officials have been banned from entering the United States, including former Panamanian President Ernesto Perez Balladares , former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Aleman, former Cameroonian Defense Minister Remy Ze Meka, and retired Philippine Gen. Carlos Garcia , according to cables published by WikiLeaks. In 2014, the U.S. banned visas for 10 members of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's inner circle because of corruption allegations.

But numerous other foreign government officials, including former presidents and cabinet ministers, have slipped through the cracks, according to court documents, diplomatic cables and interviews with prosecutors and defense attorneys in the United States and abroad. The charges involved a wide range of misconduct, from stealing public funds to accepting bribes.


Six months before Martinelli entered the United States, a former Colombian agriculture minister and onetime presidential candidate, Andres Felipe Arias, fled to Miami three weeks before he was convicted of funneling $12.5 million to wealthy political supporters from a subsidy program that was intended to reduce inequality in rural areas and protect farmers from the effects of globalization.

The U.S. embassy in Bogota had been following Arias' trial closely and reporting on the scandal in cables to Washington. The trial featured documents and witnesses saying that under Arias' watch, the agriculture ministry had doled out millions in subsidies to affluent families, some of whom, according to media reports, had donated to Arias' political allies or his presidential campaign.

Subsidies went to relatives of congressmen, companies owned by the richest man in Colombia, and a former beauty queen. One powerful family and its associates received over $2.5 million, according to records released by prosecutors. Another family, which included relatives of a former senator, received $1.3 million. Both families had supported Arias' chief political ally, former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, with campaign contributions.

The law that established the program did not ban wealthy landowners from getting grants, but some elite families had received multiple subsidies for the same farm. They gamed the system by submitting multiple proposals in the names of different family members and by subdividing their land so they could apply for grants for each parcel, court records indicate.

Yet, in November 2013, while the trial was going on, the U.S. embassy in Bogota renewed Arias' visitor visa. The State Department refused to discuss the case, saying that visa records are confidential. But a recent filing in federal court showed that the U.S. embassy had flagged Arias' application, and asked him to provide documents to support his request to leave the country while charges were pending. Arias submitted documents from the Colombian court, including a judicial order that allowed him to travel. In the end, the embassy issued a visa because he had not yet been convicted.

Andres Felipe Arias, a former Colombian agriculture minister, who fled to the United States before he could be convicted of funneling money from a subsidy program (GDA via AP Images)

On the night of June 13, 2014, three weeks before the judges convicted him of embezzlement by appropriation, a Colombian law that penalizes the unauthorized use of public funds to benefit private entities, Arias packed his bags and boarded a plane. The following month, the U.S. embassy in Bogota revoked the visa. But Arias hired an immigration attorney and applied for asylum.

"If you looked up 'politically motivated charges' in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Andres Arias next to it," said David Oscar Markus, Arias' lead attorney. "The case [against him] is absurd and not even one that is recognized in the United States."

Over the next two years, Arias built a new life in South Florida with his wife and two children, opening a small consulting company and renting a house in Weston.

On August 24, he was arrested by U.S. authorities in response to an extradition request from Colombia. He spent several months in a detention facility until his release on bail in mid-November. Arias argues that the United States cannot extradite him because it has no active extradition treaty with Colombia, but the U.S. Attorney's Office disagrees. A plea for asylum does not shield defendants from extradition if they are charged in Colombia with a crime covered by the treaty between the two countries.


Congress established the EB-5 immigrant investor program in 1990 as a way of creating jobs for Americans and encouraging investment by foreigners.

The agency that administers the program, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has adopted regulations designed to prevent fraud, including requiring foreign investors to submit evidence, such as tax returns and bank statements, to prove they obtained their money legally.

But these safeguards did not stop the daughter-in-law and grandsons of former South Korean dictator Chun Doo-hwan from using Chun's ill-gotten gains to get U.S. permanent residency.

In 1996, a Korean court convicted Chun of receiving more than $200 million in bribes while in office in the 1980s, from companies such as Samsung and Hyundai. He was ordered to return the bribes, but refused.

Part of Chun's fortune was funneled into the United States through his son, who purchased a $2.2 million house in Newport Beach, California, according to South Korean prosecutors and real-estate records.

Millions of dollars from Chun's bribery proceeds were hidden in bearer bonds, which are notoriously difficult to trace. Unlike regular bonds, which belong to registered owners, there is no record kept about the ownership or transfer of bearer bonds. The bonds can be cashed out by whoever has them.

Former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan addresses the press at the White House in 1985. Chun's relatives later gained permanent residency in the United States by using money Chun obtained through bribes. (Bettmann via Getty Images)

In 2008, Chun's daughter-in-law, a South Korean actress named Park Sang-ah, applied for an immigrant investor visa. Park listed her husband's bearer bonds as the source of her funds without mentioning that the money had been initially provided to him by Chun. Eight months later, Park and her children received their conditional U.S. permanent residency cards in the mail.

In 2013, at the request of South Korean prosecutors, the U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into the Chun family's wealth in the United States and subsequently seized $1.2 million of the family's U.S. assets in the United States. The money was returned to South Korea. Despite that, Chun's family members have retained their residency status.

Chun's relatives obtained their permanent residency by investing in an EB-5 project managed by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, a nonprofit company. The PIDC pooled Chun's $500,000 with money from 200 other foreign investors to finance an expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia.

The same project in Philadelphia also helped to secure permanent residency for Qiao Jianjun, a Chinese government official accused of embezzling more than $40 million from a state-owned grain storehouse, according to reports in the People's Daily, the Chinese Communist Party's newspaper. Qiao had divorced his wife, Shilan Zhao, in China in 2001, a fact he did not disclose to U.S. immigration authorities. When Zhao applied for an EB-5 visa, Qiao qualified for U.S. permanent residency as an applicant's spouse.

The Justice Department launched an investigation only when it was tipped off by Chinese authorities. In January 2014, a federal grand jury indicted Zhao and her ex-husband, Qiao, for immigration fraud, money laundering and internationally transporting stolen funds. Zhao was arrested and released on bail. Federal authorities are pursuing Qiao, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

A trial has been set for February 2017. U.S. government attorneys have filed asset forfeiture cases to recover real estate linked to Qiao and Zhao in Flushing, New York, and Monterey Park, California.

In April 2015, Qiao appeared on the Chinese government's list of 100 "most wanted" officials who fled abroad after being accused of crimes such as bribery and corruption. He and 39 other government officials and state-owned enterprise leaders on the list allegedly fled to the United States.

The list, called "Operation Skynet," is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign, which has vowed to take down what Chinese officials describe as corrupt "tigers" and "flies" within the country's ruling Communist Party.

Fengxian Hu was another fugitive on China's list. A former army singer and radio broadcaster, Hu headed the state-owned broadcasting company that had a joint venture with Pepsi to distribute soft drinks in Sichuan province. In 2002, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal reported that Pepsi had accused Hu of looting the joint venture and using company funds to buy fancy cars and go on European tours.

The same year, in a widely publicized move, Pepsi filed a case with international arbitrators in Stockholm, asking that the joint venture be dissolved. Despite this, Hu was given a visa that allowed him to fly regularly to Las Vegas, where he was a VIP client at the MGM casino.

In January 2010, Chinese authorities investigated Hu for corruption. But the month before, Hu had entered the United States on a B1 visitor visa, joining his wife, a U.S. citizen living in New York.

Hu tried to obtain a green card through his wife, but the petition was rejected by U.S. immigration authorities. He applied for asylum instead.

Meanwhile, he had gotten into trouble in the United States for losing millions in a Las Vegas casino and failing to pay a $12 million gambling debt. In 2012, he was indicted in a Nevada court on two counts of theft and one count of intentionally passing a check without sufficient funds.

Hu pled not guilty to the charges; his lawyers claimed that his checks bounced because his bank account had been closed by Chinese authorities. The charges against him in the U.S. were considered an aggravated felony, which is a common basis for deportation. Hu, however, had a pending asylum case and so could not be deported.

In August 2015, a New York immigration judge denied the asylum claim. But Hu's lawyers argued that he would be tortured if he returned to China and invoked the United Nations Convention Against Torture , which says that an alien may not be sent to a country where he is likely to be tortured. In the end, the immigration court suspended Hu's removal order, allowing him to remain in the United States and work here indefinitely. He will not, however, be given permanent residency or be allowed to travel outside the country.

The absence of an extradition treaty -- coupled with a high standard of living -- makes the United States a favored destination for Chinese officials and businessmen fleeing corruption charges.

In April 2015, Jeh Johnson, the Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security , made a 48-hour trip to Beijing. The visit was intended to pave the way for Chinese President Xi Jinping's U.S. visit in September 2015, according to a memorandum Johnson wrote, which was obtained through a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

In the memo, Johnson said the Chinese government is seeking 132 people it said have fled to the United States to avoid prosecution. This represents a greater number of fugitives than Chinese authorities have publicly acknowledged.

"I'm told that in prior discussions, the Chinese have been frustrated by the lack of any information from us about the 132 fugitives," Johnson wrote.

The Chinese request for assistance posed a dilemma for the United States. American officials are concerned about a lack of fairness in China's criminal justice system. Human rights groups say that China continues to use torture to extract false confessions from suspected criminals. Torture has also been documented to be part of shuanggui -- a secretive discipline process reserved for members of the Chinese Communist Party.

Some analysts see the crackdown on corrupt officials as part of a purge aimed at the current regime's political rivals and ideological enemies. U.S. officials say this makes returning corrupt officials to China a delicate issue for the United States.


In 2003, headlines around the world reported widespread street protests in Bolivia that led to security forces killing 58 people, most of them members of indigenous groups. Not long afterward, as protesters massed up on the streets of La Paz demanding his resignation, Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada resigned and fled his country along with his defense minister, Jose Carlos Sanchez Berzain.

The two men flew to the United States, where they continue to reside. In 2006, Berzain applied for political asylum, which he was granted in 2007. On his application, when the form asked, "Have you or your family members ever been accused, charged, arrested, detained, interrogated, convicted and sentenced, or imprisoned in any country other than the United States?" Berzain checked the box "no," even though by then he and de Lozada had been formally accused of genocide by Bolivia's attorney general. The indictment was approved by Bolivia's Supreme Court in 2007. Berzain also stated on his application that the State Department had arranged for his travel to the United States.

The de Lozada administration was vocally pro-American. Before it was ousted, officials had announced they would facilitate gas exports to the United States.

After their departure, Bolivia's attorney general publicly stated that the administration had embezzled millions from government coffers, but did not formally file charges. He said de Lozada had taken some $22 million from the country's reserve funds before fleeing.

De Lozada and members of his administration have dismissed the allegations as part of a politically motivated smear campaign, but there is evidence to suggest irregularities may have occurred in the handling of the reserve funds. The former president signed a decree shortly before leaving office authorizing the interior and finance ministers to withdraw money from Bolivia's reserve funds without going through the normal approval process. De Lozada's former interior minister pleaded guilty in 2004 to embezzlement after $270,000 in cash was found in an associate's home.

De Lozada, a mining mogul before he became president, moved to Chevy Chase, Maryland, an upscale suburb of Washington, D.C. He now lives in a two-story brick house bought for $1.4 million by Macalester Limited, a limited liability company that was formed in the British Virgin Islands and lists a post office box in the Bahamas as its principal address.

De Lozada's immigration status is unclear. He said in a sworn deposition in 2015 that he was not a U.S. citizen. His son-in-law, who spoke to ProPublica on his behalf, would not say whether de Lozada had applied for asylum.

Berzain, meanwhile, settled in South Florida. Records show that he and his brother-in-law personally own or are listed as officers or members of business entities that together control around $9 million worth of Miami real estate.

Some of the purchases were made in the names of entities that appear to list different variations of Berzain's name in business records.

In addition, in the purchase of two properties, Berzain's name was added to business records only after the deal had gone through. Berzain's brother-in-law incorporated a company called Warren USA Corp in October 2010, for example, and the company purchased a $1.4 million residential property the following month. Three weeks after Warren USA Corp became the owner of an elegant Spanish-style villa in Key Biscayne, Berzain was added as the company's secretary.

The following year, in May 2011, Berzain's brother-in-law created Galen KB Corp and registered as the company's president. A month later, Galen KB Corp purchased a $250,000 condo. In August, Berzain replaced his brother-in-law as the company's president, according to business records. Berzain is no longer listed as a company officer in either company.

During an interview in January, Berzain told ProPublica "I don't have any companies." When asked about several of the companies associated with his name or address in public records, the former defense minister said he had a consulting firm that helped clients set up companies and that he was sometimes added to the board of directors. Efforts to reach Berzain's brother-in-law, a wealthy businessman and the owner of a bus company in Bolivia, were unsuccessful. Berzain's brother-in-law has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The practice of purchasing real estate in the name of a business entity like a limited liability company, or LLC, is a common and legal practice in high-end real-estate markets, and one that enables celebrities and other wealthy individuals to protect their privacy.

But the practice also allows foreign officials to hide ill-gotten gains. U.S. regulations allow individuals to form business entities like LLCs without disclosing the beneficial owner. The LLCs can be registered in the names of lawyers, accountants or other associates -- or even anonymously in some states -- and used to purchase real estate, making it nearly impossible to determine the actual owner of a property.


Government investigators and lawmakers have pointed out persistent gaps in U.S. policy that have enabled corrupt officials to evade justice and hide their assets in this country. But little has changed.

Last year, a U.S. Government Accountability Office investigation said it can be "difficult" for immigration officials to identify the true source of an immigrant investor's funds. Immigration officials told the government auditors that EB-5 applicants with ties to corruption, the drug trade, human trafficking and other criminal activities have a strong incentive to omit key details about their financial histories or lie on their applications.

"It's very easy to get lost in the noise if you're a bad person," said Seto Bagdoyan, the accountability office's director of forensic audits, who co-authored the GAO report.

Immigration officials, he added, have an "almost nonexistent" ability to thoroughly evaluate investors' backgrounds and trace their assets.

Despite such weaknesses, Congress has continually extended the EB-5 program with minor changes. The program is backed by real-estate lobbyists who argue that it is a crucial source of financing for luxury condos and hotels. The program is expected to thrive in a Trump presidency because the president-elect is a developer and his son-in-law Jared Kushner received $50 million in EB-5 funds to build a Trump-branded tower in New Jersey.

In 2010, a Senate report described how powerful foreign officials and their relatives moved millions of dollars in suspect funds into the United States. The report said investors bypassed anti-money laundering regulations with help from U.S. lawyers, real-estate agents, and banking institutions. Last year, ABC News reported that lobbyists for real estate and other business groups spent $30 million in 2015 in an effort to protect the EB-5 program.

Senate investigators proposed legislation that would require companies to disclose their beneficial owners and make it easier for authorities to restrict entry, deny visas and deport corrupt foreign officials.

A few of the proposals have been adopted, but they have not made much difference. Banks have stepped up their efforts to identify corrupt officials and monitor their accounts. Professional groups such as the American Bar Association have issued non-binding guidelines for their members on compliance with anti-money-laundering controls. The U.S. government has also worked with the Financial Action Task Force , an international body set up to fight money laundering, to bring its anti-corruption controls in accordance with the body's guidelines.

In May, the Treasury Department enacted a new rule that will take full effect in 2018 and will require financial institutions to identify the beneficial owners of shell companies. Some advocates see the rule as a step backward. The new rule allows shell companies to designate the manager of the account as the beneficial owner, concealing the identity of the person ultimately exercising control.

The State Department declined to say what progress, if any, it has made on the Senate subcommittee's recommendation to more aggressively deny visas through Proclamation 7750. "The Department takes seriously congressional recommendations and devotes resources to addressing corruption worldwide," a State Department official wrote in response to questions.

In 2010, then-Attorney General Eric Holder launched the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. The small unit, which has grown to include 16 attorneys, aims to recover assets in the United States that are tied to foreign corruption and return the money to the looted countries.

Over the past six years, the unit has filed around two dozen civil asset forfeiture cases in an attempt to seize money, real estate and other assets tied to government officials from 16 countries. Assets have ranged from a lone diamond-encrusted glove worn by Michael Jackson that was purchased by Equatorial Guinea's Vice President, Teodoro Obiang, to a $1 billion fund tied to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Yet most of the money the Department of Justice has pursued remains in limbo. The case involving Chun, the former president of South Korea, is one of only two instances in which corrupt gains have been returned to the home country through the Justice Department's efforts. The other arose when Justice Department officials returned $1.5 million to Taiwan from property bought with bribes paid to the family of Chun Shui Bian, the former president of Taiwan.

The agency faces myriad challenges when attempting to seize and return assets acquired by corrupt foreign officials, including a lack of witnesses, said Kendall Day, head of the Department of Justice's Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section. These officials often shield their transactions through shell companies, offshore companies or a network of associates.

"The mission of the Kleptocracy Initiative is really to target what we call grand foreign corruption that impacts the U.S. financial system," Day said, citing the Chun case as an example.

The 2012 Magnitsky Act gives the government power to deny visas and freeze the assets of Russian nationals accused of corruption or human rights violations. The Global Magnitsky Act would extend the same sanctions to the rest of the world, but it has yet to be passed by Congress. Unlike Proclamation 7750, the Magnitsky laws require the government to publish a list of foreign government officials who are barred from the United States.

In addition, the Treasury Department imposed regulations this year that aim to crack down on the use of shell companies to purchase real estate in places like Miami and Manhattan. Title insurance companies are now required to identify the real owners of companies purchasing high-end real estate without a mortgage. These regulations, however, are temporary.

[Apr 02, 2019] Guaido Set to Enact Uprising Rooted in US Regime-Change Operations Manual

EuroMaydan scenario for Venezuela?
Notable quotes:
"... Putin understands that both the loser and the winner lose in the confrontation. Therefore, he always offers a compromise for a long time, almost to the last opportunity, even to those who clearly do not deserve it, moving to other solutions only after the opponent has clearly crossed all possible red lines and can pose a threat to the vital interests of Russia. An agreement based on consideration of each other's interests is always stronger than any short-term 'victories', which tomorrow will result in the need to reaffirm their status of the winner again and again. It seems to me that Putin understands this well. Hence the effectiveness of his actions. ..."
Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Apr 1, 2019 2:16:53 PM | link

@73 karlof1

That's a great piece by Escobar, and it contains snippets from his talk with Ishchenko, which I recall he said was coming but which I don't think I ever saw anywhere until now.

I have to quote this perfect illustration of Putin from Ishchenko:

Putin understands that both the loser and the winner lose in the confrontation. Therefore, he always offers a compromise for a long time, almost to the last opportunity, even to those who clearly do not deserve it, moving to other solutions only after the opponent has clearly crossed all possible red lines and can pose a threat to the vital interests of Russia. An agreement based on consideration of each other's interests is always stronger than any short-term 'victories', which tomorrow will result in the need to reaffirm their status of the winner again and again. It seems to me that Putin understands this well. Hence the effectiveness of his actions.

As to Pepe's main theme, that the Pentagon is hardening its stances, it's well reported, and fits nicely with the latest piece from Whitney Webb, which Escobar linked form his Facebook page, by the way (I get a lot of good "heads-up" links from there). I'll post it in the next comment.

Grieved , Apr 1, 2019 2:24:53 PM | link

more from #75

Speaking of hardening, Whitney Webb's latest shows exactly how the US plans to act in Venezuela:

Guaido Set to Enact Uprising Rooted in US Regime-Change Operations Manual

Webb's story is about the newly developed RED team, the "sole contractor" to USAID with regard to Venezuela. The piece illustrates both the exact playbook to be used in Venezuela and a hardening of stance in the covert activity sphere equal with the military sphere's hardening that karlof1 cites @73:

For instance, one respondent asserted that the RED Team system would "restore the long-lost doing capacity of USAID." Another USAID official with 15 years of experience, including in "extremely denied environments," stated that:

"We have to be involved in national security or USAID will not be relevant. Anybody who doesn't think we need to be working in combat elements or working with SF [special forces] groups is just naïve. We are either going to be up front or irrelevant USAID is going through a lot right now, but this is an area where we can be of utility. It must happen."

This seems to speak a lot of the Trump administration's true ambitions in the Rambo theater of fantasy and cruelty. This RED team is armed with cash and weaponry for offensive violence, along with an entire vocabulary of institutional words that almost seem harmless until you explore the implications, as Webb does.

I have to say in passing that I just don't know if we've ever been able to see so clearly before - i.e. at the level of one magazine article citing the published declarations of the actors - the exact and precise methods by which regime change will attempt to be imposed on a target country.

Presumably Gerasimov and the rest of the Russia team are hip to every one of these moves, and will counter effectively and creatively.


[Apr 02, 2019] Juan Guaid Confesses Being Behind the Sabotage of Venezuela's Electric System

Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

linda gentsch , Apr 1, 2019 5:48:26 PM | link

Juan Guaidó Confesses Being Behind the Sabotage of Venezuela's Electric System

https://www.globalresearch.ca/juan-guaido-confesses-being-behind-the-sabotage-of-venezuelas-electric-system/5673104

Just say it like it is. Follow Bolton, Abrams, Pompeo and Trump's examples. I don't think the VZ people will be intimidated.

karlof1 , Apr 1, 2019 5:50:08 PM | link

Random Dude's legal troubles escalate:

"The Supreme Court of Justice of #Venezuela ratifies precautionary measures to Juan #Guaidó: prohibition to exit the country, prohibition to transfer his property, blockade and immobilization of bank accounts or any other financial instrument in Venezuela."

"The Supreme Court of Justice imposes a fine on Juan #Guaidó and asks the National Constituent Assembly to lift the parliamentary immunity after Guaidó broke the prohibition of leaving the country."

What will be the next "Or Else" utterance by the Naked Emperor's Agents be? Will they threaten to throw the table holding all those possibilities? Perhaps also add the chairs?

Meanwhile, China delivers another freighter full of medical supplies.

[Apr 02, 2019] 'Yats' Is No Longer the Guy by Robert Parry

Highly recommended!
This article by late Robert Parry is from 2016 but is still relevant in context of the current Ukrainian elections and the color revolution is Venezuela. The power of neoliberal propaganda is simply tremendous. For foreign events it is able to distort the story to such an extent that the most famous quote of CIA director William Casey "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false" looks like constatation of already accomplished goal.
Apr 11, 2016 | consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: Several weeks before Ukraine's 2014 coup, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Nuland had already picked Arseniy Yatsenyuk to be the future leader, but now "Yats" is no longer the guy, writes Robert Parry.

In reporting on the resignation of Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the major U.S. newspapers either ignored or distorted Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland's infamous intercepted phone call before the 2014 coup in which she declared "Yats is the guy!"

Though Nuland's phone call introduced many Americans to the previously obscure Yatsenyuk, its timing – a few weeks before the ouster of elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych – was never helpful to Washington's desired narrative of the Ukrainian people rising up on their own to oust a corrupt leader.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.

Instead, the conversation between Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt sounded like two proconsuls picking which Ukrainian politicians would lead the new government. Nuland also disparaged the less aggressive approach of the European Union with the pithy put-down: "Fuck the E.U.!"

More importantly, the intercepted call, released onto YouTube in early February 2014, represented powerful evidence that these senior U.S. officials were plotting – or at least collaborating in – a coup d'etat against Ukraine's democratically elected president. So, the U.S. government and the mainstream U.S. media have since consigned this revealing discussion to the Great Memory Hole.

On Monday, in reporting on Yatsenyuk's Sunday speech in which he announced that he is stepping down, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal didn't mention the Nuland-Pyatt conversation at all. The New York Times did mention the call but misled its readers regarding its timing, making it appear as if the call followed rather than preceded the coup. That way the call sounded like two American officials routinely appraising Ukraine's future leaders, not plotting to oust one government and install another.

The Times article by Andrew E. Kramer said: "Before Mr. Yatsenyuk's appointment as prime minister in 2014, a leaked recording of a telephone conversation between Victoria J. Nuland, a United States assistant secretary of state, and the American ambassador in Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, seemed to underscore the West's support for his candidacy. 'Yats is the guy,' Ms. Nuland had said."

Notice, however, that if you didn't know that the conversation occurred in late January or early February 2014, you wouldn't know that it preceded the Feb. 22, 2014 coup. You might have thought that it was just a supportive chat before Yatsenyuk got his new job.

You also wouldn't know that much of the Nuland-Pyatt conversation focused on how they were going to "glue this thing" or "midwife this thing," comments sounding like prima facie evidence that the U.S. government was engaged in "regime change" in Ukraine, on Russia's border.

The 'No Coup' Conclusion

But Kramer's lack of specificity about the timing and substance of the call fits with a long pattern of New York Times' bias in its coverage of the Ukraine crisis. On Jan. 4, 2015, nearly a year after the U.S.-backed coup, the Times published an "investigation" article declaring that there never had been a coup. It was just a case of President Yanukovych deciding to leave and not coming back.

That article reached its conclusion, in part, by ignoring the evidence of a coup, including the Nuland-Pyatt phone call. The story was co-written by Kramer and so it is interesting to know that he was at least aware of the "Yats is the guy" reference although it was ignored in last year's long-form article.

Instead, Kramer and his co-author Andrew Higgins took pains to mock anyone who actually looked at the evidence and dared reach the disfavored conclusion about a coup. If you did, you were some rube deluded by Russian propaganda.

"Russia has attributed Mr. Yanukovych's ouster to what it portrays as a violent, 'neo-fascist' coup supported and even choreographed by the West and dressed up as a popular uprising," Higgins and Kramer wrote . "Few outside the Russian propaganda bubble ever seriously entertained the Kremlin's line. But almost a year after the fall of Mr. Yanukovych's government, questions remain about how and why it collapsed so quickly and completely."

The Times' article concluded that Yanukovych "was not so much overthrown as cast adrift by his own allies, and that Western officials were just as surprised by the meltdown as anyone else. The allies' desertion, fueled in large part by fear, was accelerated by the seizing by protesters of a large stock of weapons in the west of the country. But just as important, the review of the final hours shows, was the panic in government ranks created by Mr. Yanukovych's own efforts to make peace."

Yet, one might wonder what the Times thinks a coup looks like. Indeed, the Ukrainian coup had many of the same earmarks as such classics as the CIA-engineered regime changes in Iran in 1953 and in Guatemala in 1954.

The way those coups played out is now historically well known. Secret U.S. government operatives planted nasty propaganda about the targeted leader, stirred up political and economic chaos, conspired with rival political leaders, spread rumors of worse violence to come and then – as political institutions collapsed – watched as the scared but duly elected leader made a hasty departure.

In Iran, the coup reinstalled the autocratic Shah who then ruled with a heavy hand for the next quarter century; in Guatemala, the coup led to more than three decades of brutal military regimes and the killing of some 200,000 Guatemalans.

Coups don't have to involve army tanks occupying the public squares, although that is an alternative model which follows many of the same initial steps except that the military is brought in at the end. The military coup was a common approach especially in Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s.

' Color Revolutions'

But the preferred method in more recent years has been the "color revolution," which operates behind the façade of a "peaceful" popular uprising and international pressure on the targeted leader to show restraint until it's too late to stop the coup. Despite the restraint, the leader is still accused of gross human rights violations, all the better to justify his removal.

Later, the ousted leader may get an image makeover; instead of a cruel bully, he is ridiculed for not showing sufficient resolve and letting his base of support melt away, as happened with Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala.

But the reality of what happened in Ukraine was never hard to figure out. Nor did you have to be inside "the Russian propaganda bubble" to recognize it. George Friedman, the founder of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, called Yanukovych's overthrow "the most blatant coup in history."

Which is what it appears if you consider the evidence. The first step in the process was to create tensions around the issue of pulling Ukraine out of Russia's economic orbit and capturing it in the European Union's gravity, a plan defined by influential American neocons in 2013.

On Sept. 26, 2013, National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, who has been a major neocon paymaster for decades, took to the op-ed page of the neocon Washington Post and called Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step toward toppling Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At the time, Gershman, whose NED is funded by the U.S. Congress to the tune of about $100 million a year, was financing scores of projects inside Ukraine training activists, paying for journalists and organizing business groups.

As for the even bigger prize -- Putin -- Gershman wrote: "Ukraine's choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself."

At that time, in early fall 2013, Ukraine's President Yanukovych was exploring the idea of reaching out to Europe with an association agreement. But he got cold feet in November 2013 when economic experts in Kiev advised him that the Ukrainian economy would suffer a $160 billion hit if it separated from Russia, its eastern neighbor and major trading partner. There was also the West's demand that Ukraine accept a harsh austerity plan from the International Monetary Fund.

Yanukovych wanted more time for the E.U. negotiations, but his decision angered many western Ukrainians who saw their future more attached to Europe than Russia. Tens of thousands of protesters began camping out at Maidan Square in Kiev, with Yanukovych ordering the police to show restraint.

Meanwhile, with Yanukovych shifting back toward Russia, which was offering a more generous $15 billion loan and discounted natural gas, he soon became the target of American neocons and the U.S. media, which portrayed Ukraine's political unrest as a black-and-white case of a brutal and corrupt Yanukovych opposed by a saintly "pro-democracy" movement.

Cheering an Uprising

The Maidan uprising was urged on by American neocons, including Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Nuland, who passed out cookies at the Maidan and reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their "European aspirations."

A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland's left.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, also showed up, standing on stage with right-wing extremists from the Svoboda Party and telling the crowd that the United States was with them in their challenge to the Ukrainian government.

As the winter progressed, the protests grew more violent. Neo-Nazi and other extremist elements from Lviv and other western Ukrainian cities began arriving in well-organized brigades or "sotins" of 100 trained street fighters. Police were attacked with firebombs and other weapons as the violent protesters began seizing government buildings and unfurling Nazi banners and even a Confederate flag.

Though Yanukovych continued to order his police to show restraint, he was still depicted in the major U.S. news media as a brutal thug who was callously murdering his own people. The chaos reached a climax on Feb. 20 when mysterious snipers opened fire, killing both police and protesters. As the police retreated, the militants advanced brandishing firearms and other weapons. The confrontation led to significant loss of life, pushing the death toll to around 80 including more than a dozen police.

U.S. diplomats and the mainstream U.S. press immediately blamed Yanukovych for the sniper attack, though the circumstances remain murky to this day and some investigations have suggested that the lethal sniper fire came from buildings controlled by Right Sektor extremists.

To tamp down the worsening violence, a shaken Yanukovych signed a European-brokered deal on Feb. 21, in which he accepted reduced powers and an early election so he could be voted out of office. He also agreed to requests from Vice President Joe Biden to pull back the police.

The precipitous police withdrawal opened the path for the neo-Nazis and other street fighters to seize presidential offices and force Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives. The new coup regime was immediately declared "legitimate" by the U.S. State Department with Yanukovych sought on murder charges. Nuland's favorite, Yatsenyuk, became the new prime minister.

Throughout the crisis, the mainstream U.S. press hammered home the theme of white-hatted protesters versus a black-hatted president. The police were portrayed as brutal killers who fired on unarmed supporters of "democracy." The good-guy/bad-guy narrative was all the American people heard from the major media.

The New York Times went so far as to delete the slain policemen from the narrative and simply report that the police had killed all those who died in the Maidan. A typical Times report on March 5, 2014, summed up the storyline: "More than 80 protesters were shot to death by the police as an uprising spiraled out of control in mid-February."

The mainstream U.S. media also sought to discredit anyone who observed the obvious fact that an unconstitutional coup had just occurred. A new theme emerged that portrayed Yanukovych as simply deciding to abandon his government because of the moral pressure from the noble and peaceful Maidan protests.

Any reference to a "coup" was dismissed as "Russian propaganda." There was a parallel determination in the U.S. media to discredit or ignore evidence that neo-Nazi militias had played an important role in ousting Yanukovych and in the subsequent suppression of anti-coup resistance in eastern and southern Ukraine. That opposition among ethnic-Russian Ukrainians simply became "Russian aggression."

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine's Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

This refusal to notice what was actually a remarkable story – the willful unleashing of Nazi storm troopers on a European population for the first time since World War II – reached absurd levels as The New York Times and The Washington Post buried references to the neo-Nazis at the end of stories, almost as afterthoughts.

The Washington Post went to the extreme of rationalizing Swastikas and other Nazi symbols by quoting one militia commander as calling them "romantic" gestures by impressionable young men. [See Consortiumnews.com's " Ukraine's 'Romantic' Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers ."]

But today – more than two years after what U.S. and Ukrainian officials like to call "the Revolution of Dignity" – the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government is sinking into dysfunction, reliant on handouts from the IMF and Western governments.

And, in a move perhaps now more symbolic than substantive, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is stepping down. Yats is no longer the guy.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).


Khalid Talaat , April 16, 2016 at 20:39

Is it too far fetched to think that all these color revolutions are a perfection of the process to unleash another fake color revolution, only this time it is a Red, White and Blue revolution here at home? Those that continue to booze and snooze while watching the tube will not know the difference until it is too late.

The freedom and tranquility of our country depends on finding and implementing a counterweight to the presstitutes and their propaganda. The alternative is too destructive in its natural development.

Abe , April 15, 2016 at 18:49

Yats and Porko are the guys who broke Ukraine. By the end of December 2015, Ukraine's gross domestic product had shrunk around 19 percent in comparison with 2013. Its decimated industrial sector needs less fuel. Yatsie did a heck of a job.

Abe , April 15, 2016 at 18:35

Carl Gershman: "Ukraine is the biggest prize" -- Paragraph 6 of https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/former-soviet-states-stand-up-to-russia-will-the-us/2013/09/26/b5ad2be4-246a-11e3-b75d-5b7f66349852_story.html

David Smith , April 12, 2016 at 13:51

The timing of "Yats" departure is ominous. Mid-April, six weeks from now would be the first chance to renew the invasion of DPR Donesk/Lugansk."Yats" failed in 2014, and didn't try in 2015. Who is "the new guy"? Will the new Prime Minister begin raving about renewing the holy war to recover the lost oblasts? 2016 is really Ukraine's last chance. Ukraine refuses to implement Minsk2, and they have been receiving lots of new weapons. I believe President Putin put the Syrian operation on " standby" not only to avoid approaching the border, provoking a Turkish intervention, but also so he can give undistracted attention to DPR Donesk/Lugansk.

Bill Rood , April 12, 2016 at 11:50

I guess I must be inside the Russian propaganda bubble. It was obvious to me when I looked at the YouTube videos of policemen burning after being hit with Molotov cocktails.

We played the same game of encouraging government "restraint" in Syria, where we demanded Assad free "political prisoners," but we now accuse him of deliberately encouraging ISIS by freeing those people, so that he can point to ISIS and ask, "Do you want that?" Targeted leaders are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Andrei , April 12, 2016 at 10:26

"the Ukrainian coup had many of the same earmarks as such classics as the CIA-engineered regime changes in Iran in 1953 and in Guatemala in 1954", Romania 1989 Shots were fired by snipers in order to stirr the crowds (sounds familiar?) and also by the army after Ceasescu ran away, which resulted in civilians getting murdered. Could it possibly be that it was said : "Iliescu (next elected president) is the guy!" ?

Joe L. , April 12, 2016 at 11:00

Check out the attempted coup against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela 2002, that is very similar with protesters, snipers on rooftops, IMF immediately offering loans to the new coup government, new government positions for the coup plotters, complacency with the media – propaganda, funding by USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy etc. John Pilger documents how the coup occurred in his documentary "War on Democracy" – https://vimeo.com/16724719 .

archaos , April 12, 2016 at 09:45

It was noted in the minutes of Verkhovna Rada almost 2 years before Maidan 2 , that Geoffrey Pyatt was fomenting and funding destabilisation of Ukraine.
All of Svoboda Nazis in parliament (and other fascisti) then booed the MP who stated this.

Mark Thomason , April 12, 2016 at 06:57

Also, the Dutch voted "no" on the economic agreement the coup was meant to force through instead of the Russian agreement accepted by the President it overthrew. Now both "Yats" and the economic agreement are gone. All that is left is the war. Neocons are still happen. They wanted the war. They really want to overthrow Putin, and Ukraine was just a tool in that.

Realist , April 12, 2016 at 05:51

You're right, it doesn't have to be the military that carries out a coup by deploying tanks on the National Mall. In 2000, it was the United States Supreme Court that exceeded its constitutional authority and installed George W. Bush as president, though in reality he had lost that election. I wonder when that move will rightfully be characterized as a coup by the historians.

Bryan Hemming , April 12, 2016 at 04:00

"On Sept. 26, 2013, National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, who has been a major neocon paymaster for decades, took to the op-ed page of the neocon Washington Post and called Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step toward toppling Russian President Vladimir Putin."

It should be remembered that Victoria Nuland took up the post of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in Washington on September 18, 2013.

Coincidentally, two other women closely connected to events in Ukraine were also in Washington during September 2013.

Friend of Nuland and boss of the IMF, which has its own HQ in Washington, Christine Lagarde was swift to respond to a Ukraine request for IMF loans on February 27th 2014, just five days after the removal of Yanukovych on February 22nd. Lagarde is pictured with Baronness Catherine Ashton in Washington in a Facebook entry dated September 30th 2013. Ashton was High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy at the time.

Though visiting Kiev at the same time as Nuland in February 2014 Catherine Ashton never appeared in public with her, which seems a little odd considering the women were on the same mission, and talking to the same people. Nevertheless, despite appearing shy of being photographed with each other the two women weren't quite so shy of being pictured with leaders of the coup, including the right wing extremist, Oleh Tyahnybok.

Ashton refused to be drawn into commenting on Nuland's "Fuck the E.U.!" outburst, describing Nuland as "a friend of mine." The two women certainly weren't strangers, they had worked closely together before. September 2012 saw them involved in discussions with Iran negotiator Saeed Jalili over the country's supposed nuclear arms ambitions.

The question is not so much whether the three women talked about Ukraine's future – it would be ridiculous to think they did not – but how closely they worked together, and exactly how closely they might have been involved in events leading up to the overthrow of the legitimate government in Kiev. More on this here:

https://bryanhemming.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/double-double-toil-and-trouble-the-cauldron-of-kiev/

Pablo Diablo , April 11, 2016 at 22:56

Another failed "regime change". Aren't these guys (Neoconservatives) great. They fail, piss off/kill millions, yet seem to keep making money and retaining power. Time to WAKE UP AMERICA.

Skip Edwards , April 11, 2016 at 20:06

Read "The Devil'Chessboard" by David Talbot to understand what has been occurring as a result of America's Dark, Shadow government, an un-elected bunch of vicious psychopaths controlling our destiny; unless stopped. Get a clue and realize that "Yats is our guy" Victoria Nuland was Hillary Clinton's "gal." Hillary Clinton is Robert Kagen's "gal." Time to flush all these rats out of the hold and get on with our lives.

Joe L. , April 11, 2016 at 18:40

Mr. Parry thank you for delving into the proven history of coups and the parallels with Ukraine. It amazes me how anyone can outright deny this was a coup especially if they know anything about US coups going back to WW2 (Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Chile 1973, attempt in Venezuela 2002 etc. – and there are a whole slew more). I read before, as you have rightly pointed out, that in 1953 the CIA led a propaganda campaign in Iran against Mossadegh as well as financing opposition protesters and opposition government officials. Another angle, as well, is looking historically back to what papers such as the New York Times were reporting around the time of the coup in Iran – especially when we know that the US/Britain overthrew the democratically elected Mossadegh for their own oil interests (British Petroleum):

New York Times: "Mossadegh Plays with Fire" (August 15, 1953):

The world has so many trouble spots these days that one is apt to pass over the odd one here and there to preserve a little peace of mind. It would be well, however, to keep an eye on Iran, where matters are going from bad to worse, thanks to the machinations of Premier Mossadegh.

Some of us used to ascribe our inability to persuade Dr. Mossadegh of the validity of our ideas to the impossibility of making him understand or see things our way. We thought of him as a sincere, well-meaning, patriotic Iranian, who had a different point of view and made different deductions from the same set of facts. We now know that he is a power-hungry, personally ambitious, ruthless demagogue who is trampling upon the liberties of his own people. We have seen this onetime champion of liberty maintain martial law, curb freedom of the press, radio, speech and assembly, resort to illegal arrests and torture, dismiss the Senate, destroy the power of the Shah, take over control of the army, and now he is about to destroy the Majlis, which is the lower house of Parliament.

His power would seem to be complete, but he has alienated the traditional ruling classes -the aristocrats, landlords, financiers and tribal leaders. These elements are anti-Communist. So is the Shah and so are the army leaders and the urban middle classes. There is a traditional, historic fear, suspicion and dislike of Russia and the Russians. The peasants, who make up the overwhelming mass of the population, are illiterate and nonpolitical. Finally, there is still no evidence that the Tudeh (Communist) party is strong enough or well enough organized, financed and led to take power.

All this simply means that there is no immediate danger of a Communist coup or Russian intervention. On the other hand, Dr. Mossadegh is encouraging the Tudeh and is following policies which will make the Communists more and more dangerous. He is a sorcerer's apprentice, calling up forces he will not be able to control.

Iran is a weak, divided, poverty-stricken country which possesses an immense latent wealth in oil and a crucial strategic position. This is very different from neighboring Turkey, a strong, united, determined and advanced nation, which can afford to deal with the Russians because she has nothing to fear -and therefore the West has nothing to fear. Thanks largely to Dr. Mossadegh, there is much to fear in Iran.

http://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/news/new-york-times/august-15-1953/

My feeling is that the biggest sin that our society has is forgetting history. If we remembered history I would think that it would be very difficult to pull off coups but most media does not revisit history which proves US coups even against democracies. I actually think that the coup that occurred in Ukraine was similar to the attempted coup in Venezuela in 2002 with snipers on rooftops, immediate blame for the deaths on Hugo Chavez where media manipulated the footage, immediate acceptance of the temporary coup government by the US Government, immediately offering IMF loans for the new coup government, government positions for many of the coup plotters, and let us not leave out the funding for the coup coming from USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy. I also remember seeing the New York Times immediately blaming Chavez and praising the coup but when the coup was overturned and US fingerprints started to become revealed (with many of the coup plotters fleeing to the US) then the New York Times wrote a limited retraction buried in their paper. Shameless.

SFOMARCO , April 11, 2016 at 15:16

How was NED able to finance "scores of projects inside Ukraine training activists, paying for journalists and organizing business groups", not to mention to host such dignitaries as Cookie Nuland, Loser McCain and assorted Bidens? Seems like a recipe for a coup "hidden in plain sight".

Bob Van Noy , April 11, 2016 at 14:36

Ukraine, one would hope, represents the "Bridge Too Far" moment for the proponents of regime change. Surely Americans must be catching on to what we do for selected nations in the name of "giving them their freedoms". The Kagan Family, empowered by their newly endorsed candidate for President, Hillary Clinton, will feel justified in carrying on a new cold war, this time world wide. Of course they will not be doing the fighting, they, like Dick Cheney are the self appointed intellects of geopolitical chess, much like The Georgetown Set of the Kennedy era, they perceive themselves as the only ones smart enough to plan America's future.

Helen Marshall , April 11, 2016 at 17:11

I wish. How many Americans know ANYTHNG about what has happened in Ukraine, about Crimea and its history, and/or could even locate them on a map?

Pastor Agnostic , April 12, 2016 at 04:11

Nuland is merely the inhouse, PNAC female version of Sidney Blumenthal. Which raises the scary question. Who would she pick to be SecState?

[Mar 31, 2019] Guaido Set To Enact Uprising Rooted In US Regime-Change Operations Manual

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Given that Guaidó was trained by a group funded by USAID's sister organization, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) -- and is known to take his marching orders from Washington, including his self-proclamation as "interim president" and his return to Venezuela following the "humanitarian aid" showdown -- it is worth considering that this USAID document may well serve as a roadmap to the upcoming and Guaidó-led "tactical actions" that will comprise "Operation Freedom." ..."
"... Titled "Rapid Expeditionary Development (RED) Teams: Demand and Feasibility Assessment," the 75-page document was produced for the U.S. Global Development Lab, a branch of USAID. It was written as part of an effort to the "widespread sentiment" among the many military, intelligence, and development officials the report's authors interviewed "that the USG [U.S. government] is woefully underperforming in non-permissive and denied environments," including Venezuela. Notably, some of the military, intelligence and development officials interviewed by the report's authors had experience working in a covert capacity in Venezuela. ..."
"... The report goes on to state that "RED Team members would be catalytic actors, performing development activities alongside local communities while coordinating with interagency partners." It further states that "[i]t is envisioned that the priority competency of proposed RED Team development officers would be social movement theory (SMT)" and that "RED Team members would be 'super enablers,' observing situations on the ground and responding immediately by designing, funding, and implementing small-scale activities." ..."
"... Also raising the specter of a Venezuela link is the fact that the document suggests Brazil as a potential location for a RED Team pilot study. Several of those interviewed for the report asserted that "South American countries were ripe for pilots" of the RED Team program, adding that "These [countries were] under-reported, low-profile, idiot-proof locations, where USG civilian access is fairly unrestrained by DS [Diplomatic Security] and where there is a positive American relationship with the host government." ..."
"... This January, Brazil inaugurated Jair Bolsonaro as president, a fascist who has made his intention to align the country close to Washington's interests no secret. During Bolsonaro's recent visit to Washington, he became the first president of that country to visit CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. President Donald Trump said during his meeting with Bolsonaro that "We have a great alliance with Brazil -- better than we've ever had before" and spoke in favor of Brazil joining NATO. ..."
"... This is supported by the troubling correlation between a document produced by the NED-funded group CANVAS and the recent power outages that have taken place throughout Venezuela, which were described as U.S.-led "sabotage" by the country's government. A recent report by The Grayzone detailed how a September 2010 memo by CANVAS -- which trained Juan Guaidó -- described in detail how the potential collapse of the country's electrical infrastructure, like that recently seen in Venezuela, would be "a watershed event" that "would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate." ..."
"... The document specifically named the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant at Guri Dam, which failed earlier this month as a result of what the Venezuelan government asserted was "sabotage" conducted by the U.S. government. That claim was bolstered by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio's apparent foreknowledge of the power outage. Thus, there is a precedent of correlation between these types of documents and actions that occur in relation to the current U.S. regime-change effort in Venezuela. ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Guaido Set To Enact Uprising Rooted In US Regime-Change Operations Manual

by Tyler Durden Sat, 03/30/2019 - 21:30 184 SHARES Authored by Whitney Webb via MintPressNews.com,

With its hands tied when it comes to military intervention, only covert actions - such as those described in the RED Team document - are likely to be enacted by the U.S. government, at least at this stage of its ongoing "regime change" effort in Venezuela.

Juan Guaidó, the self-proclaimed "interim president of Venezuela" who is supported by the United States government, recently announced coming "tactical actions" that will be taken by his supporters starting April 6 as part of " Operation Freedom ," an alleged grassroots effort to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

That operation, according to Guaidó, will be led by "Freedom and Aid Committees" that in turn create "freedom cells" throughout the country -- "cells" that will spring to action when Guaidó gives the signal on April 6 and launch large-scale community protests. Guaidó's stated plan involves the Venezuelan military then taking his side, but his insistence that "all options are still on the table" (i.e., foreign military intervention) reveals his impatience with the military, which has continued to stay loyal to Maduro throughout Guaidó's "interim presidency."

However, a document released by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in February, and highlighted last month in a report by Devex, details the creation of networks of small teams, or cells, that would operate in a way very similar to what Guaidó describes in his plan for "Operation Freedom."

Given that Guaidó was trained by a group funded by USAID's sister organization, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) -- and is known to take his marching orders from Washington, including his self-proclamation as "interim president" and his return to Venezuela following the "humanitarian aid" showdown -- it is worth considering that this USAID document may well serve as a roadmap to the upcoming and Guaidó-led "tactical actions" that will comprise "Operation Freedom."

RED Teams

Titled "Rapid Expeditionary Development (RED) Teams: Demand and Feasibility Assessment," the 75-page document was produced for the U.S. Global Development Lab, a branch of USAID. It was written as part of an effort to the "widespread sentiment" among the many military, intelligence, and development officials the report's authors interviewed "that the USG [U.S. government] is woefully underperforming in non-permissive and denied environments," including Venezuela. Notably, some of the military, intelligence and development officials interviewed by the report's authors had experience working in a covert capacity in Venezuela.

The approach put forth in this report involves the creation of rapid expeditionary development (RED) teams, who would "be deployed as two-person teams and placed with 'non-traditional' USAID partners executing a mix of offensive, defensive, and stability operations in extremis conditions." The report notes later on that these "non-traditional" partners are U.S. Special Forces (SF) and the CIA.

The report goes on to state that "RED Team members would be catalytic actors, performing development activities alongside local communities while coordinating with interagency partners." It further states that "[i]t is envisioned that the priority competency of proposed RED Team development officers would be social movement theory (SMT)" and that "RED Team members would be 'super enablers,' observing situations on the ground and responding immediately by designing, funding, and implementing small-scale activities."

In other words, these teams of combined intelligence, military and/or "democracy promoting" personnel would work as "super enablers" of "small-scale activities" focused on "social movement theory" and community mobilizations, such as the mobilizations of protests.

The decentralized nature of RED teams and their focus on engineering "social movements" and "mobilizations" is very similar to Guaidó's plan for "Operation Freedom." Operation Freedom is set to begin through "Freedom and Aid committees" that cultivate decentralized "freedom cells" throughout the country and that create mass mobilizations when Guaidó gives the go ahead on April 6. The ultimate goal of Operation Freedom is to have those "freedom cell"-generated protests converge on Venezuela's presidential palace, where Nicolás Maduro resides. Given Guaidó lack of momentum and popularity within Venezuela, it seems highly likely that U.S. government "catalytic actors" may be a key part of his upcoming plan to topple Maduro in little over a week.

Furthermore, an appendix included in the report states that RED Team members, in addition to being trained in social movement theory and community mobilization techniques, would also be trained in "weapons handling and use," suggesting that their role as "catalytic actors" could also involve Maidan-esque behavior. This is a distinct possibility raised by the report's claim that RED Team members be trained in the use of both "offensive" and "defensive" weaponry.

In addition, another appendix states that RED Team members would help "identify allies and mobilize small amounts of cash to establish community buy-in/relationship" -- i.e., bribes -- and would particularly benefit the CIA by offering a way to "transition covert action into community engagement activities."

Feeling Bolsonaro's breath on its neck

Also raising the specter of a Venezuela link is the fact that the document suggests Brazil as a potential location for a RED Team pilot study. Several of those interviewed for the report asserted that "South American countries were ripe for pilots" of the RED Team program, adding that "These [countries were] under-reported, low-profile, idiot-proof locations, where USG civilian access is fairly unrestrained by DS [Diplomatic Security] and where there is a positive American relationship with the host government."

This January, Brazil inaugurated Jair Bolsonaro as president, a fascist who has made his intention to align the country close to Washington's interests no secret. During Bolsonaro's recent visit to Washington, he became the first president of that country to visit CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. President Donald Trump said during his meeting with Bolsonaro that "We have a great alliance with Brazil -- better than we've ever had before" and spoke in favor of Brazil joining NATO.

Though Bolsonaro's government has claimed late in February that it would not allow the U.S. to launch a military intervention from its territory, Bolsonaro's son, Eduardo Bolsonaro -- an adviser to his father and a Brazilian congressman -- said last week that "use of force will be necessary" in Venezuela "at some point" and, echoing the Trump administration, added that "all options are on the table." If Bolsonaro's government does allow the "use of force," but not a full-blown foreign military intervention per se, its closeness to the Trump administration and the CIA suggests that covert actions, such as those carried out by the proposed RED Teams, are a distinct possibility.

Frontier Design Group

The RED Team report was authored by members of Frontier Design Group (FDG) for USAID's Global Development Lab. FDG is a national security contractor and its mission statement on its website is quite revealing:

Since our founding, Frontier has focused on the challenges and opportunities that concern the "3Ds" of Defense, Development and Diplomacy and critical intersections with the intelligence community. Our work has focused on the wicked and sometimes overlapping problem sets of fragility, violent extremism, terrorism, civil war, and insurgency. Our work on these complex issues has included projects with the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, USAID, the National Counterterrorism Center and the U.S. Institute of Peace."

FDG also states on is website that it also regularly does work for the Council on Foreign Relations and the Omidyar Group -- which is controlled by Pierre Omidyar, a billionaire with deep ties to the U.S. national security establishment that were the subject of a recent MintPress series. According to journalist Tim Shorrock, who mentions the document in a recent investigation focusing on Pierre Omidyar for Washington Babylon , FDG was the "sole contractor" hired by USAID to create a "new counterinsurgency doctrine for the Trump administration" and the fruit of that effort is the "RED Team" document described above.

One of the co-authors of the document is Alexa Courtney , FDG founder and former USAID liaison officer with the Department of Defense; former manager of civilian counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan for USAID; and former counterinsurgency specialist for U.S. intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

In addition, according to Shorrock, Courtney's name has also been found "on several Caerus [Associates] contracts with USAID and US intelligence that were leaked to me on a thumb drive, including a $77 million USAID project to track 'licit and illicit networks' in Honduras." Courtney, according to her LinkedIn account, was also recently honored by Chevron Corporation for her "demonstrated leadership and impact on development results." MintPress recently reported on the role of Chevron in the current U.S.-led effort to topple Maduro and replace him with Guaidó.

Send in the USAID

Though Devex was told last month that USAID was "still working on the details in formulating the Rapid Expeditionary Development (RED) Teams initiative," Courtney stated that the report's contents had been "received really favorably" by "very senior" and "influential" former and current government officials she had interviewed during the creation of the document.

For instance, one respondent asserted that the RED Team system would "restore the long-lost doing capacity of USAID." Another USAID official with 15 years of experience, including in "extremely denied environments," stated that:

We have to be involved in national security or USAID will not be relevant. Anybody who doesn't think we need to be working in combat elements or working with SF [special forces] groups is just naïve. We are either going to be up front or irrelevant USAID is going through a lot right now, but this is an area where we can be of utility. It must happen."

Given that the document represents the efforts of the sole contractor tasked with developing the current administration's new counterterrorism strategy, there is plenty of reason to believe that its contents -- published for over a year -- have been or are set to be put to use in Venezuela, potentially as part of the upcoming "Operation Freedom," set to begin on April 6.

This is supported by the troubling correlation between a document produced by the NED-funded group CANVAS and the recent power outages that have taken place throughout Venezuela, which were described as U.S.-led "sabotage" by the country's government. A recent report by The Grayzone detailed how a September 2010 memo by CANVAS -- which trained Juan Guaidó -- described in detail how the potential collapse of the country's electrical infrastructure, like that recently seen in Venezuela, would be "a watershed event" that "would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate."

The document specifically named the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant at Guri Dam, which failed earlier this month as a result of what the Venezuelan government asserted was "sabotage" conducted by the U.S. government. That claim was bolstered by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio's apparent foreknowledge of the power outage. Thus, there is a precedent of correlation between these types of documents and actions that occur in relation to the current U.S. regime-change effort in Venezuela.

Furthermore, it would make sense for the Trump administration to attempt to enact such an initiative as that described in the document, given its apparent inability to launch a military intervention in Venezuela, despite its frequent claims that "all options are on the table." Indeed, U.S. allies -- including those close to Venezuela, like Colombia -- have rejected military intervention, given the U.S.' past role in bloody coups and civil wars throughout the region.

Thus, with its hands tied when it comes to military intervention, only covert actions -- such as those described in the RED Team document -- are likely to be enacted by the U.S. government, at least at this stage of its ongoing "regime change" effort in Venezuela.

[Mar 31, 2019] Putin To Trump Mind Your Own Business On Venezuela; Russian Troops Will Stay As Long As Needed

Notable quotes:
"... On Wednesday while meeting with the wife of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, President Trump called on Russia to pull its troops out of Venezuela, warning that "all options" were on the table to make that happen. ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Days after Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded that Russia " cease its unconstructive behavior " by landing a transport plane full of Russian troops in Caracas last Saturday, the Kremlin has responded - essentially telling Washington to pound sand - and that their troops will remain in Venezuela "for as long as needed " according to the Independent .

In the latest indication the crisis in Venezuela is taking on elements of a proxy battle between the former Cold War rivals, a spokeswoman for Russia's foreign ministry said the troops had been dispatched to fulfil "military contracts".

" They are involved in the implementation of agreements in the sphere of military and technical cooperation ," said Maria Zakharova, according to the AFP, adding that the troops would stay there " for as long as needed ".

" Russia is not changing the balance of power in the region, Russia is not threatening anyone ," she said. - Independent

Last week we also noted that new satellite images reveal a major deployment of S-300 air defense missile systems to a key air base south of Caracas shortly after Russia arrived.

On Wednesday while meeting with the wife of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, President Trump called on Russia to pull its troops out of Venezuela, warning that "all options" were on the table to make that happen.

[Mar 31, 2019] Without police presence, the Yankee puppet would in all likelihood end up lynched and hanging from lamppost.

Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Augustin L , Mar 30, 2019 8:37:24 PM | link

Juan Guaido getting a ''warm'' welcome from population in El Valle. Apparently, Venezuelan masses have had enough of comprador sellouts backed by European powers.

Without police presence, the Yankee puppet would in all likelihood end up lynched and hanging from lamppost.

Exceptionals are in for a rude awakening, if they attempt to overthrow Chavistas using direct kinetic operations.

Any invasion will be met with fierce resistance. No volveran to Pre-Chavez years. Orange dotard and his neo-confederates in the white house fancy themselves crushing ''subhuman'' resistance from shitholes and securing the hemisphere for wall street looters. The gambit will backfire, and could end up kickstarting hostilites that will span the Continent from Patagonia to Rio Grande. MAGA the gift that keeps on giving. #winning... https://www.facebook.com/venesolidarite/videos/814971605532561/

[Mar 31, 2019] Seems to me what that BigLie's of Us propaganda is this tale: Relations with Russia during the post-USSR age were going along swell until Russia began involved in the Venezuelan Crisis.

Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 30, 2019 7:15:26 PM | link

b--

Seems to me what that BigLie's about is this tale: Relations with Russia during the post-USSR age were going along swell until Russia began involved in the Venezuelan Crisis.

The attempt is to try a new narrative using a different angle to blame Russia which is the goal of the BigLie. Signal a new line of approach in dealing with the attitude toward Russia to the trusty echoers of His Master's Voice.

That's what it seems, b.

[Mar 31, 2019] Mafiocracy Eudaimonia and Co

Mar 31, 2019 | eand.co

"I don't know why you don't listen. You're making me hurt you. I'm doing it for your own good!  --  but it's your fault!"

Does that sound eerily familiar to you? When I look at America and Britain, I see the rise of what I'll simply call mafia politics. It sums up Trumpism and Brexit in a nutshell: abuse gone mega-scale, the search absolute power through the threat of violent aggression, legitimized as "democratic"  --  but bullying, threats, intimidation, harassment, and extortion are not democracy, my friends. What are they? Mafia-ocracy.

Democracy is degenerating into mafia-ocracy, and mafia-ocracy goes something like this.

What the? Do you see the bizarre contradictory logic? The pattern? I see it every single day now, in Anglo politics. You're quite right if it reminds you of abusive relationships  --  it is one, at a social scale. If the sudden proliferation of angry, bellowing men in ill-fitting suits, sneering and jeering with dull, brutish expressions, isn't evidence enough, first let me give you a few concrete examples.

Brexiters  --  the politicians  --  explicitly invoke this chain of logic. They warn of all kinds of things if their wish isn't carried through  --  everything from mass civil unrest to riots to all out war. Riots? War? Really? Brexiters  --  the individuals  --  explicitly say: "I'll never vote again!", as if to reinforce the threat, that they'll resort to cruder means of carrying out their wishes. Or maybe you read, as I read, recently, that chants of "AOC sucks!" broke out at a recent rally  --  adding to the usual "Lock her up!" Do I really need to explain how those exemplify the logic above?

The logic above, my friends, has no place in a democracy. You see, a democracy is not a place for any of the above. When the line is crossed, we're not really practicing democracy anymore. What are we practicing?

Mafia-ocracy.

All the above is the logic every mafia from the beginning of time has used to extort, shake down, bully, harass, and destabilize. "Sure be a shame if something happened to that nice democracy you got there. Who knows what might end up happening? It'd be your fault, though."

Do you see what's happening here? Here's what that logic isn't. Policy. Vision. Ideas. An agenda. A plan to deal with real problems. Laws to expand freedom, justice, and equality. The line above  --  the essence of mafia-ocracy  --  is outside the bounds of democracy.

Democracies were centered around "parliaments" for a very good reason. "Parliament" literally means "talking it out." But we are not talking our issues out if you are threatening me. If you are trying to intimidate me. If you are victim blaming me for the implied violence you will do me.

We are "talking it out" in democracies when we discuss issues of substance. Issues of, as Americans say, "policy." What is "policy"? Have you ever thought about it? "Policy" is just something like: 'laws we hope to make to solve very real problems in our society." Policy is not: "ways I will intimidate and punish you for failing to obey me." If that is what policy is, we are not in a democracy anymore, my friends.

Where are we? We are in a twilight zone between authoritarianism, fascism, and false democracy, democracy used as a weapon. That is why I call it mafia-ocracy. It is the institutions of democracy used for anti-democratic purposes, to destroy and shatter democracy.

You can use a "parliament", a place to "talk it out", to issue threats and intimate and bully. Just as you can use a local street to intimidate and extort shop-owners. But just as that mafias stalking shop owners is not legitimate commerce, but only harassment, so too, threats and intimidation in parliaments or other democratic fora (like town halls or rallies and so on) are not democracy. Do you see the parallel I am drawing?

Mafia-ocracy uses the institutions of democracy as weapons. Its intent is to destroy the very essentials of true democracy. There are three. Freedom, equality, and justice. But when the Brexiter or Trumpist says, "Hey, there might be riots, upheaval, a civil war  --  and it's your fault. Why don't you just give in?", those three things are being undermined.

There is less equality, every time that one group in society uses threats and intimidation to overpower others. There is less freedom, every time one group in society threatens another with violence or harm to get their way. And there is less justice when these things happen, of course, too  --  in enduring ways.

In that way, mafia-ocracy is a strange thing, a new thing. It isn't quite classical authoritarianism or fascism  --  it's democracy weaponized. It's using the basic institutions of democracy, Congresses, the idea of "parliament", town halls, courts, and so forth, to tear democracies apart, as weapons for one group to overpower all the others, with threats, intimidation, bullying, and harassment.

Hence, it's supporters can call it "democracy"  --  and usually do. Nobody has taught them that a democracy has red lines  --  within them lie issues of substance, policy, and outside them lie the threat, the wish to harm, the intimidation, the intent to do real injury. Nobody seems to have taught the true believers of mafia-ocracy that trying to extort and shake down their neighbors and colleagues isn't democracy  --  but it's undoing.

And why would anyone be surprised by that? The forces that rule our world  --  capitalism, neoliberalism, supremacy  --  all these say: the strong survive, and the weak perish, and that's fair, right, and just. Everyone for themselves. You're predator or prey, burden or "self-reliant" indvidual", somebody  --  or nobody. It's not a surprise, given this binary logic that much of the world is turning to Mafia-ocracy. They're only really doing what capitalism, neoliberalism, and supremacy have taught them is perfectly acceptable, legitimate, even morally right: the shakedown, the threat, bullying, extorting.

Hence, the striking parallels of Brexit and Trumpism. Both are movements where the idea that we should bully, intimidate, threaten, and shake down our neighbours  --  both inside and outside our societies  --  is the right, best, necessary, and only thing to do. If we cannot do it  --  we might be the weak ones, and they might be the strong ones. We might be the prey, and they might be the predators.

Hence, democracy used as a weapon, as a hammer  --  one that destroys freedom, justice, and equality, not to mention trust, decency, and humanity, in the aggressive search for the power to abuse, demean, dehumanize, and devalue.

Because, my friends, when we threaten, intimidate, and vilify, that is what we are really doing: we are saying that you are not really as human as I am. Therefore, I deserve to have more power than you. That is the only logic whereby one can conclude: "you made me do it! It's your fault I hurt you!"

"It's your fault I hurt you!" Is also, of course, the logic of the abuser. Abusers believe they are more than perfectly justified  --  it's something like their moral duty to abuse their victims. "It's your fault I hurt you!" also means "you're better off being being hurt!" This rule out the possibility of a genuine relationship of equals, seeking greaterfreedom, granting each other justice  --  which is what democracy really is. Just as a democratic relationship is not an abusive one, so too an abusive society is not a democratic one  --  no matter how much the abusers cry that it is.

Again, it's not a surprise that the dynamics of abuse have gone mega-scale, have come to conquer even our political systems, have corroded our democracies. That's because, again, capitalism, neoliberalism, and supremacy all justify abuse  --  treat it as a duty. Not paying your workers as little as possible? Letting them have bathroom breaks? You're violating your duty to shareholders! Abuse is hardwired into capitalism because the division into people who "own" things and people who don't of course creates power imbalances that cannot yield freedom, equality, or justice, only abuse. It's not a surprise, then, that the abused have become abusive. It is all they have ever known  --  the quest for the power to abuse, when they were not being abused themselves. Can anyone teach there is a different world?

Mafia-ocracy is democracy being used as a weapon, abusive relationships going mega-scale, threats, intimidation, extortion, regarded as legitimate forms of democratic discourse, "It's your fault I hurt you! You made me do it!!" What it isn't is democracy.

Democracy is a lever, not a hammer. When democracy is used as a hammer, it is not democracy at all. The lever lifts. Democracy is greater freedom, justice, equality, by "talking it out", parlez, parley. If we are at the point that me telling you: "You are going to make me hurt you, for your own good, and it will be all your fault!", then, my friends, we are not upholding the great tradition and enacting the sacred and noble idea of democracy. We are becoming little versions of the mafias who have abused us all our lives long  --  even if we have been taught to call them "elites."

Umair
March 2019

[Mar 30, 2019] The US desperately needs Venezuelan oil

Highly recommended!
Mar 30, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

dh-mtl , Mar 30, 2019 5:00:04 PM | link

The U.S. desperately needs Venezuelan oil.

They lost control of Saudi Arabia, after trying to take down MBS and then betraying him by unexpectedly allowing waivers on Iranian oil in November.

The U.S. cannot take down Iran without Venezuelan oil. What is worse, right now they don't have access to enough heavy oil to meet their own needs.

Controlling the world oil trade is central to Trump's strategy for the U.S. to continue its empire. Without Venezuelan oil, the U.S. is a bit player in the energy markets, and will remain so.

Having Russia block the U.S. in Venezuela adds insult to injury. After Crimea and Syria, now Venezuela, Russia exposes the U.S. as a loud mouthed-bully without the capacity to back up its threats, a 'toothless tiger', an 'emperor without clothes'.

If the U.S. cannot dislodge Russia from Venezuela, its days as 'global hegemon' are finished. For this reason the U.S. will continue escalating the situation with ever-riskier actions, until it succeeds or breaks.

In the same manor, if Russia backs off, its resistance to the U.S. is finished. And the U.S. will eventually move to destroy Russia, like it has been actively trying to do for the past 30 years. Russia cannot and will not back off.

Venezuela thus becomes the stage where the final act in the clash of empires plays out. Will the world become a multi-polar world, in which the U.S. becomes a relatively isolated and insignificant pole? Or will the world become more fully dominated by a brutal, erratic hegemon?

All options are on the table. For both sides!

[Mar 29, 2019] Stay Out Of Western Hemisphere! Bolton Warns Russia Over Troops In Venezuela

Mar 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Stay Out Of Western Hemisphere! Bolton Warns Russia Over Troops In Venezuela

by Tyler Durden Fri, 03/29/2019 - 18:25 162 SHARES

The White House has dramatically stepped up its rhetoric threatening action against Russia's military presence in Venezuela after the Kremlin deployed a troop contingency to Caracas last Saturday.

Trump's national security adviser John Bolton took tensions to a new level, on Friday issuing a new Monroe doctrine of sorts, telling Moscow any attempt to establish or expand military operations in the western hemisphere constitutes a "provocative" and "direct threat" to international peace and security in the region. "We strongly caution actors external to the Western Hemisphere against deploying military assets to Venezuela, or elsewhere in the Hemisphere, with the intent of establishing or expanding military operations," Bolton said in a statement .

"We will consider such provocative actions as a direct threat to international peace and security in the region," he added. This follows the president's own warning on Wednesday that "all options" are on the table regarding potential expanding Russian presence in Venezuela.

Two Russian aircraft carrying about 100 servicemen and 35 tons of cargo arrived in Caracas last Saturday, led by Russian General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, identified as chief of the Main Staff of the Ground Forces and First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Russia.

This prompted Trump's Wednesday warning to Russia against involvement in the Latin American nation; he told reporters in the Oval Office that :

" Russia has to get out."

Kremlin officials responded by explaining that it deployed military specialists merely to service preexisting arms contracts with Venezuela, and that Russia is not interfering in the Latin American country's internal affairs.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing on Thursday when asked how long the Russian troop contingency led by a high ranking general will stay:

"How long? As long as they need to, and as long as the Venezuelan government needs them. It all is being done based on bilateral agreements."

Russia's position is that it is not interfering in Venezuela's internal affairs by merely cooperating on legal and existing service contracts, and that no other country should do so either. It said that only "specialists" had entered Venezuela under a pre-existing agreed upon military cooperation deal .

However, the White House isn't buying it, as Bolton's Friday statement further condemned Maduro's "use of foreign military personnel in his attempt to remain in power, including the introduction of Russian military personnel and equipment into Venezuela."

"Maduro will only use this military support to further repress the people of Venezuela; perpetuate the economic crisis that has destroyed Venezuela's economy; and endanger regional stability," Bolton said .

All of this also comes as the Maduro government stripped US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido of his position in the National Assembly, further barring him from holding public office for 15 years .

[Mar 29, 2019] Escobar Empire Of Chaos In Hybrid War Overdrive

Notable quotes:
"... When we mix this with the recent India-Pakistan scuffle, a wider message emerges. There was absolutely no interest by Prime Minister Imran Kahn, the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani intelligence, ISI, to launch an attack on India in Kashmir. Pakistan was about to run out of money and about to be bolstered by the U.S., via Saudi Arabia with $20 billion and an IMF loan. ..."
"... At the same time, there were two almost simultaneous terrorist attacks launched from Pakistan – against Iran and against India in mid-February. There's no smoking gun yet, but these attacks may have been manipulated by a foreign intelligence agency. ..."
"... Lavrov explained how Washington was engaged in acquiring mortars and portable air defense systems "in an East European country, and mov(ing) them closer to Venezuela by an airline of a regime that is rather absolutely obedient to Washington in the post-Soviet space." ..."
"... That leaves Plan D – which is essentially to try to starve the Venezuelan population to death via viciously lethal additional sanctions. Sanctioned Syria and sanctioned Iran didn't collapse. Even boasting myriad comprador elites aggregated in the Lima group, exceptionalists may have to come to grips with the fact that deploying the Monroe doctrine essentially to contain China's influence in the young 21stcentury is no "cakewalk." ..."
Mar 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

A hefty case can be made that the Empire of Chaos currently has no allies; it's essentially surrounded by an assortment of vassals, puppets and comprador 5thcolumnist elites professing varied degrees of – sometimes reluctant – obedience.

The Trump administration's foreign policy may be easily deconstructed as a crossover between The Sopranos and late-night comedy – as in the whole episode of designating State Department/CIA regime change, lab experiment Random Dude as President of Venezuela. Legendary cultural critic Walter Benjamin would have called it "the aestheticization of politics," (turning politics into art), as he did about the Nazis, but this time it's the Looney Tunes version.

To add to the conceptual confusion, despite countless "an offer you can't refuse" antics unleashed by psychopaths of the John Bolton and Mike Pompeo variety, there's this startling nugget . Former Iranian diplomat Amir Moussavi has revealed that Trump himself demanded to visit Tehran, and was duly rebuffed. "Two European states, two Arab countries and one Southeast Asian state" were mediating a series of messages relayed by Trump and his son-in-law Jared "of Arabia" Kushner, according to Moussavi.

Is there a method to this madness? An attempt at a Grand Narrative would go something like this: ISIS/Daesh may have been sidelined – for now; they are not useful anymore, so the U.S. must fight the larger "evil": Tehran. GWOT has been revived, and though Hamza bin Laden has been designated the new Caliph, GWOT has shifted to Iran.

When we mix this with the recent India-Pakistan scuffle, a wider message emerges. There was absolutely no interest by Prime Minister Imran Kahn, the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani intelligence, ISI, to launch an attack on India in Kashmir. Pakistan was about to run out of money and about to be bolstered by the U.S., via Saudi Arabia with $20 billion and an IMF loan.

At the same time, there were two almost simultaneous terrorist attacks launched from Pakistan – against Iran and against India in mid-February. There's no smoking gun yet, but these attacks may have been manipulated by a foreign intelligence agency. The Cui Bono riddle is which state would profit immensely from a war between Pakistan and Iran and/or a war between Pakistan and India.

The bottom line: hiding in the shadow of plausible deniability – according to which what we understand as reality is nothing but pure perception – the Empire of Chaos will resort to the chaos of no-holds-barred Hybrid War to avoid "losing" the Eurasian heartland.

Show Me How Many Hybrid Plans You Got

What applies to the heartland of course also applies to the backyard.

The case of Venezuela shows that the "all options on the table" scenario has been de facto aborted by Russia, outlined in an astonishing briefing by Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, and then subsequently detailed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj at a crucial RIC (part of BRICS) summit in China, Lavrov said, "Russia keeps a close eye on brazen US attempts to create an artificial pretext for a military intervention in Venezuela The actual implementation of these threats is pulling in military equipment and training [US] Special Forces."

Lavrov explained how Washington was engaged in acquiring mortars and portable air defense systems "in an East European country, and mov(ing) them closer to Venezuela by an airline of a regime that is rather absolutely obedient to Washington in the post-Soviet space."

The U.S. attempt at regime change in Venezuela has been so far unsuccessful in several ways.

That plan had already been exposed by WikiLeaks, via a 2010 memo by a U.S.-funded, Belgrade-based color revolution scam that helped train self-proclaimed "President" Random Dude, when he was just known asJuan Guaidó. The leaked memo said that attacking the Venezuelan power grid would be a "watershed event" that "would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate."

But even that was not enough.

That leaves Plan D – which is essentially to try to starve the Venezuelan population to death via viciously lethal additional sanctions. Sanctioned Syria and sanctioned Iran didn't collapse. Even boasting myriad comprador elites aggregated in the Lima group, exceptionalists may have to come to grips with the fact that deploying the Monroe doctrine essentially to contain China's influence in the young 21stcentury is no "cakewalk."

Plan E -- for extreme -- would be U.S. military action, which Bolton won't take off the table.

Show Me the Way to the Next War Game

So where do all these myriad weaponizations of chaos theory leave us? Nowhere, if they don't follow the money. Local comprador elites must be lavishly rewarded, otherwise you're stuck in hybrid swamp territory. That was the case in Brazil – and that's why the most sophisticated hybrid war case history so far has been a success.

In 2013, Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks revealed how the NSA was spying on Brazilian energy giant Petrobras and the Dilma Rousseff government beginning in 2010. Afterwards, a complex, rolling judicial-business-political-financial-media coup ended up reaching its two main objectives; in 2016, with the impeachment of Rousseff, and in 2018, with Lula thrown in jail.

Now comes arguably the juiciest piece of the puzzle. Petrobras was supposed to pay $853 million to the U.S. Department of Justice for not going to trial for crimes it was being accused of in America. But then a dodgy deal was struck according to which the fine will be transferred to a Brazilian fund as long as Petrobras commits to relay confidential information about its businesses to the United States government.

Mattis: Wrote on hybrid war in 2005.

Hybrid war against BRICS member Brazil worked like a charm, but trying it against nuclear superpower Russia is a completely different ball game. U.S. analysts, in another case of culture jamming, even accuse Russia itself of deploying hybrid war – a concept actually invented in the U.S. within a counter-terrorism context; applied during the occupation of Iraq and later metastasized across the color revolution spectrum; and featuring, among others, in an article co-authored by former Pentagon head James "Mad Dog" Mattis in 2005 when he was a mere lieutenant general.

At a recent conference about Russia's military strategy, Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov stressed that the Russian armed forces must increase both their "classic" and "asymmetrical" potential. In the U.S. this is interpreted as subversion/propaganda hybrid war techniques as applied in Ukraine and in the largely debunked Russia-gate. Instead, Russian strategists refer to these techniques as "complex approach" and "new generation war".

Santa Monica's RAND Corporation still sticks to good ol' hot war scenarios. They have been holding "Red on Blue" war games simulations since 1952 – modeling how the proverbial "existential threats" could use asymmetric strategies. The latest Red on Blue was not exactly swell. RAND analyst David Ochmanek famously said that with Blue representing the current U.S. military potential and Red representing Russia-China in a conventional war, "Blue gets its ass handed to it."

None of this will convince Empire of Chaos functionary Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who recently told a Senate Armed Services Committee that the Pentagon will continue to refuse a "no first use" nuclear strategy. Aspiring Dr. Strangeloves actually believe the U.S. can start a nuclear war and get away with it.

Talk about the Age of Hybrid Stupidity going out with a bang.

[Mar 24, 2019] One of warnings delivered by Ryabkov is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

Mar 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

JohninMK , Mar 24, 2019 2:09:42 PM | link

Suddenly everything has changed in Venezuela.

Following the 'red lines' meeting between Ryabkov and Elliot Abrams in Rome a couple of days ago, after which Ryabkov said bluntly:

"We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings."

One of those warnings delivered by Ryabkov is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

For his part, Abrams sounded as if he had emerged from the meeting after having been given a severe reprimand.

"No, we did not come to a meeting of minds, but I think the talks were positive in the sense that both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other's views," he told reporters.

"A better understanding of the other's views," means that the American side was given a red line to back off.

So, the Russian Army advanced party has arrived today, 99 in an Il-62 and goodness knows what in an An-124 on a direct flight from Syria.

And now, according to journalist Javier I. Mayorca, Colonel General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of the Main Staff of the Ground Forces - First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Russia, arrived in Venezuela.

So we have one of the most significant Russian Generals now in Venezuela with his staff and protection teams with their equipment coming out the back of the Antonov and I think we can be certain that there is no beachware included.

This is looking more like the start up of Russian ops in Syria. This is the 'what do you need, how can we help' team.

This could be Venezuela transforming from a hedgehog into a porcupine.

karlof1 , Mar 24, 2019 5:01:42 PM | link

JohninMK @1--

I bet the An-124 was filled with captured NATO arms, particularly TOWs, of which there're many warehouses in Syria packed to the rafters--$billions$ in armaments at no charge! In contrast with France, every Saturday there's a massive Solidarity March in Caracas and other Venezuelan cities in support of Maduro, the government and the Bolivarian Constitution. One of the most important differences between Venezuela and other South-of-the-border regime changes is that an entire generation has grown up under Chavezismo, the Bolivarian Constitution, and the great social changes--literacy and education for the masses being #1--that have occurred over the past 20+ years. Those coming of age now will be even more Anti-USA and Anti-OAS than ever before. This chart shows almost 50% of the current population's coming of age During the Bolivarian/Chavista Age proves that point.

As with Iran and Cuba, the Bolivarian Revolution's ingrained into the government's structure, and perpetuated by society and culture. The penchant for the Outlaw US Empire to task its vassals with killing off the entire Leftist political spectrum leaving only reactionaries and their kin has always been genocidal in scope, and in Venezuela's case would amount to @22 million requiring purging. And let's not kid ourselves--A world filled with docile reactionaries is exactly the sort of prole-based planet the Outlaw US Empire craves.

[Mar 20, 2019] Venezuela - Journalists Doubt Guaid 's Legitimacy - Regime Change Plans Continue

Guado looks more and more like Russian Navalny -- another color revolution Trojan Horse.
Notable quotes:
"... Half a BILLION dollars to be spent to overthrow Maduro, and they spent how much time making claims like Putin hacked the election.... Lies, More lies, Damn lies..... Same as it ever was. ..."
"... "The first round of the U.S. 'regime change' change attempt in Venezuela failed but it is far from over. The State Department alone foresees to spend $500 million more on it: ..."
"... The Fiscal Year 2020 budget request includes funding to support democracy in Venezuela and provides the flexibility to make more funds available to support a democratic transition, including up to $500 million in transfer authority." ..."
"... Given the results of the last 70 years of US policies I would say that quote should now be updated to "Trillions for war, but not one cent for the people." ..."
Mar 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

On February 23 the U.S. created a 'humanitarian aid' stunt at the border between Colombia and Venezuela. The stunt ended in a riot during which the supporters of the self declared 'president' Guaidó burned the trucks that where supposed to transport the 'aid'. Even the New York Times had to admit that.

The riots also marked the day that Guaidó lost the legal argument he had used to make himself 'interim president'.

Guaido also lost his original legal position. He claimed the presidency on January 23 under this paragraph of article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution :
When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days . Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.
That the "elected President becomes permanently unavailable" was never the case to begin with. But if article 233 would apply Guaido would have had 30 days to hold new elections. The 30 days are over and Guaido did not even call for elections to be held. He thereby defied the exact same paragraph of the constitution that his (false) claim to the presidency is based on.

The hapless coup plotters in Washington DC were finally put on notice that the issue creates a legal problem for them. During a March 15 press briefing Elliott Abrams, the U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, was asked about the issue:

QUESTION: [C]ould you explain to us the article under which Mr. Guaido declared himself president? It is said that it has expired last month. Could you explain that to us? What is the --
MR ABRAMS: As to the Venezuelan constitution, the National Assembly has passed a resolution that states that that 30-day period of interim presidency will not start ending or counting until the day Nicolas Maduro leaves power. So the 30 days doesn't start now, it starts after Maduro. And they – that's a resolution of the National Assembly.

A resolution of the National Assembly, which the Supreme Court of Venezuela holds in contempt over the seating illegally elected persons, can change the country's constitution? That does not sound convincing to me. The journalists in the briefing were equally curious of how the rules could be changed like that during the ongoing game:

Cont. reading: Venezuela - Journalists Doubt Guaidó's Legitimacy - Regime Change Plans Continue


Kadath , Mar 19, 2019 2:37:16 PM | link

Posted by b at 02:18 PM | Comments (84)

During Bosonaro's visit to the US Trump also announced his support for Brazil's entrance into the NATO alliance, if I was Germany I'd veto that idea outright, the last thing NATO needs is a basket case like Brazil.

But I imagine the Pentagon is already counting all the additional arms they can sell to Brazil as a member of NATO without having to go through all the additional hoops they would while it's just an ally of NATO

Never Mind the Bollocks , Mar 19, 2019 2:39:09 PM | link

The underground war between Venezuela and the US big oil cartel confirmed through WikiLeaks
Kadath , Mar 19, 2019 2:43:29 PM | link
Random Guy also appointed an ambassador, Carlos Vecchio, to the US who just took over the Venezuela's diplomatic buildings (empty since Venezuela broke off relations with the US over the attempted coup), including the consular building in New York.

So far it doesn't look like the US has succeed in replacing Venezuela's representative to the UN with a US stooge, but I imagine the US is working hard on that front as well.

The US looks just ridiculous doing a stunt this, but B is right, the US always doubles down, especially on a losing plan.

Masher1 , Mar 19, 2019 2:43:40 PM | link
Half a BILLION dollars to be spent to overthrow Maduro, and they spent how much time making claims like Putin hacked the election.... Lies, More lies, Damn lies..... Same as it ever was.
james , Mar 19, 2019 3:08:40 PM | link
thanks b... some crazy talk in that daily press briefing with abrams...

"Q: So Juan Guaido is the interim president of an interim that doesn't exist yet?

A: The 30-day end to his interim presidency starts counting. Because he's not in power, that's the problem. Maduro is still there. So they have decided that they will count that from when he actually is in power and Maduro's gone. I think it's logical.

Q: So then he really isn't interim president, then?

A: He is interim president, but he's not --

Q: With no power."

that sounds about par fe the course for the usa... as kadath says - they always double down on losing plans!

i am a bit mystified as to the plan of maduros to get the cabinet to resign.. what is the concept there? does he have a number of members that could be persuaded by the logic of abrams? with a little bribery money, no doubt..

i wonder how brazilians are looking at the stooge they have in power now, sucking up to the usa-cia..

worldblee , Mar 19, 2019 3:20:54 PM | link
Random Guiado, the President who wasn't There. The longer this goes on, the stronger the Bay of Pigs smell grows.
Cesare , Mar 19, 2019 3:31:54 PM | link
The optics of groveling to the US and Israel, and military opposition, are not good for our friend Jair. It's only a matter of time until Bolsonaro starts hemorrhaging support and Brazilian nationalism abandons him.
vk , Mar 19, 2019 3:33:55 PM | link
- If Maduro is in power, then the office is not vacant. Therefore, Guaidó cannot be interim president.
- If the office is vacant, then there is no president. Therefore, Guaidó either is or isn't the interim president (i.e. he can't be the interim president of the interim president, which in this case is nobody).

If you want to suspend the Constitution, declare a civil war. If you win the civil war, then you can do whatever you please (including obeying and/or reinterpreting the old Constitution). In the strict legal sense, Guaidó's position is untenable. Even the counting of days was wrong: January has 31 days, not 30, therefore his alleged 30-day mandate was over at the 21st of February, not at the 23rd.

Kadath , Mar 19, 2019 3:43:58 PM | link
Re:#6 James, normally when you request that your own cabinet resigns it means that you've either lost faith in their ability to perform their jobs - OR - your making a drastic change in direction for your government and you need people with a different skill set to run the various government departments. I imagine Maduros's decision is a mixture of needing to create a "war government" to fight the economic war the US is waging against him and ensuring the loyalty of powerful political rivals by giving them cabinet posts. Maduro will probably announce some major new policies in the coming weeks aimed at 1) resisting US economic pressure 2) increase Maduro's support among the population (maybe some policies aimed at the urban middle class to split them off from Random Guy) and 3) announce some foreign relationship drive to hopefully block more countries from supporting random guy's pseudo-government and hopefully win some countries back. economic advisors from Russia, Cuba, China and maybe Iran & Syria will be providing vital support for any economic policies aimed at avoid US sanctions
ken , Mar 19, 2019 3:59:29 PM | link
[The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil supported that but the military of Brazil, which holds significant power in the cabinet, vetoed it]

Too bad the federal military in the exceptional and indispensable democracy doesn't have the same common sense option.

lgfocus , Mar 19, 2019 4:03:51 PM | link
"The first round of the U.S. 'regime change' change attempt in Venezuela failed but it is far from over. The State Department alone foresees to spend $500 million more on it:

The Fiscal Year 2020 budget request includes funding to support democracy in Venezuela and provides the flexibility to make more funds available to support a democratic transition, including up to $500 million in transfer authority."

Tell me again how much it will cost to bring clean water to Flint, MI and our other cities with water problems. You know, the things we don't have money for.

psychohistorian , Mar 19, 2019 4:13:47 PM | link
@ lgfocus who asked
"
Tell me again how much it will cost to bring clean water to Flint, MI and our other cities with water problems. You know, the things we don't have money for.
"

Keep asking those questions and maybe Americans will grow the sentiments necessary to stand up.

Where are the Bernie crowd that are going to make so much difference in the coming (s)election?

so much fail , Mar 19, 2019 4:15:01 PM | link
Even the counting of days was wrong: January has 31 days, not 30, therefore his alleged 30-day mandate was over at the 21st of February, not at the 23rd.

Posted by: vk | Mar 19, 2019 3:33:55 PM | 10

They made their general ops to produce public results specifically at 23 of this month or for several more months. They obviously wanted to make a point like they were doing at least since 2016 for almost each consequtive month, only for that period favorable date number was 11. Check events for every 11th of each month since 2016 and check what dominated US and EU news.

Yet in current Venezuela events there seem to be so much FAIL regarding the US clandestine strategies.

karlof1 , Mar 19, 2019 4:20:40 PM | link
There's also rising domestic pushback within the Outlaw US Empire while the hypocrisy of Russiagate rises like a massive iceberg on the horizon. This also puts additional pressure on Vassal EU governments whose publics see through the Empire's lies and thus further delegitimizes their national governments.

French Yellow Vests will not surrender until Macron and his backing Establishment does, and they're motivating other nation's citizens.

Will Poroshenko get reelected in 12 days or ?

IMO, both Trump and Bolsonaro will be ousted before Maduro. It appears the Truth Brigades outnumber the liebots thanks to b and a host of other genuine journalists.

Guy Thornton , Mar 19, 2019 4:22:12 PM | link
Merkel might say:

"There is definitely a place for Brazil in NATO. They can have ours."

testing , Mar 19, 2019 4:22:21 PM | link
psychohistorian so Bernie is a jewish guy that current Israeli gov would very much hate to see becoming a US president in 2020?
Peter VE , Mar 19, 2019 4:22:48 PM | link
Did anyone else wonder at the sudden pair of refinery fires in Houston?
james , Mar 19, 2019 4:22:50 PM | link
@11 kadath.. thanks for the response to my question.. we will have to wait and see how this unfolds.. it reminds me a bit of the ukraine 2014 scenario, but different too... in ukraines case, they already had a split dynamic in the country itself.. here, i don't see it.. the split seems to be along economics - who are the upper class, with some middle class in tow, verses everyone else..
Kadath , Mar 19, 2019 4:26:41 PM | link
@13 lgfocus - that sounds suspiciously like something a COMMUNIST would say!!!!!!! During the 1797 XYZ scandal C.C. Pinckney reportedly said "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." which has been quoted by the Military Industrial Complex ad nauseam for the last 70 years to justify massive military budgets to fight the forever wars.

Given the results of the last 70 years of US policies I would say that quote should now be updated to "Trillions for war, but not one cent for the people."

JOHN CHUCKMAN , Mar 19, 2019 5:02:07 PM | link
"Journalists Doubt Guaidó's Legitimacy - Regime Change Plans Continue"

Doubt?

What does it take?

Swore himself in. Likly over the sink as he shaved.

Didn't even run for the office in election.

From polling, virtually unknown to most of the country.

Someone else ran, and he won big.

Jen , Mar 19, 2019 5:14:19 PM | link
So if Elliott Abrams is correct, the Venezuelan National Assembly (a now illegitimate entity by the way) has passed a resolution that Juan Guaido's "interim presidency" only begins AFTER Nicolas Maduro leaves the presidency? Is that not admitting that Maduro is the legitimate president?

That Jair Bolsonaro is visiting the CIA to discuss overthrowing Maduro may alarm quite a few people even among the top tiers of the Brazilian military who otherwise support him. What's to stop Bolsonaro from discussing with the CIA how to get rid of more than a few top Brazilian generals who disagree with overthrowing the government of a neighbouring country?

Kadath , Mar 19, 2019 5:34:17 PM | link
Re#26 Jen

Now let's all imagine what would happen if Brazil was accepted into NATO like Trump & the MIC wants and the Brazilian Generals decided to continue their time-honoured tradition of toppling the current Brazilian President. NATO has no means of ejecting or even suspending a member so any such crisis in Brazilian leadership would immediately trigger a crisis within NATO itself on how to respond and accepting a coup government into NATO would kill the illusion that NATO is some sort of league of Democracies that Bolton hopes to promote as a replacement to the UN assembly.

Miranda , Mar 19, 2019 5:34:45 PM | link
Well, Bolsonaro's complete and absolute submission to Donald Trump and the US is probably surprising even the most optmistic hawks in the White House. The golden shower president will probably accept anything the US tries to push to Brazil.
Jackrabbit , Mar 19, 2019 6:11:57 PM | link
Taking this to the logical conclusion: All Venezuelan assets that were given to Guaidó were stolen.
mourning dove , Mar 19, 2019 6:13:43 PM | link
It strikes me that the futility of trying to stir up a revolution with an elite constituency seems completely lost on the coup planners. The Venezuelan elite might want the government overthrown but there is no way that they'll put their own blood on the line for it. It's really puzzling trying to understand how they see this playing out. And what will their elite supporters think if US sanctions mean they can't use their Visa or MasterCard? And the businesses that cater to the elite?
Jackrabbit , Mar 19, 2019 6:18:49 PM | link
Kadath @1: Brazil and NATO

The plan is probably for Brazil to become a NATO partner like Columbia .

A 'partner' has a lesser status than a 'member'.

Cortes , Mar 19, 2019 6:46:47 PM | link
The Brazil to NATO call sounds awfully like a forecast of significant cross-border provocations by Brazil which, if responded to by the Venezuelans, could trigger the old Article 5 musketeers to intervene militarily. Just as ludicrous (and dangerous) as the UK 's FCE attempt to confer diplomatic status on the BBC Farsi woman jailed in Iran. Student union politics.
Yeah, Right , Mar 19, 2019 7:00:12 PM | link
Abrams is attempting to claim that Random Guy is "interim President-in-waiting".

Q: What is that Interim President-in-waiting actually waiting for?
A: He's waiting for the position of President to become vacant.

THAT is the fatal flaw in all of Abrams legal mumbo-jumbo i.e. the articles of the Venezuelan Constitution that Random Guy invoked to claim the title of Interim President are only applicable when the office of President (and also Vice President) are VACANT.

Then and only then can the leader of the National Assembly take on the role of "interim President" until elections take place 30 days later.

Abrams is admitting that the office of President isn't vacant.

This is an important legal point, so it bears repeating: Abrams accepts that someone holds that position, albeit he is insisting that the current office-holder's claim to that chair is illegitimate (in Constitutional terms, Maduro is "unfit" to be President).

Again, that exposes Abrams argument as legal mumbo-jumbo, precisely because the leader of the National Assembly does not possess the authority to declare that a sitting President is "unfit" for the office. The Venezuelan Constitution is quite clear on that point: that authority rests with the supreme court, who are perfectly satisfied with Madura's fitness to be President.

Abrams argument is therefore fraught with danger for Random Guy.

The Constitution clearly states that he can not claim the "interim Presidency" unless the position is already vacant, which it clearly is not.

The Constitution also clearly states that he does not have the authority to declare the position to be vacant.

Yet Guaido has done both, and done so at the acknowledged urging of a foreign power.

At the very least that amounts to insurrection, if not treason.

Sunny Runny Burger , Mar 19, 2019 7:11:11 PM | link
1. Counterpunch
I want to add extra focus on the excellent interview b linked to over at Counterpunch which was also posted over at Zerohedge.
CG: There's not the chaos US and Trump were expecting. (Opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Juan) Guaidó is the most hated guy in Venezuela. He has to stay in luxury hotel in La Mercedes, an expensive neighbourhood of Caracas. They have electricity there, as they were prepared, so bought generators. That is why Guaidó went there, and has a whole floor of a luxury hotel for him and his family. While people are suffering Guaidó is trying on suits for his upcoming trip to Europe. It is a parallel world.

AG: You think Guaidó will fail?

CG: Venezuelans are making so many jokes with his name, as there's a word similar to stupid in Spanish – guevon. And look at the demonstration in La Mercedes the other day (12 March), the crowds didn't manifest. It is becoming a joke in the country. The more the Europeans and the US make him a president, the more bizarre the situation becomes, as Guaidó is not president of Venezuela! Interestingly, Chavez predicted what is happening today, he wrote about it, so people are going back to his works and reading him again.

Links to both the original and the copy for convenience:
Counterpunch original
ZH copy


2. Military Times
It could well have been me making b's conclusion on the following as well but since it isn't it gives me an opportunity to warn about and completely disagree when it comes to the content at Military Times and the conclusions drawn from it: that content if anything is circumstantial proof that a decision has already been made in favor of a larger war (technically the US has already launched a war by its actions, or at least according to its own definitions as it applies it to others attacking them, if I remember correctly they would even allow themselves to respond with nuclear weapons in such a scenario).

It might not have been the intent of Military Times (I do not know them) but everything about their content at that link screams war is coming.

Notice how the US congress etc. portrays themselves as unwilling to go to war. We all know this is untrue.
Notice how "everyone" portray themselves as more or less being forced against their will to get involved. We all know this is untrue.

"They" love to do this, to wallow in "reluctance", to play innocent, to further the narrative of "the good guys", because doing so preys on those who still believe they are on the side of good (or in this case preys on anybody's remaining hope that they have some shred of sanity left or that they've run out of bloodlust) and more or less guarantees their support or silent acceptance in the general public. I recognize this all to well because I fell for it myself in the past. It is a large part of their cherished narrative and has self-reinforcing properties. They would say it even if no one listened but it is still completely untrue.

Notice how they constantly hint at what amounts to "if we had to we would".
Notice that despite how every US action mentioned (except for some nebulous bill that might as well be a unicorn fart) goes against avoiding a war they quote some ex-CIA person on all of it being the exact opposite and a way to avoid war (but still meet their objective consisting of unconditional demands).
Notice how at first they claim to believe it would be hard and thus something they obviously wouldn't want to choose and thus if given no choice then it can't be their fault.

Nevertheless, the crisis is deteriorating rapidly.

Yeah of course it is, as planned and as caused by themselves.

Notice the laundry list of "bad stuff happening".
Notice the appeal to military solutions.
Notice how they then claim it might not be so hard after all, or at least necessary or worth it.
Notice how they list military options to choose between.

It has already been decided and has already started.

3. Refinery fires

Did anyone else wonder at the sudden pair of refinery fires in Houston?

Posted by: Peter VE | Mar 19, 2019 4:22:48 PM | 19

Yes, since the second larger one went off because I didn't hear about the first one until then and don't know anything more than that there was one. These things do happen during normal operation of plants and refineries because every day it doesn't happen unavoidably breeds some false sense of security and familiarity with the potential energies involved.

And if that's not what happened then it will be a very hot US summer.

For those who didn't catch it here's all I've got (two measly links).
RT (2nd one)
ZH today (2nd one is now bigger):

Hoarsewhisperer , Mar 19, 2019 7:27:55 PM | link
It's mildly amusing that The Great Satan's Special Representative for Venezuela looks like one of those popular Christian images of Satan.
karlof1 , Mar 19, 2019 7:33:36 PM | link
This Moderate Rebels Transcript contains excellent revelatory points about Bolsonaro, the rise of Brazilian Fascism and its connections to the Outlaw US Empire and its ally Zionistan. I'm uncertain if b linked to it previously as I just stumbled across it.
El Cid , Mar 19, 2019 8:07:45 PM | link
After the people of Brazil got a taste of power with Lula, their social and national conscience has risen. A Brazilian military aggression in Venezuela on behalf of American Imperialism will be viciously opposed by the peoples of Latin America and Spain and Portugal. The Colombian ELN and Venezuela's Bolivarian militias will unite and begin to attack the US military in Colombia and fight the vassal state of Colombia. These militias will fight to the death. Ecuador will catch on fire as well since traitor Moreno backs the US invasion. This will get ugly.
Б , Mar 19, 2019 8:18:09 PM | link
US will just make up another excuse. These guys don't follow any laws so there is no point interpreting them. Raw power and a good defense strategy is what it counts now for Venezuela. They need more S-300, Buk, coastal defense and allies. This is the key for survival of Venezuela. US will then back down or nuke Venezuela into democracy and freedom of press.
Don Task , Mar 19, 2019 8:28:17 PM | link
The always interesting Florida Maquis YT channel covers S. America extensively and mentioned today Trump is putting Brazil forward for OECD membership which may give leverage to their fascist leader.
bevin , Mar 19, 2019 8:34:12 PM | link

The news that Maduro is making a new cabinet could be very important. The current cabinet was chosen to implement policies designed to prevent a coup by compromising with moderate elements of the bourgeoisie. Such policies involved the watering down of the revolutionary policies of 21st Century Socialism, which has led to the erosion of political support for Maduro without making any perceptible difference the bourgeois commitment to coups and other antidemocratic measures.

If the revolution is to survive it must continue to deepen, bringing gains to the masses besides which the inconveniences of sanctions/sabotage are pinpricks which only serve to deepen popular support of national independence and socialist reform.
If the revolution deepens it will not only increase the strength of the popular movement but broaden the appeal of Venezuela's policies to the millions of Latin Americans currently watching in dismay as neo-liberalism cuts into their living standards and aspirations of security. Nowhere are there millions more sympathetic to revolutionary programmes than in Colombia, a byword for bad government and inequality and Brazil where the current Presidency is completely illegitimate.

It will be interesting to see whether Maduro's new cabinet is more attuned to the revolution and less interested in compromises with a comprador class whose alliance with the US is based as much on racism and hatred of its own countrymen as it is on greed. Anbd that is saying something.

Sunny Runny Burger , Mar 19, 2019 9:25:15 PM | link
Thank you Karlof1 and Zachary Smith, I'll do my best to remember not to go "link crazy" in the future :D

Aside from all that and on the comments here on Colombia it makes me reconsider if there was any positive value at all in the mediation by Norway (and others? I think the current "social democrat" secretary general of NATO was prime minister there at the time...) to curtail or end the civil war or if it was all a ploy in bad faith. I could be wrong about this.

Sunny Runny Burger , Mar 19, 2019 9:42:57 PM | link
I was wrong but I've found out where the confusion stems from; Norway was the second "guarantor country" after Cuba.
Once the negotiators had been agreed upon, the two sides moved to designate foreign guarantor countries. Cuba, host to previous encounters, was a logical choice, while Norway was chosen as the second guarantor country for its active role in international conflict mediation. Additionally, two facilitator or 'accompanying countries' were also designated. The FARC chose Venezuela, while the Colombian government chose Chile.[14] Exploratory meetings continued in Havana in February 2012, with limited [...]

From Wikipedia on Colombian peace process

frances , Mar 19, 2019 10:09:01 PM | link
reply to:psychohistorian 23

The Dem party is gone, what is left is a divisive machine whose sole purpose seems to be to separate people into separate boxes with separate identities only united by their hatred of "other" parties and always completely blind to what is being done in the world in their (US) name.

Piotr Berman , Mar 19, 2019 10:12:20 PM | link
Nowhere are there millions more sympathetic to revolutionary programmes than in Colombia, a byword for bad government and inequality ... bevin | Mar 19, 2019 8:34:12 PM

Current president was elected with rather thin majority -- not as thin as Trump -- and while economy is "thriving" according to some measures, the fruits of it are even less evenly distributed than in USA, and the resurgence of the left is fully possible. Importantly, Colombian society is still very divided in the aftermath of La Violencia of 1950-s, violence that never truly went away. Colombia and Venezuela are closely connected since colonial times and troubles easily cross the border. In turn, Venezuelans seems to be easy going bunglers.

Chavista have "the heart in right place", but even in easier times they had troubles with the economy. The opposition is all thumbs. The freedom fighters who defected into Colombia seem to be a bunch of loosers, correctly evicted from a homeless shelter once found useless. Their putative paymasters seem particularly egregious, good for them to manage to get rid of the traitors before the latter found a nerve to unionize, but what was the plan anyway?. Sic sempter traditoribus.

frances , Mar 19, 2019 10:25:18 PM | link
reply to El Cid 42

"The Colombian ELN and Venezuela's Bolivarian militias will unite and begin to attack the US military in Colombia and fight the vassal state of Colombia. These militias will fight to the death. Ecuador will catch on fire as well since traitor Moreno backs the US invasion. This will get ugly."

You left out the elephant or rather landmass in the room; Latin America is connected to the US by land. This US misadventure will come home to roost, it will explode everywhere and anywhere, finally and at long last IMO the US will reap what it has sown.

ben , Mar 19, 2019 10:58:01 PM | link
lgfocus @ 13 said in part;"Tell me again how much it will cost to bring clean water to Flint, MI and our other cities with water problems. You know, the things we don't have money for."

This would be a excellent point for all the Dems chasing the POTUS, but, even if they did, it probably wouldn't get any play on the corporate MSM.

It makes too much sense! kudos for the relevant mention......

Nionde , Mar 19, 2019 11:38:14 PM | link
German foreign policy disaster. German freelancer journalist Billy Six jailed in Venezuela, now back in Germany after intervention by Russian foreign minister Lawrov.

Press conference with Billy after his arrival in Germany. Must see (German) Germany is accused in the participation of the drone attack against Maduro. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tsg5Jx5xzrU

Peter AU 1 , Mar 20, 2019 2:58:31 AM | link
Abrams trying to explain Guano and Venezuelan law is a bit like trying to explain western democracy VS 'non democratic' Assad and Putin and Maduro. Doesn't matter the majority of people have voted for them. That's not 'democratic'. A lot of Guano in western so called democracy.
virgile , Mar 20, 2019 3:57:44 AM | link
Russia ad Maduro should stir the rebels in Columbia. The destabilization of Columbia would create serious problem for the USA and could help Maduro.

https://www.voanews.com/a/as-venezuela-crisis-deepens-us-sharpens-focus-on-colombia-rebel-threat/4837258.html

Peter AU 1 , Mar 20, 2019 4:07:46 AM | link
virgile

US will create its own problem. All Russia has to do is tread the straight and narrow keeping a big stick by their side.

michaelj72 , Mar 20, 2019 4:55:47 AM | link
"The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil supported that but the military of Brazil, which holds significant power in the cabinet, vetoed it..."

I would be willing to bet that one of the purposes of Bolsonaro's visit to the CIA and DC was to see how he could remedy that situation, perhaps by getting rid of just a few of these troublesome military generals who are opposed to his using the Brazilian military, overt and covert, against Venezuela....

not to mention of course the usual and disgusting CIA options of subversion and other covert operations agasint Venezuelan democracy

snedly arkus , Mar 20, 2019 5:43:01 AM | link
Maybe Maduro is changing his cabinet to get people in who are not under US sanctions. The US claims most of it's sanctions are against bad guys but the reality is naming individuals is a propaganda ruse as the sanctions go far deeper than the individuals. People who don't look past the headlines believe it's only individuals so they fall for the US line it's Maduro and his polices not the US that's causing the economic problems in Venezuela. Thus a new cabinet could give Maduro some breathing room until the US can sanction the new guys.

If the US does shut off Mastercard and Visa it will be huge mistake as I doubt very few of the governments supporters have credit cards. Those the US claims to be hitting with this action can get a Russian credit card if it's possible. The upper class Gweedo lovers will be the ones hardest hit which doesn't bode well for Gweedo boy who spouts guano and promises he can't keep every time he opens his mouth.

Lots of blather of the citizens of the US should stand against the governments actions in Venezuela. The US government and it's lap dog press control the narrative thus it won't happen. But if it came to a military invasion the citizens will come out of cocoons and say hell no like they did with Syria when Obama wanted to bomb that country into the stone age when Assad, it was the rebels that used gas, crossed his red line. A military invasion and resulting guerilla warfare in Venezuela will send American boys and girls home in body bags and Trump can kiss his reelection goodbye and he knows it. Thus no invasion by the US but that doesn't rule out covert commando raids and sabotage by US personnel inside the country.

Sunny Runny Burger , Mar 20, 2019 7:02:28 AM | link
This is another story that might be nothing at all despite the catchy headline.

Brazilian Uranium convoy attacked March 19th

The attack took place when vehicle traffic was stopped at a train crossing, but whether the raiders indeed had intended to steal the uranium shipment has yet to be determined. Civil Police are now trying to establish the motive behind the incident. The attackers have managed to flee the scene, but police have recovered a 9mm pistol which they are now trying to trace back to the armed group.

I don't speak Portuguese or Brazilian Portuguese but those that do will likely find more information in the Globo article .

joaopft , Mar 20, 2019 7:39:44 AM | link
The Globo article says an enriched Uranium convoy, sent to the Angra dos Reis nuclear power plant, was attacked by local criminal gangs. The area of Angra dos Reis, renowned for its beautiful coastline and luxury resorts, is now roamed by criminal gangs that threaten the population and overtly defy law enforcement forces. Police forces and armed convoys moving along the highway are frequently ambushed.

Despite Bolsonaro's campaign promises, gangs seems to remain in charge, even in Angra dos Reis! From the Globo article:

"One of the most beautiful places of the State of Rio, the county of Angra dos Reis has experienced an increase in violence, with the presence of fire-armed drug dealers inside communities that were previously considered peaceful."

vato , Mar 20, 2019 7:51:13 AM | link
@Nionde 54:

There is also an extended version of the press conference where Billy Six answers some more questions. One is particulary interesting as he points out the economic interests of the German government in Venezuela. He mentions explicitly SIEMENS, Linde, Lufthansa and DHL which are excluded from free-convertability into Dollar-reserves since Chavez established currency controls in 2003.

He also claims that the Federal Government in the person of the now expelled German ambassador to Venezuela Daniel Kriener has met with the father of Juan Requesens who is/was member of the National Assembly, associated to the student protest newtwork of 'Generation 2007' to which Juan Guaido belongs, and whose party Primero Justicia is the party of Julio Borges - the former president of the National Assembly and co-plotter of the 2002 coup on Chavez. Juan Requesens is under arrest and accused to be part of the drone attack on Maduro in August last year along with 16 other conspirators. According to Six - who had contact with several of these plotters in prison - the coup in effect did happen and failed because the Maduro government was pre-informed about the plot and an anti-drone shield could prevent the assault.

What made it even worse for Six, according to what was told to him by SEBIN (political police force of Venezuela), was that the German government was aware of this drone in advance which is why the German embassy had taken such a stand for Juan Requesens to get him out of prison. This, however, is suppose to be one of the reasons why, of those foreign ambassadors of Venezuela who received Guaido at the airport two weeks ago, German ambassador Kriener was the only one who was to leave the country upon the advice of the Bolivarian Government.

There is certainly more to follow and it is perhaps not wrong to keep an eye on this

vk , Mar 20, 2019 8:19:09 AM | link
I would not trust the Brazilian people or the Brazilian left to take care of the issue.

The non-Venezuelan Latin American left is one of the most innofensive, docile and innefective lefts of the Third World. This is specially the case of the Brazilian left, which is also deeply balkanized, torn down in inumerous factions -- from the social liberals to communists.

Besides, the far-right has genuine and huge popular support in Brazil. Bolsonaro's is not a political giant by any means, nor is he the novelty/outsider e.g. Trump is (he was a Congressman for 28 consecutive years before becoming president). The far-right is at least 25% of the voting adult population, most probably around 40%, and this mass will go until the end with their design. Bolsonaro is no Temer.

dh-mtl , Mar 20, 2019 9:32:12 AM | link
Excellent post B. Thanks for keeping Venezuela front and center in your blogs.

From my perspective, it looks like Russia is effectively running Venezuela.

What are the indicators:
- Russia is handling Venezuelan oil sales
- Russia is handling Venezuelan international banking
- Maduro has made no strategic mistakes during the coup attempt. Every U.S. move has been effectively thwarted.
- With few exceptions, military discipline has been maintained.
- The new government realignment looks like something that Maduro would not have come up with on his own. It is probably a part of the economic plan the Russia prepared for Venezuela over the past couple of months.

Venezuela is starting to look a lot like Crimea. The U.S. wanted Crimea in order to take over the Russian naval base and effectively neutralize Russia's Black Sea Fleet. But Russia was there first, thwarted the U.S.' every move, and now the U.S., in the Black Sea, is in a much weaker position than before 2014.

In Venezuela, the U.S. wanted Venezuelan oil. But Russia was there first. So far every U.S. move has been thwarted and the U.S. is starting to suffer from a scarcity of heavy crudes. If past is prologue, the U.S. will have no more success in Venezuela than it did in Crimea. It will not dare to take on Venezuela militarily, as this would mean to take on Russia militarily.

Venezuela will represent another watershed moment in separating the world into those who are with the U.S., and those who are against. And the U.S. side will be somewhat smaller than it was before their Venezuelan adventure started.

arby , Mar 20, 2019 9:50:54 AM | link
Canada disgrace IMO. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51289.htm
bevin , Mar 20, 2019 11:32:21 AM | link
This is an excellent article based on an interview with a Trade Unionist and militant socialist in Venezuela:
https://www.greanvillepost.com/2019/03/19/a-venezuela-union-leaders-analysis-of-crisis/
BM , Mar 20, 2019 11:35:21 AM | link
There's a mind-boggling Extortiongate scandal going on in Argentina - with links throughout Latin America including Venezuela, and to Elliot Abrams: Don't Spy for Me Argentina In fact, it connects with virtually everything!
dahoit , Mar 20, 2019 11:54:46 AM | link
GG has article about bolsonaro at intercept.
Harry Law , Mar 20, 2019 12:14:11 PM | link
Abrams to media....."Constitutional rules? We ain't got no rules! We don't need no rules!

I don't have to show you any stinking rules!" The US cannot be serious, $500 million to take over Venezuela with the greatest oil reserves on the planet. Victoria Nuland said the US spent $5 Billion on regime change in Ukraine.. F-----g cheapskates. They will double down, wait for the secondary sanctions, it is so important that Venezuela keeps its oil markets, especially Russia and China.

vk , Mar 20, 2019 12:35:12 PM | link
Bolsonaro authorizes imports of 750,000 metric tons of American wheat:

Bolsonaro trai ruralistas e libera trigo dos EUA

Contrary to what the article states, Brazil has a negligible wheat production. However, Argentina has, and its main importer until now was Brazil. A huge blow to the Argentinian economy, whose trade balance will fall even more. The situation in Brazil so calamitous that it produced an extremely rare Chinese manifestation about the country:

Brazil should seek industrial upgrade, not US approval

SteveInNC , Mar 20, 2019 12:47:33 PM | link
to mourning dove at 30 and snedly at 60

It looks like the US is having to rescue some of the Venezuelan oligarchs from the effect of the sanctions. This being Fox, it blames socialism, which is utterly backwards, but the facts are there. US lifts sanctions on wives of Venezuela TV magnates Oh the poor dears. How they must have suffered.

Also, it looks like they (US) are thinking about cutting off credit cards, which as you've opined, would hurt the middle and upper classes much more than the typical Chavista. Credit card sanctions?

quixotic1 , Mar 20, 2019 1:12:23 PM | link
That whole press conference exchange has a faintly Mad Hatter Tea Party quality to it.

At one point Abrams says the interim presidency doesn't start counting until "after Maduro", but the whole raison d'etre of article 233 in the first place is to ensure a constitutional transition of power in the event that the president becomes unavailable. So that (the president becoming unavailable) would had to have happened FIRST -- prior to the implementation of (the relevant passage of) article 233. In other words, that would have to be the triggering event.

If this seems a bit like stating the obvious -- it is. As the article states,'That the "elected President becomes permanently unavailable" was never the case to begin with.' That's end of discussion right there. It never happened. And they have everybody talking in circles about whether or not the thirty day election requirement was fulfilled? It's absurd.

One thing I'll give the neo-cons credit for is their ability to take obvious lies/complete fabrications and somehow get people to discuss them as if there was any reality to it. Like in the case of Iraq they had the whole world discussing the threat of non-existent WMDs. All these "serious" pundits would prattle on endlessly about the pros and cons of an issue for which there was not a scintilla of evidence. I think even Goebbels would have to stand back in awe of what they do.

karlof1 , Mar 20, 2019 1:13:02 PM | link
Telling Rubio the truth :

"*Puerto Rico didn't have power for 11 months.

"The #TrumpRegime is not a government that can provide services. It is a transnational criminal organization which should be designated as a terrorist group."

Rubio needs to be bathed in Roundup.

AntiSpin , Mar 20, 2019 1:20:13 PM | link
@ BM | Mar 20, 2019 11:35:21 AM | 69

Holy crap on a cracker, Batman! Half of all the evil entities in the world are crawling about within this massive web of crime and treason.

I would beg to make one small change to the exposé; instead of --

" The CIA, under 'extraordinary rendition' proponent Gina Haspel, has become a foot soldier army for Trump's whims and Bolton's and Pompeo's neo-con dark policies, "

-- I would say that Trump, Bolton, Pompeo and Haspel have become foot-soldiers for the CIA's neo-con dark policies.

arby , Mar 20, 2019 1:36:52 PM | link
Venezuela: Guaido loyalists seize diplomatic properties in US

Envoys loyal to Venezuela's interim president have taken control of diplomatic buildings and a consulate. Caracas has severed ties with the US, accusing it of staging a coup against acting President Maduro.

Xolotl , Mar 20, 2019 1:53:41 PM | link
Don't Spy for Me Argentina. In fact, it connects with virtually everything!

Posted by: BM | Mar 20, 2019 11:35:21 AM | 69

The CIA, under "extraordinary rendition" proponent Gina Haspel, has become a foot soldier army for Trump's whims and Bolton's and Pompeo's neo-con dark policies. It is clear that Abrams, Bolton, Pompeo, Rubio, Bannon, and their cohorts, including Macri and Bolsonaro, are attempting to re-create OPERATION CONDOR, the 1960s, 70s, and 80s alliance of the intelligence services of the Latin American military dictatorships of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, which were full members, with Ecuador and Peru as associate partners. Tens of thousands of leftist dissidents were tracked down and executed during CONDOR, which operated with the full approval and involvement of the CIA.

They lost so many opportunities during the 70's. USSR was in their way in so many places. But now happy days are here again, with Russia, China containment strategies and Trump and other supremacist leaders being installed everywhere in the West and Americas.

It's about opening Pandora's Box though. 0 latency networks, even negative time ...with whatever that implicates and a space programe but not the one you see in plain view.

Krollchem , Mar 20, 2019 2:43:45 PM | link
There is a three part video of the UN conference featuring Anya Parampil, Alfred de Zayas and Max Blumenthal which has debunked the US propaganda on Venezuela at a United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva on March 19.

(1) The Grayzone testifies at the UN - 'Humanitarian crisis in Venezuela: Propaganda vs. reality' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak3eQwE9JxI
(2) Max Blumenthal debunks corporate media lies about Venezuela at United Nations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ1vFlX5jEw
(3) 'The mask of the US is off': At UN, Anya Parampil speaks on Venezuela regime change war https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9JRD_jCNp8

See also "The Visible Hand of the Market- Economic War in Venezuela" by Pasqualina Curcio.


Perhaps random guy Guaidó will join other collaborators with the US are just seen as throw-away pawns by the Empire:
"The Venezuelan military deserters who crossed over to Colombia on February 23, 2019, now find themselves abandoned both by Colombia and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The UNCHR and the Colombian Government have given the soldiers 4 days to leave the refugee camp"

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/03/19/venezuela-beneath-the-skin-of-imperialism/

The good news is that the health of Venezuelans is improving due to a more healthy diet due to US led sanctions. Everyone has been forced to have a vegetarian diet substituting vegetables, lentils, and black beans for meat. Seems that lots of people are growing their own (organic) vegetables.

From a sociological point of view even the electrical blackouts are bringing the people together as they spend the time sharing:

"During blackouts, people told stories, played music, or went out and talked on the streets. It was a paradise, no TVs, smartphones, but real human contact. People cook together. During the day they're playing board games, dominoes, and kids are having fun."

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/03/18/on-the-ground-in-venezuela-vs-the-media-spectacle/

karlof1 , Mar 20, 2019 4:14:56 PM | link
Krollchem @83--

Thanks for your report! The unintended consequences as you note can be powerful allies for those being attacked. The well stated case at the UN will also have consequences and generate more solidarity for Venezuela and condemnation of the Outlaw US Empire, Pompeo, Rubio, Abrams, Bolton, and Trump.

[Mar 20, 2019] Wasserman Schultz Proves She's A Sociopath - Lies About Venezuela

Mar 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

Tina Smith 3 days ago Only reason she's not already in prison is because she's a useful Military Industrial Complex tool.

Cant_Touch_This 3 days ago DWS rigged in order to win her district just like she rigged against Bernie Sanders on behalf of Hilary Clinton.

Daniel Clint 3 days ago Remove the sanctions you psychopaths. DWS belongs in jail.

[Mar 19, 2019] Monopoly: too big to ignore

Mar 19, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

by John Quiggin on March 9, 2019

That's the headline given to my latest piece in Inside Story

Here's the opening para

Two hundred years after the birth of Karl Marx and fifty years after the last Western upsurge of revolutionary ferment in 1968, the term "monopoly capitalism" might seem like a relic of outmoded enthusiasms. But economists are increasingly coming to the view that monopolies, and associated market failures, have never been a bigger problem.

and the conclusion

The problems of monopoly and inequality may seem so large as to defy any response. But we faced similar problems when capitalism first emerged, and Western countries came up with the responses that created the broad-based prosperity of the mid twentieth century. The internet, in particular, has the potential to enhance freedom and equality rather than facilitate corporate exploitation. The missing ingredient, so far, has been the political will.

Share this:

hix 03.09.19 at 10:14 am ( 1 )

Good read, just one minor complaint, why not just use a random stock screener to get current market cap data instead of 2016 ones:
https://finance.yahoo.com/screener/unsaved/ca63a480-28d8-4809-bd40-fab28b414da2
Glen Tomkins 03.09.19 at 5:25 pm ( 2 )
"Monopoly" is such an ugly term. We prefer to call it "market power" these days, because of course it's a good thing if the job creators and their enterprises have more power to do all the good things they do for us. It's clearly class warfare, if not racism, to use the term of abuse, "monopoly", when you mean "market power".
Dipper 03.09.19 at 8:51 pm ( 3 )
Of all the examples to choose, airlines would seem to be a bad one. They come and go with rapidity, and airlines are now being used as an example of how to reform banks.

Running the modern air industry needs lots of infrastructure and lots of regulations, so would seem to be an obvious place to have monopoly airlines. The critical thing that has happened has been the splitting of the infrastructure from the market-facing entities. So the booking systems, airport handling, and other services are all done by firms who don't directly face the paying customer. Pretty much anyone can set up an airline, and they can become quite big

Banking regulation is going in the direction of the airline industry. The idea being to split up the major systems and financial risk repositories from the market-facing companies. Hence, again, anyone can set up a bank.

One significant issue behind the growth in monopolies is regulation. The debate in the UK over the EU has included much discussion of regulation, much of it from a Remain/pro EU angle being that more regulation is a costless good. But there is an obvious and well-known cost, that regulation acts as a barrier to new entrants, and hence destroys innovation and creates conditions for monopolies, cartels, and oligopolies. It is surely no coincidence that the EU, an organisation that cannot look at any object without trying to regulate it, is sliding into recession and has effectively zero productivity increase this century. If you regulate what you have now, you just make the status quo your future. In the end, you just end up like the CBI, reduced to demanding more and more cheap labour to fuel your dinosaur members' wishes for more profit.

So. Split the resource-heavy stuff from the market-facing stuff, and try to avoid regulating your economy into a coma.

Collin Street 03.09.19 at 9:11 pm ( 4 )
Sure, monopoly's a problem.

But.

A significant fraction of the population can't keep track of their actual cost structures and will, cheerful and unknowing, sell at a loss. Unless you can exclude them from the market -- unless you have some mechanism for excluding people from the market -- the clearing price will be below the cost price: no market that does not have exclusion mechanisms can possibly be profitable.

That is to say: a profitable sector of industry requires exclusion mechanisms and all profit relies on rent .

The question we have to ask is, then: how do we distribute rent opportunities? We used to be able to use transport costs to create rent "naturally", but we can't do that any more: at least with monopoly some things still get made and some people still make money.

[honestly? I think uniform tariff barriers coupled with socialism [or socialism-approximating structures like dirigisme among firms with effectively-universally-held shares] are the only real solution.]

bad Jim 03.10.19 at 7:24 am ( 5 )
Um. "Monopoly" triggers thoughts of a scotty dog and a flat iron. Regarding the minimum wage, I'm encouraged to see oligopsony mentioned, not just because I love rare words; it's only recently than in such discussions the more common word "monopsony" was used. But how else to explain how Walmart greeters and burger flippers, despite their disparate productivity and different employers, are paid the same meager wage?

It says something about our common discourse, by which I mean American politics, that people preach as though market power was as unimaginable as ethical conduct, the first of which is tacitly assumed and the second generally acknowledged as nonexistent.

John Quiggin 03.10.19 at 7:36 am ( 6 )
@Dipper I'm sure you'll sympathize when I observe that Australia is different from other places (a point you've often made about Britain), at least with respect to airlines.

We've only had one successful entry on a substantial scale in the history of commercial aviation (when Virgin Blue displaced Ansett in 2001). Against that, there has been a long string of failed attempts to break up the duopoly (now consisting of two full-service airlines each with a low-cost subsidiary).

So, in an Australian publication, airlines are on obvious example.

mpowell 03.11.19 at 3:52 pm ( 7 )
You argue that what has been missing is political will, but at the same time you acknowledge that new versions of the old solutions for these problems must be found. I would focus more on the latter than the former. Yes, the EU is creating stronger privacy protection now, but one of the main impacts will be to strengthen existing large players. Do we really want to move to a regulated monopoly model so quickly? These new markets have been evolving rapidly over the past 15 years and models of the internet economy that made sense even 10 years ago are now out-dated. I think we still need to figure out what people need out of these new provided services and how to get there. It seems a lot harder than simply breaking up the producers and distributers of basic commodities.
hix 03.11.19 at 6:01 pm ( 8 )
And here i was thinking Dipper would try to make his weak case with the strongest arguments- Ryanair or Easyjet*. Virgin Atlantic, really? While airlines in Europe are probably not the most obvious easy to comprehend example for monopoly or oligopoly one could pick, those terms are still quite accurate as a description of the current situation in most submarkets.

*The crux with those two is that there are and were a gazillion other discount carriers, but non of those are sucesfull, Ryanair in particular in contrast produces an insane return on equity.

Ronan 03.12.19 at 12:38 pm ( 9 )
Have you read 'Game of Mates' about cronyism among the elite in Australia ? Kind of interesting and eye opening(at least for an outsider like me) Might be of interest if you havent.

https://www.smh.com.au/opinion/game-of-mates-how-billionaires-get-rich-at-our-expense-20170526-gwe0dp.html

Daniel 03.12.19 at 8:58 pm ( 10 )
Speaking of monopoly, I read one (or more) of your contributors say, "buy my book on Amazon." Amazon is the most dangerous monopolist, stay away.

[Mar 19, 2019] Corporations must be in the service of the nation, not the other way around

Mar 19, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Carla , , March 18, 2019 at 10:10 am

"Corporations must be in the service of the nation, not the other way around." Bingo! As long as corporations have the constitutional rights of "persons," they will continue to pummel those of us for whom constitutional rights were intended. Please urge your congress critter to sign on to cosponsor the We the People Amendment and implore your senators to introduce companion legislation in the U.S. Senate:

https://legiscan.com/US/bill/HJR48/2019

Note: Tulsi Gabbard and Ilhan Omar are original co-sponsors in the 116th Congress, but not yet AOC, so if anyone from her district is reading, give her office a call !

P.S. For those of you who had concerns about it, a section 3 has been added to the original resolution: "Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press."

Strictly speaking, this was unnecessary: the press has, and has always had, its first amendment rights BECAUSE it is the PRESS, not because of its corporate form. But people's inability to make that distinction caused so much angst that the sentence, redundant as it is, was added to the proposed amendment.

[Mar 17, 2019] Market Concentration Is Threatening the US Economy by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Notable quotes:
"... Making matters worse, America's low tax-to-GDP ratio – just 27.1% even before the Trump tax cut – means a dearth of money for investment in the infrastructure, education, health care, and basic research needed to ensure future growth. These are the supply-side measures that actually do "trickle down" to everyone. ..."
"... The policies for combating economically damaging power imbalances are straightforward. Over the past half-century, Chicago School economists , acting on the assumption that markets are generally competitive, narrowed the focus of competition policy solely to economic efficiency, rather than broader concerns about power and inequality. The irony is that this assumption became dominant in policymaking circles just when economists were beginning to reveal its flaws. The development of game theory and new models of imperfect and asymmetric information laid bare the profound limitations of the competition model. ..."
"... The law needs to catch up. Anti-competitive practices should be illegal, period. And beyond that, there are a host of other changes needed to modernize US antitrust legislation. Americans' need the same resolve in fighting for competition that their corporations have shown in fighting against it. ..."
Mar 17, 2019 | www.project-syndicate.org

Rising inequality and slow growth are widely recognized as key factors behind the spread of public discontent in advanced economies, particularly in the United States. But these problems are themselves symptoms of an underlying malady that the US political system may be unable to address.

The world's advanced economies are suffering from a number of deep-seated problems. In the United States, in particular, inequality is at its highest since 1928 , and GDP growth remains woefully tepid compared to the decades after World War II.

After promising annual growth of "4, 5, and even 6%," US President Donald Trump and his congressional Republican enablers have delivered only unprecedented deficits. According to the Congressional Budget Office's latest projections , the federal budget deficit will reach $900 billion this year, and will surpass the $1 trillion mark every year after 2021. And yet, the sugar high induced by the latest deficit increase is already fading, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting US growth of 2.5% in 2019 and 1.8% in 2020, down from 2.9% in 2018.

Many factors are contributing to the US economy's low-growth/high-inequality problem. Trump and the Republicans' poorly designed tax "reform" has exacerbated existing deficiencies in the tax code, funneling even more income to the highest earners. At the same time, globalization continues to be poorly managed, and financial markets continue to be geared toward extracting profits (rent-seeking, in economists' parlance), rather than providing useful services.

But an even deeper and more fundamental problem is the growing concentration of market power , which allows dominant firms to exploit their customers and squeeze their employees, whose own bargaining power and legal protections are being weakened . CEOs and senior executives are increasingly extracting higher pay for themselves at the expense of workers and investment.

For example, US corporate executives made sure that the vast majority of the benefits from the tax cut went into dividends and stock buybacks, which exceeded a record-breaking $1.1 trillion in 2018 . Buybacks raised share prices and boosted the earnings-per-share ratio, on which many executives' compensation is based. Meanwhile, at 13.7% of GDP , annual investment remained weak, while many corporate pensions went underfunded.

Evidence of rising market power can be found almost anywhere one looks. Large markups are contributing to high corporate profits . In sector after sector, from little things like cat food to big things like telecoms, cable providers, airlines, and technology platforms, a few firms now dominate 75-90% of the market, if not more; and the problem is even more pronounced at the level of local markets.

As corporate behemoths' market power has increased, so, too, has their ability to influence America's money-driven politics. And as the system has become more rigged in business's favor, it has become much harder for ordinary citizens to seek redress for mistreatment or abuse. A perfect example of this is the spread of arbitration clauses in labor contracts and user agreements, which allow corporations to settle disputes with employees and customers through a sympathetic mediator, rather than in court.

Multiple forces are driving the increase in market power. One is the growth of sectors with large network effects, where a single firm – like Google or Facebook – can easily dominate. Another is the prevailing attitude among business leaders, who have come to assume that market power is the only way to ensure durable profits. As the venture capitalist Peter Thiel famously put it , "competition is for losers."

Some US business leaders have shown real ingenuity in creating market barriers to prevent any kind of meaningful competition, aided by lax enforcement of existing competition laws and the failure to update those laws for the twenty-first-century economy. As a result, the share of new firms in the US is declining.

None of this bodes well for the US economy. Rising inequality implies falling aggregate demand, because those at the top of the wealth distribution tend to consume a smaller share of their income than those of more modest means.

Moreover, on the supply side, market power weakens incentives to invest and innovate. Firms know that if they produce more, they will have to lower their prices. This is why investment remains weak, despite corporate America's record profits and trillions of dollars of cash reserves. And besides, why bother producing anything of value when you can use your political power to extract more rents through market exploitation? Political investments in getting lower taxes yield far higher returns than real investments in plant and equipment. 1

Making matters worse, America's low tax-to-GDP ratio – just 27.1% even before the Trump tax cut – means a dearth of money for investment in the infrastructure, education, health care, and basic research needed to ensure future growth. These are the supply-side measures that actually do "trickle down" to everyone.

The policies for combating economically damaging power imbalances are straightforward. Over the past half-century, Chicago School economists , acting on the assumption that markets are generally competitive, narrowed the focus of competition policy solely to economic efficiency, rather than broader concerns about power and inequality. The irony is that this assumption became dominant in policymaking circles just when economists were beginning to reveal its flaws. The development of game theory and new models of imperfect and asymmetric information laid bare the profound limitations of the competition model.

The law needs to catch up. Anti-competitive practices should be illegal, period. And beyond that, there are a host of other changes needed to modernize US antitrust legislation. Americans' need the same resolve in fighting for competition that their corporations have shown in fighting against it.

The challenge, as always, is political. But with US corporations having amassed so much power, there is reason to doubt that the American political system is up to the task of reform. Add to that the globalization of corporate power and the orgy of deregulation and crony capitalism under Trump, and it is clear that Europe will have to take the lead.

[Mar 16, 2019] Never believe anything until it has been officially denied. it surely is just a coincidence that their blackout occurred at a point in time when a foreign coup attempt was underway, rather than 9 or 6 or 3 months ago.

Mar 16, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

ProPoly

x Ignored says: 03/14/2019 at 4:30 pm
Venezuela production is not only being hit by the blackout – which seems to have damaged their overall grid capacity – but by new sanctions. Their diluent supplier has just stated they will stop business.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-reliance/reliance-halts-diluents-export-to-venezuela-not-raised-oil-buying-idUSKBN1QU240

Watcher x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 2:35 am
Perhaps useful to note that Maduro was just as incompetent 6 months ago as presumably he is now. He was just as incompetent 9 months ago as presumably he is now. And indeed, he was just as incompetent three months ago as he is now. In fact we could take it back years.

Thus, it surely is just a coincidence that their blackout occurred at a point in time when a foreign coup attempt was underway, rather than 9 or 6 or 3 months ago. Sabotage could not be involved because we're told that incompetence and corruption is responsible, of the sort that just happened to manifest itself at this point in time.

The 20 folks who are alleged to have died in hospitals from lack of power just coincidentally died at this particular point in time. Because it is merely coincidence, the saboteurs probably cannot be tried for murder.

Power has apparently been restored. Oil will resume its flow at whatever magnitude.

ProPoly x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 10:29 am
Rust doesn't sleep. You ignore something long enough it's gonna fail.

This is just their worst grid failure, far from the first.

Watcher x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 11:43 am
Ahh, rust has a feel for coincidence, too.
Brazilian Guy (in ironic mode) x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 12:44 pm
Of course there are no coincidences, just the things that the CIA, the Illuminati, the freemasons, the jewish bankers and the Martians wanted to happen.
TechGuy x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 12:48 am
"Thus, it surely is just a coincidence that their blackout occurred at a point in time when a foreign coup attempt was underway, rather than 9 or 6 or 3 months ago. Sabotage could not be involved because we're told that incompetence and corruption is responsible, of the sort that just happened to manifest itself at this point in time."

I am sure the US is trying to speed up the process. After all, those Aid buses were not torched by Mo or his supporters but by Western agents. Its difficult to know who is really to blame for the blackout, but the US has an agenda to take control over VZ. I would not rule out the US causing it.

Hightrekker x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 9:38 am
"Never believe anything until it has been officially denied".
– Claud Cockburn

[Mar 15, 2019] Venezuela Facts You Don't Hear from the Mainstream Media

Mar 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Alpi57 , Mar 14, 2019 6:27:37 PM | link

Sorry to break up the Brexit party and change subjects. The Brits will be fine. It is just a messy divorce.

On to more important subjects:

https://www.mintpressnews.com/ricardo-hausmann-morning-venezuela-neoliberal-brain-behind-juan-guaidos-economic-agenda/256185/


S , Mar 14, 2019 8:08:16 PM | link

Irish independent MPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace battle against imperialist sell-out MPs in the Irish Parliament on the issue of Venezuela: Venezuela Facts You Don't Hear from the Mainstream Media . Great watch.
karlof1 , Mar 14, 2019 8:21:03 PM | link
Maduro assassination attempt via drone confirmed as Outlaw US Empire operation.

Well Pelosi, here we have attempted murder as a high crime to Impeach Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams with, or is that something too "trivial" for you!

[Mar 13, 2019] US withdraws embassy personnel, calling presence a "constraint" on US actions in Venezuela - World Socialist Web Site by Bill Van Auken

Mar 13, 2019 | www.wsws.org

Washington announced late Monday that it is withdrawing all of its embassy personnel from Caracas in what may signal preparations for a direct US military intervention to consummate the protracted regime change operation unleashed against Venezuela.

"This decision reflects the deteriorating situation in Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Pressed at a State Department press conference Tuesday as to what Pompeo meant by "constraint," Elliott Abrams, the Trump administration's special envoy for regime change in Venezuela, said that it was "prudent to take these folks out" because their presence made it "more difficult for the United States to take the actions that it needed to do to support the Venezuelan people."

Asked whether military intervention was being prepared and if the Maduro government should see Pompeo's statement as a threat, Abrams, a former Reagan administration State Department official who oversaw vast war crimes in Central America in the 1980s and was convicted of lying to Congress about an illegal operation to fund the "contra" terrorist war against Nicaragua, responded that he would "continue to say, because it is true, all options are on the table."

[Mar 13, 2019] Germany's Über Hypocrisy Over Venezuela by Finian Cunningham

Notable quotes:
"... When Guaido returned to Venezuela on March 4 he was greeted at the airport by several foreign diplomats. Among the receiving dignitaries was Germany's envoy Daniel Kriener. ..."
"... What's more, the explicit backing of Juan Guaido by Germany's envoy was carried out on the "express order" of Foreign Minister Heiko Maas , according to Deutsche Welle. ..."
"... Russia's envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzia, at a Security Council session last month, excoriated the US for its gross violation of international law with regard to Venezuela. Moscow's diplomat also directed a sharp rebuke at other nations "complicit" in Washington's aggression, saying that one day "you will be next" for similar American subversion in their own affairs. ..."
"... German politicians, diplomats and media were apoplectic in their anger at perceived interference by the US ambassador in Berlin's internal affairs. Yet the German political establishment has no qualms whatsoever about ganging up – only weeks later – with Washington to subvert the politics and constitution of Venezuela. ..."
Mar 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Germany has taken the lead among European Union member states to back Washington's regime-change agenda for Venezuela. Berlin's hypocrisy and double-think is quite astounding.

Only a few weeks ago, German politicians and media were up in arms protesting to the Trump administration for interfering in Berlin's internal affairs. There were even outraged complaints that Washington was seeking "regime change" against Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.

Those protests were sparked when Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, warned German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia that they could be hit with American economic sanctions if they go ahead with the Baltic seabed project.

Earlier, Grenell provoked fury among Berlin's political establishment when he openly gave his backing to opposition party Alternative for Germany. That led to consternation and denunciations of Washington's perceived backing for regime change in Berlin. They were public calls for Grenell to be expelled over his apparent breach of diplomatic protocols.

Now, however, Germany is shamelessly kowtowing to an even more outrageous American regime-change plot against Venezuela.

Last week, the government of President Nicolas Maduro ordered the expulsion of German ambassador Daniel Kriener after he greeted the US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido on a high-profile occasion. Guaido had just returned from a tour of Latin American countries during which he had openly called for the overthrow of the Maduro government. Arguably a legal case could be made for the arrest of Guaido by the Venezuelan authorities on charges of sedition.

When Guaido returned to Venezuela on March 4 he was greeted at the airport by several foreign diplomats. Among the receiving dignitaries was Germany's envoy Daniel Kriener.

The opposition figure had declared himself "interim president" of Venezuela on January 23 and was immediately recognized by Washington and several European Union states. The EU has so far not issued an official endorsement of Guaido over incumbent President Maduro. Italy's objection blocked the EU from adopting a unanimous position.

Nevertheless, as the strongest economy in the 28-member bloc, Germany can be seen as de facto leader of the EU. Its position on Venezuela therefore gives virtual EU gravitas to the geopolitical maneuvering led by Washington towards the South American country.

What's more, the explicit backing of Juan Guaido by Germany's envoy was carried out on the "express order" of Foreign Minister Heiko Maas , according to Deutsche Welle.

"It was my express wish and request that Ambassador Kriener turn out with representatives of other European nations and Latin American ones to meet acting President Guaido at the airport," said Maas.

"We had information that he was supposed to be arrested there. I believe that the presence of various ambassadors helped prevent such an arrest."

It's staggering to comprehend the double-think involved here.

Guaido was hardly known among the vast majority of Venezuelans until he catapulted on to the global stage by declaring himself "interim president". That move was clearly executed in a concerted plan with the Trump White House. European governments and Western media have complacently adopted the White House line that Guaido is the legitimate leader while socialist President Maduro is a "usurper".

That is in spite of the fact that Maduro was re-elected last year in free and fair elections by a huge majority of votes. Guaido's rightwing, pro-business party boycotted the elections. Yet he is anointed by Washington, Berlin and some 50 other states as the legitimate leader.

Russia, China, Turkey, Cuba and most other members of the United Nations have refused to adopt Washington's decree of recognizing Guaido. Those nations (comprising 75 per cent of the UN assembly) continue to recognize President Maduro as the sovereign authority. Indeed, Russia has been highly critical of Washington's blatant interference for regime change in oil-rich Venezuela. Moscow has warned it will not tolerate US military intervention.

Russia's envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzia, at a Security Council session last month, excoriated the US for its gross violation of international law with regard to Venezuela. Moscow's diplomat also directed a sharp rebuke at other nations "complicit" in Washington's aggression, saying that one day "you will be next" for similar American subversion in their own affairs.

Germany's hypocrisy and double-think is, to paraphrase that country's national anthem, "über alles" (above all else).

German politicians, diplomats and media were apoplectic in their anger at perceived interference by the US ambassador in Berlin's internal affairs. Yet the German political establishment has no qualms whatsoever about ganging up – only weeks later – with Washington to subvert the politics and constitution of Venezuela.

How can Germany be so utterly über servile to Washington and the latter's brazen criminal aggression towards Venezuela?

It seems obvious that Berlin is trying to ingratiate itself with the Trump administration. But what for?

Trump has been pillorying Germany with allegations of "unfair trade" practices. In particular, Washington is recently stepping up its threats to slap punitive tariffs on German auto exports. Given that this is a key sector in the German export-driven economy, it may be gleaned that Berlin is keen to appease Trump. By backing his aggression towards Venezuela?

Perhaps this policy of appeasement is also motivated by Berlin's concern to spare the Nord Stream 2 project from American sanctions. When NS2 is completed later this year, it is reckoned to double the capacity of natural gas consumption by Germany from Russia. That will be crucial for Germany's economic growth.

Another factor is possible blackmail of Berlin by Washington. Recall the earth-shattering revelations made by American whistleblower Edward Snowden a few years back when he disclosed that US intelligence agencies were tapping the personal phone communications of Chancellor Merkel and other senior Berlin politicians. Recall, too, how the German state remarkably acquiesced over what should have been seen as a devastating infringement by Washington.

The weird lack of action by Berlin over that huge violation of its sovereignty by the Americans makes one wonder if the US spies uncovered a treasure trove of blackmail material on German politicians.

Berlin's pathetic kowtowing to Washington's interference in Venezuela begs an ulterior explanation. No self-respecting government could be so hypocritical and duplicitous.

Whatever Berlin may calculate to gain from its unscrupulous bending over for Washington, one thing seems clear, as Russian envoy Nebenzia warned: "One day you are next" for American hegemonic shafting.


cracowMenger , 2 hours ago link

Germany already forgot, how they blew up Yugoslavia.

It was because of German diplomacy plotting and meddling, that Croatia and Slovenia announced their abandonment of federation of Balkan states - which Yugoslavia de facto was.

Another reason for this, was to destroy a forming Hexagonale - an alliance of central and southern european states.

As long as Germany has its imperial resentements, there will be no peace in Europe.

mafuke , 2 hours ago link

The author does not know much about "Germany"!!!

Germany has been defeated, humiliated and made a colony 74 years ago.

Of cause it is not a sovereign country. But anyway it´s government is of cause disgusting.

RioGrandeImports , 2 hours ago link

They want in on the Venezuelan petroleum game if/when regime change happens, obviously. Aruba (controlled by the Dutch) is about 20miles off the coast of Venezuela and and there is a small but significant population of German Venezuelans in Venezuela.

CITGO was was trying to restart the large refinery located in Aruba not long back, haven't heard anything about it lately.

Mike Rotsch , 3 hours ago link

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation

The Strategic Culture Foundation. A culture of strategy? That sounded interesting. So I dug.

". . . Benefiting from the expanding power of the Internet, we work to spread reliable information, critical thought and progressive ideas ." That explains why I'm seeing socialists defending socialists. What a surprise. Not very critical if you ask me, but definitely "progressive" to the core.

And as for the author, nearly every one of his articles attack the US and its allies. You'd think that if he's writing for the Strategic Culture Foundation, he'd be into critical thought . Meaning, we'd see some minuses and pluses in his work. The fact that we don't, makes him a propagandist, not a journalist. Then again, is there such a thing as a journalist anymore these days ?

I'd like to think so. Yet, when you evaluate someone's work and see little more than the fermenting of hatred and discontent, there has to be a motive. For him, it could be personal, given the amount of passion and conspiracy theory that he puts into his hatred. For his employers, though, the motive seems to be strategic .

Anyway, it's disappointing to find it here at ZH, but I guess the bills must get paid somehow.

Moribundus , 5 hours ago link

Mogherini said on Tuesday in UN:

"Military intervention in Venezuela is totally unacceptable."

She opposed the US and the self-appointed Guaido.

It follows that she had to act not only with the consent of Berlin and Paris, but in their mandate. This suggests that the EU has reassessed the situation and changed its position on President Maduro.

Berlin has come to know that the EU has created an international contact group, including Germany and France. The group is conducting talks with the Venezuelan government and with the opposition, aiming to achieve a peaceful solution to the critical situation in Venezuela, and as the group spokesman said, everything will be done to make the solution democratic.

The unnamed French source claims that Beijing and Moscow are behind the change of Berlin and Paris.

Recriminator , 5 hours ago link

"Hypocrisy" or "getting it right for a change" - that is the question ! Merkel, the putative Conservative, has sold her own people down the river many times in the last few years. She has demonstrated the George W Bush style, over the people in her own Party. And the results are obvious.

Now, after ruining her country both culturally and financially, she makes ONE correct decision. Hardly HYPOCRISY; more like contrition for her ineptitude.

HankPaulson , 6 hours ago link

Look, this is simple - to understand it you only need to know two facts:

1. Politicians are amoral, lying scum.

2. Germany lacks and so is desperate for fossil fuel.

Cast Iron Skillet , 6 hours ago link

Well, Merkel is doing a good job of protecting Germany's interests by opposing the U.S. regarding North Stream 2. The German stand on Venezuela is disappointing, but they might be figuring no skin off their back, since Venezuela is not in Europe, so might as well appease cheeto head.

napper , 6 hours ago link

Three Major Morons in Western Europe: Macron, Merkel, May.

researchfix , 6 hours ago link

Maduro will outlive all these 3 jokers.

DomMagdeburg2002 , 6 hours ago link

Shocking, right? Lol. I could have written this article myself. Just had this conversation with a friend here regarding German hypocriscy. Germany is a true vassal nation run by puppets. Highlights the total lack of coordination at the highest levels of German government. They just can't concieve that anyone is onto their game but it is blatanly obvious to anyone who can chew gum and walk simultaneously. The link to the demographic crisis (and by exstension the coming pension crisis) to the importation of "refugees" is a bit harder for many to see but still plainly obvious if one tries just a little. Truly sad state of affairs in all of Europe only masked over by the ECB. At least for now.

Element , 7 hours ago link

After almost 1 week it seems Venezuela is still around 85% to 90% blacked-out


'We call it survival': Venezuelans improvise solutions as blackout continues

With the crisis in its sixth day, neighbors are sharing generators, contraband supplies and skills for survival

Joe Parkin Daniels and Patricia Torres in Caracas

Tue 12 Mar 2019 18.30 AEDT

Last modified on Wed 13 Mar 2019 03.06 AEDT

People use their mobile phones at the Distribuidor Altamira -main exit of Francisco Fajardo highway- where they can get telephone service during a partial power outage in Caracas on March 9, 2019.

At a street corner in eastern Caracas, Rosa Elena stepped from her car and started picking handfuls of leaves from a modest tree growing at the roadside. "This is neem," she said. "It's high in sugar and great in a tea." Her interest was more than academic: Rosa Elena is diabetic, and when the lights went out in Venezuela last Thursday, she began to worry that the blackout would ruin her insulin supply, which must be kept refrigerated. Since then she has been making rounds of the city, stockpiling neem leaves, which some people believe can be used to control diabetes.

As a crippling blackout drags into a sixth day, Venezuelans are being forced to improvise solutions for a crisis that is affecting every aspect of daily life. Although there is intermittent power in the capital, some neighbourhoods have been in the dark since last week, and schools and businesses will remain closed on Tuesday.

Food has rotted in refrigerators, hospitals have struggled to keep equipment operating, and people gather on street corners to pick up patchy telephone signals.

At Residencias Karina, an apartment complex in the south-eastern municipality of Baruta – the power was still off on Monday evening, and residents had come together to share expertise and survival tactics. One elderly resident has lent his generator to the operation, with cables running up the side of the red-brick building into a flat where neighbours charge their phones. To stop the device overheating or getting rained out, they have fashioned a cover out of cardboard and tarpaulin.

In ordinary times, petrol is practically free in Venezuela, due to government subsidies. But power cuts have put many pumps out of action, and fuel is hard to come by. It is illegal to fill jerry cans at petrol stations, so people are often forced to resort to the black market to obtain fuel for generators. "The government calls it contraband – we call it survival," said Carolina, one resident who preferred not to give her surname for fear of reprisals.

Members of the Bolivarian National Police escort a tanker as they help organize the distribution of drinking water to residents of San Agustin neighbourhood in Caracas on March 11, 2019, while a massive power outage continues affecting parts of the country.

Another neighbour, Pedro Martínez, was once a farmer in the country's vast western plains, and has brought his own unique skillset to the team. "I'm a campesino," he said. "I don't know about phones and I can live without them. But I do know how to salt meat." Martínez has been turning the residents' supplies of beef into jerky, so food supplies can last longer. "The chicken and the fish people had is already rotten," he said.

Late on Sunday night, the housing complex was rocked by a string of explosions after an electrical substation caught fire in circumstances which remain unexplained. "It sounded like a plane taking off," said Carolina, as the stench of burnt plastic drifted across from the smouldering power plant. The explosion added to a sense of desperation in a neighbourhood that had already seen outbreaks of looting. Residents have mounted lookouts to warn of the government security forces and paramilitary gangs called colectivos, who they fear will take down their jerry-rigged infrastructure. "It's like Jumanji here," Martínez said. "Except instead of elephants and lions running around it's the national guard and colectivos."

Residents have started pumping water from a well behind the front gate, and taking turns to carry supplies to elderly neighbours on higher floors. Water is in short supply across the city: at a pharmacy in the upmarket commercial neighbourhood of Las Mercedes, the queue for bottled water stretched for several blocks – longer than the line outside some petrol stations. Moisés de Lima, a homeowner and new father, loaded gallon bottles of water into his car. He was stockpiling in expectation of a prolonged crisis.

"We are in a wartime economy now," De Lima said, his voice trembling with anger. "This is what this government has done to us, and it has the nerve to just make excuses and play the blame game." On Monday night Maduro made a conspiratorial televised address to the nation, claiming the power cut was part of a "demonic" plot dreamed up in the White House by Donald Trump in an attempt to plunge Venezuela into chaos and justify a military invasion and occupation. Most locals, however, are convinced the cause is years of under-investment, mismanagement and corruption. "Chavistas have been in power for 20 years and we have had 20 years of energy crises," said De Lima , who paid for his water in dollars, which swiftly became the de facto currency as cashpoints and card-readers went out of action. "After 20 years, you can't blame other people for your problems."

Outside La Carlota military airbase near the centre of the city, locals had descended on a tap outside a local police station, bringing empty bottles, jugs and tubs. Waiting in line was Jeancary Lugo, a business administrator, who was dismayed by the efforts of some storekeepers to profit from the crisis. "On Friday, I bought a bag of ice from a store for $1.50. Yesterday they wanted $8," she complained. "There's a lot of solidarity here but there's also people taking advantage. I feel like they are [trying to] rob us."

Across the road, dozens of national guardsmen lined up, with riot shields and gas masks at the ready. "Is this what Venezuela deserves?" one person in line shouted at a police officer by the station house. The officer shrugged. "In the command centre there's no water either, and electricity comes and goes. We're all suffering the same," he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/12/we-call-it-survival-venezuelans-improvise-solutions-as-blackout-continues

They're so screwed at this point ...


Venezuela: Guaidó under investigation for 'sabotage' of power grid

Tom Phillips Latin America correspondent

Wed 13 Mar 2019 06.20 AEDT

First published on Wed 13 Mar 2019 05.13 AEDT

Venezuelans head to collect water from a sewage canal at the river Guaire in Caracas. President Nicolás Maduro has alleged a US attack crippled the country's electrical system.

Venezuela's chief prosecutor has asked the country's supreme court to open an investigation into opposition leader Juan Guaidó for alleged involvement in the "sabotage" of the country's power grid. Tarek Saab announced the inquiry on Tuesday, a day after the embattled president, Nicolás Maduro, accused Donald Trump of masterminding a "demonic" plot with the country's opposition to force him from power.

Guaidó – who most western governments now recognize as Venezuela's legitimate interim leader – is already under investigation for allegedly fomenting violence, but authorities have not tried to detain him since he violated a travel ban and then returned home from a tour of Latin American countries. Saab said the case against Guaidó also involves messages allegedly inciting people to robbery and looting during the crippling blackout which began on Thursday.

Maduro's political foes and many specialists believe the nationwide blackout is the result of years of mismanagement, corruption and incompetence. "We are in the middle of a catastrophe that is not the result of a hurricane, that is not the result of a tsunami," Guaidó told CNN on Sunday. "It's the product of the inefficiency, the incapability, the corruption of a regime that doesn't care about the lives of Venezuelans."

But in a televised nationwide address on Monday night Maduro accused the White House of launching an imperialist "electromagnetic attack". Critics condemned it as a cynical attempt to deflect criticism of his regime's responsibility. "The United States' imperialist government ordered this attack," Maduro claimed in his 35-minute speech, only his second significant intervention since the crisis began last week. "They came with a strategy of war of the kind that only these criminals – who have been to war and have destroyed the people of Iraq, of Libya, of Afghanistan and of Syria – think up." Maduro alleged the US had conducted the attack – in league with "puppets and clowns" from the Venezuelan opposition – to create "a state of despair, of widespread want and of conflict" that would justify a foreign intervention.

Maduro, who gave no evidence for his claims, gave little hint that an end was in sight to a crisis that the opposition blames for at least 21 deaths and many fear could plunge the country into violence and turmoil. On Tuesday, the foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, ordered US diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours. "The presence on Venezuelan soil of these officials represents a risk for the peace, unity and stability of the country," the government said in a statement. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, had announced on Monday night that Washington was withdrawing all remaining diplomatic staff from Caracas. "This decision reflects the deteriorating situation in Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of US diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on US policy," Pompeo tweeted.

Maduro has been fighting for political survival since January when Guaidó declared himself Venezuela's legitimate leader and was swiftly recognised as interim president by dozens of western nations including the US and Britain. Maduro's many opponents – who blame him for an economic collapse that has triggered the most severe migration crisis in recent Latin American history – ridicule his claims that the outage is part of a White House conspiracy. Anna Ferrera, a student activist in Caracas, said: "They go around and around saying this was sabotage and how the US always sabotages things and the empire is going against Venezuela. But they haven't given any [credible] explanation. "They always make up stories to explain the flaws of the system. This is outrageous," added Ferrera, who said she feared many might accept Maduro's version because the blackout had knocked out communication systems across the country, giving his administration a monopoly on information.

Dimitris Pantoulas, a Caracas-based political analyst, said Maduro had appeared "worried, anxious and absolutely desperate" in his Monday night broadcast, suggesting the situation was dire. "It is clear, from what he said, that the government does not control the situation (nobody does) and they do not have any plan or strategy," Pantoulas tweeted.

In his speech, Maduro, who inherited Hugo Chávez's Bolivarian revolution after his 2013 death, vowed that the supposed attack on Venezuela's grid would be thwarted. "Victory belongs to us," he declared. "What you can be certain of is that sooner rather later, in the coming days, we will win this battle definitively. We will win – and we will do it for Venezuela. We will do it for our homeland. We will do it for you. We will do it because of our people's right to happiness."

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/12/venezuela-juan-guaido-maduro-sabotage-blackout

An epic cautionary tale of the danger of electing loony left governments, led by hopey water-melons and warped and insane neo-communist idiots. These poor sad scared people are going to be stuffed for at least the next generation.

cashback , 7 hours ago link

An epic cautionary tale of not bowing to the wishes of evil empire on life support.

BorraChoom , 6 hours ago link

Cruise Missiles are next.

Kokito , 1 hour ago link

[ have you heard of WW II? ] - Never

Germany excuse in WWII: "just obeying orders"
Germany excuse in VZ: "just obeying orders"

Some people never learn. It is obvious that Germany after ww2 became a US vassal following the dictamenes from WDC otherwise it will face the consequences.

With Germany awash with migrant crime - no go areas - their women and children afraid to go to swimming pools, concerts, new year celebrations, rather than deal with their own horrific issues they want to overthrow a democratically elected leader - just another USA poodle state

Thom Paine , 8 hours ago link

Somehow a Geopolitical and MIC penis snuck into Trump's arse.

US hoping for another home assisted 9/11 so they can spend another few trillion on MIC hardware.

NiggaPleeze , 7 hours ago link

Nah, the Orange Messiah doesn't need an excuse. He'll cut SS and Medicare for the poor while giving trillions to his oligarch buddies in tax cuts and crony capitalist MIC contracts, while spending huge treasury to advance ZioNazism and Bolshevism worldwide. TrumpTARDs suck his mushroom to his satisfaction in any event.

dogfish , 7 hours ago link

Trumps only virtue is his ability to lie with a straight face and without remorse that's how billion airs are made.

NiggaPleeze , 6 hours ago link

It definitely helps to be a psychopath or sociopath - it's harder to really **** people good if you have empathy or a conscience.

Blackfox , 7 hours ago link

Photo of Merkel in her Communist uniform.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2328536/Angela-Merkel-Communist-links-new-image-uniform-released.html

[Mar 11, 2019] US Presses India to Stop Buying Oil from Venezuela

Mar 11, 2019 | www.telesurenglish.net

A U.S. official has stated that the position from Trump's administration is to "persuade, urge and argue" for India to stop buying oil from Venezuela. The United States government "persuades and urges" India to stop buying oil from Venezuela, Washington's special envoy for the Latin American country, Elliot Abrams stated Sunday.

RELATED:
India Vows to Keep Buying Venezuelan Oil Despite US Bullying

"We say you should not be helping this regime," Abrams added as President Donald Trump's administration continues to increase sanctions and interventionist tactics to financially pressure the Venezuelan government.

Actions that come as a response to India's position to continue doing business with Venezuela on the basis of purely economic considerations, despite international pressure. As India's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Raveesh Kumar, said Feb. 14 their nation "doesn't have any barter system with Venezuela; commercial considerations and related factors will determine the value of trade which we have with any country."

A sovereign position that is key for Venezuela. The Indian market is a potential lifeline for Venezuela's economy as it has historically been the second-largest cash-paying customer for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries country's crude, behind the United States, which through Trump's sanctions have handed control of the revenue to Juan Guaido, the opposition lawmaker who self-proclaimed as the "interim president" of the country.

Currently, Venezuela exports approximately 366,000 oil barrels per day to India, a figure that the nation's Oil Minister, Manuel Quevedo, expressed they expect to double in the near future. However, such plans could be stopped by the intervention of the U.S.

[Mar 11, 2019] Not one critical word about people throwing Molotov cocktails

Mar 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Rufus , Mar 10, 2019 1:06:59 PM | link

On the NYT story, you have to love how transparent the propaganda is, and yet they (Bolton, Pompeo, Rubio) don't care whatsoever. Oh, and not one critical word about people throwing Molotov cocktails. Like that's a perfectly normal, non-violent means of protest.

Glenn Greenwald also has a good one on this.

https://theintercept.com/2019/03/10/nyts-expose-on-the-lies-about-burning-humanitarian-trucks-in-venezuela-shows-how-us-govt-and-media-spread-fake-news/

[Mar 08, 2019] Rubio Demands US Initiate Widespread Unrest In Venezuela

Mar 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Predictably during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday , Republican chairman Marco Rubio condemned Venezuela's Maduro as a "clear danger" and a "threat to the national security of the US." To be expected the hearing was filled with plenty of threats and talk of flipping "military elites" and enforcing tougher sanctions.

But perhaps unexpected was just how out in the open and brazen Rubio's own admissions of how far he's willing to go in promoting regime change in Caracas. In public testimony he called on the US to promote " widespread unrest " in order to eventually bring down the Maduro government. It appears Rubio is now urging the White House to initiate a full-on "Syria option" for Venezuela , which implies covert arming, funding, and militarization of the opposition to reach peak escalation and confrontation with the government, perhaps inviting broader external military intervention, similar to efforts to topple Syria's Assad over the past years.

We've commented before about how popular anti-Maduro protests seemed to have lost significant momentum of late, pretty much fading out altogether over the past couple weeks, after tensions came to a head on Feb. 23 when US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido led a failed attempt to get an unauthorized humanitarian aid convoy across the Colombian-Venezuelan border.

This as it appeared the opposition was itching for a provocation that might draw the US and regional allies into some of kind of more direct intervention , and as a significant uptick in US military flights went to and from Colombia near the border with Venezuela. During Thursday's Senate hearing, there appeared a willingness to admit the fact that it appears Maduro is not going anywhere anytime soon , for example, when the committee's top Democrat, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, said , "Confronting tyranny requires sustained commitment. But Maduro is not invincible. He's far from it."

Though issuing plenty of threats of tighter sanctions and strangling Venezuelan oil exports, the Democrats on the committee stopped short of endorsing military action: "The support that we have lent unequivocally on Venezuela does not include the use of force," Menendez said further .

However, Rubio's extreme "regime change by any means possible" hawkishness was on full display. Journalist Max Blumenthal reports:

At Senate hearing on Venezuela just now, Marco Rubio called for the US to promote "widespread unrest" as a means of encouraging regime change . His proposal was met with approval .

Blumenthal noted this was a reference to instigating further "violent guarimba riots" -- referencing the local Spanish word -- that have been a feature of Venezuelan city streets since Maduro was sworn in for a second six year term in January, and which has further represented the more violent side of Venezuelan politics for years.

Journalist Clifton Ross, who has long reported from on the ground in Venezuela, explained the term as follows :

Your Spanish lesson for the day is guarimba , (feminine, as in ' me voy a la guarimba ' I'm going to the guarimba ) the blocking of roads, lighting of tires, and sometimes involving defensive acts of rock-throwing , a practice adopted by the Venezuelan opposition in response to elections they feel are unfair. Those who participate in the guarimbas are known as guarimberos . It is presently the season of guarimbas , and one can only hope, for the sake of the nation, that they will soon come to an end.

Though Maduro has survived the latest round of international pressure to succumb to internal coup efforts led by a US-supported opposition, the fires of unrest Venezuela don't look to be extinguishable anytime soon.

As Ben Norton also pointed out on Thursday while speaking of using "humanitarian aid" as a pretext for regime change: "They're not even hiding it at this point."

[Mar 04, 2019] Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime

November 16, 2008

A very timely book , November 16, 2008 Joseph Oppenheim (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews

What makes "Gangster Capitalism" so worthwhile is that it helps in understanding what has led us to the 2007-8 financial meltdown. As the book shows, like during the 1920's, deregulation led the way for powerful companies to allow the very wealthy to get wealthier at the expense of average people by using poor working conditions, low wages, etc, plus at the same time supporting supposedly moral movements (against gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc) which mainly served the purpose of making these trades more profitable to crooks and therefore created rampant gangsterism there. The result was such a society wracked with gangsterism at all levels, but because most people felt they were prospering, few complained.

But, then it all collapsed with the 1929 crash and resulting Depression, which led the way for FDR and the New Deal programs which increased regulation of corporations, repeal of Prohibition, etc. Though the Depression lingered until WWII, the New Deal was successful in restructuring our laws and public infrastructure to create a better footing for the prosperity which would follow.

The book effectively traces how much of this regulation was reduced piece by piece, beginning in earnest with Nixon, using Cold War fears to tilt the nation toward more corporate power and away from reform, support of right-wing dictators around the world, re-energizing a 'moral crusade' especially by beginning the War on Drugs, thereby making the illegal drug trade super profitable, etc.

The nation had shifted Right and even Democratic presidents like Carter who was instrumental in deregulating industry and Clinton who signed into law the repeal of Glass--Steagle weren't able to stop the shift. Then, the 'Gangster Capitalism" went on steroids with G. W. Bush. By 2003, corporate taxes only amounted to 7% of revenues, while payroll taxes amounted to 40%.

Of note, the book makes clear it is opportunity which leads to much crime, so the approach of massive deregulation of corporations, plus focusing on arrests and imprisonment for victimless crimes ends up with the wrong results, more entrenched crime, even allowing corporations to capitalize on a prison industry.

The book is also good at highlighting how corporations and outright gangsters were able to corrupt legal drugs (price-fixing), tobacco, asbestos, body parts, autos (Pintos), etc. Some other things in the book, of note: Hamid Karzai included drug traffickers in his Afghan administration.

And, our support of Suharto (Indonesia), Mobuto (the Congo), and Marcos (the Philippines) allowed 'looting' of these countries.

A corrupt financial infrastructure included the BCCI bank and offshore banking to evade taxes also developed. Plus, laundering money from illegal arms sales, drugs, and so many other illegal activities passed through our financial system.

The book is definitely tilted toward a liberal way of looking at things, therefore it doesn't go into the good things about capitalism, but there are disturbing patterns which are important to understand, and this book does that very well.

By James R. Maclean (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

Wasted opportunity , September 6, 2006

Despite the fact that I was predisposed to agree with many of the author's views, this book was a huge disappointment. First, the basic premises:
  1. American business enterprise is singularly corrupt;
  2. Most of the crime that Americans suffer from is corporate crime;
  3. American methods of fighting crime focus on lurid fantasies of underworld conspiracy;
  4. The USA exports criminality through its foreign & trade policies.

Each of these premises could have been, and in other venues have been, well-argued. The first three suffer from a lack of generally accepted, objective measures, but experts on criminology have overcome worse obstacles. What we get instead is an unfocused, rambling listing of claims (plausible, but very poorly documented) about the criminal underworld, anecdotes about corporate crime, and extreme statements. No doubt "legitimate" business enterprise does rip off more money from customers each year than do gangsters or mafiosi; but the latter also account for a tiny fraction of the total US labor force. And comparing deaths from industrial accidents to mob hits is just over the top.

Woodiwiss says that the book

"had its inception during a seminar series on transnational organized crime run by Adam Edwards and Peter Gill... Adam and Peter put together several of the best academic researchers from Europe and North America...."

Yet the book is exasperatingly badly substantiated. I noticed almost no original research. Woodiwiss's footnotes, which--like cops--are never around when you need them (viz., when he is actually saying something that requires documentation), are almost exclusively from articles in the *Guardian* or from other sensational exposes. Radical literature has its place, of course, but saying, "US capitalism is just like organized crime... see, it says so in 'The New Left Review'" is just a harangue, not evidence.

The back cover declaims:

"..[T]he position of large multinational corporations...actually provide the most enticing opportunities for illegal profit... Gangster Capitalism shows how respectable businessmen and revered statesmen have seized these opportunities in an orgy of fraud and illegal violence that would leave the most hardened mafiosi speechless."

In fact, it's a disappointing pile of clippings. With the exception of his claims--again, plausible but unsubstantiated--you are not going to find any surprises here.

As I mentioned, he attacks conventional wisdom regarding the mafia and J. Edgar Hoover (who comes off surprisingly well); unfortunately, Woodiwiss offers almost no support for those contentions that are likely to be controversial.

For example, on p.78 he mentions President [Nixon]'s Advisory Council on Executive Organization, "Organized Crime Strike Force Report" [1969], which included a vaguely worded remark that the reliance on legal sanctions to fight drug abuse was actually causing organized crime to flourish." This is footnoted.

Then he says that Nixon was so horrified by this that he ruthlessly suppressed the report. This is not footnoted.

The next paragraph (p.49) includes a quote from a law enforcement officer claiming that gambling arrests were made just to pad the arrest numbers; this is footnoted. The next paragraph declares that gambling is no more corrupt than the rest of the economy. A surprising observation, it is predictably not footnoted.

The result: lots of footnotes documenting that water is a bit on the damp side, but nothing to support the controversial stuff. Only a small part is devoted to crime; the rest is a paste-up job from two dozen radical critiques of the USA.

Anything from the 1971 ditching of the gold exchange standard to the various covert activities of the CIA are brought up, with no more compelling a connection to Woodiwiss' original point than being bad things that Americans did.

The conclusions are so insipid (it calls for "fair trade" with no further specification of how that would be any different... capital punishment for corporations--evidently Mr. Woodiwiss has never heard of 'money laundering,' in which a vehicle corporation commits suicide), that it is pointless to spend any time on them.

Woodiwiss needs to actually learn something about economics; ironically enough, for someone who claims business is closely tied to crime, he knows almost nothing about it. He needs to know, and say what he knows, about law enforcement and business practices abroad, so he can make a comparison. And finally, he needs to actually learn how to write.

[Mar 04, 2019] I like that her contention the west intended to use the aid trucks as a wedge to start an intervention is described as a 'far-left conspiracy'; in fact I heard it said that the trucks which were burned contained wire and materials for making barriers, among their foodstuffs. You will not hear it in any western publications, but according to a Colombian news source, the reports are accurate.

Mar 04, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star March 1, 2019 at 7:21 am

Bravo Much respect to this woman as opposed to the gutless spineless members of the US Congress as a whole who function as enablers of the fascist war criminals who themselves are the stooges and puppets of the American elite.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ilhan-omar-says-she-does-not-recognize-venezuelan-interim-president-defying-dem-leadership-western-governemnts

Mark Chapman March 1, 2019 at 4:32 pm
Absolutely. I like that her contention the west intended to use the aid trucks as a wedge to start an intervention is described as a 'far-left conspiracy'; in fact I heard it said that the trucks which were burned contained wire and materials for making barriers, among their foodstuffs. You will not hear it in any western publications, but according to a Colombian news source, the reports are accurate.

https://colombiareports.com/us-aid-for-venezuela-contained-tools-used-in-violent-action/

It also answers the question of where Guaido is now – not holed up in the US Embassy in Venezuela, but in Bogota, still trying to overthrow the government of his own country from there, although I daresay he spends much of his time in the US Embassy in Bogota. At present he cannot return to Venezuela, and it seems to me a talented child could make out a case for treason – he openly colluded with a foreign government to overthrow the elected government of his own country. Try that in the USA, and see if they think it is treason.

So much of US meddling operations in foreign countries depends on momentum – getting something going and then constantly accelerating, action piling on top of action with no time to think, until when the dust settles, the US aim has been achieved and any reservations are drowned out by a burst of cheering and flag-waving – a triumphant parade featuring the victors, as everyone is invited to join in celebrating the latest bold step in the democratic adventure. But if there is a pause in which people have time to think, many of them think "there's something not right about this".

One more thing – the western governments encouraged the Venezuelan opposition to boycott the election, because they knew very well they were unlikely to make any gains. They then used that as an excuse to call the elections illegitimate, and that as an excuse to declare Guaido the rightful ruler since the elected president came to power through a sham election. Neat trick – you'll want to watch for that one, because it is likely to appear again in some guise or other. The opposition was not shut out of the election; it chose not to participate. New elections have to be held within 30 days, so let's see if the opposition tries the same trick again, afraid to face Maduro.

All the Venezuelan people who are quoted in the western press, usually just a first name and age (Rosa, 32, says she can't go on under Maduro, can't feed her children), have the perfect right to vote against him. If not enough people do so to prevent him from winning, then surprise!! that's how democracy works. Any time not liking the results of an election is reason to declare it illegitimate and appoint someone else, let me know; there's quite a few western leaders who could be looking for new jobs before next week's out.

Patient Observer March 2, 2019 at 11:05 am
Yes, she is impressing many people with her courage but not the Washington Party (I no longer distinguish between Democrats and Republicans as there is no meaningful difference on issues that matter).
Mark Chapman March 2, 2019 at 11:25 am
The Washington Party: I like it.
Patient Observer March 2, 2019 at 11:38 am
Thought about "East Coast Party" and "Coastal Party" but "Washington Party" felt the best.

[Mar 04, 2019] Comparison of color revolution puppets: Navalny vs Guaido

Mar 04, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman March 1, 2019 at 5:46 am

I don't think so; look at all the time Navalny has been around, and although they have not quite gotten around to announcing him as the new president of Russia (that'd be funny, but it would be wise to note the differences and why the west thought it would work in Venezuela), he is still rated as the 'opposition leader' although he is not even really a politician, has no party and only engages in politics when prodded by the west. But he has not been sacrificed in a blaze of glory. No reason for Guaido to be, either. If Maduro was going to rub him out, he would have already done so, and instead seems to be proceeding deliberately toward legal action for treason or something like that.

Guaido very much alive is a useful reminder of the failed coup, and perhaps the west would like to get rid of him for that reason, but their capacity for taking decisive action in Venezuela seems to be a little short of what they thought it was.

Patient Observer March 2, 2019 at 11:32 am
Navalny has no chance to lead a revolution in Russia but he is a useful biting insect. His death would not advance the Western objective one micron (going metric here). So, keeping him around has value to the West.

Guaido has an expiration date. His value is diminishing at an exponential rate. Soon, he will need to be written out of the script. Killing him off would seem the most obvious, but, not the only choice. Much depends if the US in planning an imminent military invasion, If they are, they will need Guaido, otherwise, he may be more useful dead as part of a longer-term propaganda operation.

[Mar 04, 2019] The military sticks with Maduro

Mar 04, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman March 3, 2019 at 10:01 am

Here's a pretty good piece on Venezuela, focused on why the military sticks with Maduro and how Guaido misjudged its loyalty.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/guaido-military-mutiny-miscalculation-190228143729957.html

It closes with a recommendation that some other entity than the United States take over mediation, and try to work out a solution which would culminate in 'free elections' (the west is obsessed with the idea that Maduro stole the last election, or at least is committed to that narrative). But I'm pretty confident that Condition Number One for such 'free' elections would be that Maduro must not stand as a candidate – the west fears a win that could not be called illegitimate.

Interestingly, the piece also discusses that Guaido is merely a smiley face for some of the most radical figures in Venezuelan politics, fierce liberals who would hand control of the nation's energy industry to the conqueror. Also, it explains how the wealthy make a bit extra on the side by re-selling state-subsidized commodities in neighbouring countries at a significant markup.

Jen March 3, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Guaido's main mentor is Leopoldo Lopez who is currently under house arrest in Venezuela. He was previously involved in the 2002 coup to remove Hugo Chavez as President and has tried hijacking student protests, Dar'aa-style, to instigate violence from which coup attempts can be launched. He's far more dangerous than Lorenzo Mendoza.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/the-violent-past-of-venezuelan-opposition-leader-leopoldo-lopez/229679/

[Mar 04, 2019] It is important to Americans that they always are doing the right thing, the just thing, the altruistic thing, and that nothing so smutty as American profit and financial gain come into it. It is for this reason they are fed such self-serving pablum daily by their news media.

Mar 04, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star March 2, 2019 at 1:07 pm

Hmmmm ..

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/video/venezuela-accepts-aid-russia-us-020038728.html

Patient Observer March 2, 2019 at 2:58 pm
God, that Trish Regan is a moron on steroids. But, it was very heartening to see Russia stepping up with aid. Certainly, the physical aid is important to Venezuela but, more important, is the knowledge that they are not facing the US alone – cautiously optimistic that Venezuela can survive the assault.
Mark Chapman March 2, 2019 at 5:24 pm
Soooo many bullshit moments, my head is reeling. "The ones who are the aggressors here are the RUSSIANS, the United States supports a peaceful transition of power". Yes, to the leader it picked for the country, in a process about as far from democracy as an egg is from an eggplant. "Russia might not have the same good sweet deals, there would be a more competitive landscape, and they don't like that". Trish, baby – your National Security Advisor is on record as publicly stating it would make a big difference to the US economy if the USA could invest in and produce Venezuela's oil. It already has complete control of the refining end – if it were also investing in it and producing it what would be left for the Venezuelans?

It is important to Americans that they always are doing the right thing, the just thing, the altruistic thing, and that nothing so smutty as American profit and financial gain come into it. It is for this reason they are fed such self-serving pablum daily by their news media.

yalensis March 3, 2019 at 3:11 pm
At 3:50 minutes in, did I just hear the "brunette" on the left threaten to murder Maduro's family, if he doesn't comply with her demands?

She sounds like a Mafia chick: "Nice family you got there, Maduro, would be a pity of something was to happen to them "

Northern Star March 2, 2019 at 1:39 pm
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2019/03/01/ilhan-omar-tied-9-11-attack-poster-west-virginia-capitol/3033450002/

https://www.stripes.com/news/us/poster-linking-rep-ilhan-omar-to-9-11-sparks-outrage-injuries-in-w-va-state-capitol-1.571055

https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/video/poster-linking-muslim-congresswoman-ilhan-omar-to-9-11-sparks-confrontation/vp-BBUhMXZ

https://nypost.com/2019/03/02/eliot-engel-rips-ilhan-omar-for-vile-anti-semitic-slur/
" Last month, Omar came under fire for tweeting, "It's all about the Benjamins baby," suggesting politicians who support Israel only do so for money."

Northern Star March 2, 2019 at 1:44 pm
The American BILLIONAIRE elite:
https://www.yahoo.com/news/robert-kraft-debate-sex-trafficking-203517978.html

.degenerate racist ol' white bastards..all the way down..!!!

LOL!!!

Patient Observer March 2, 2019 at 4:05 pm
But why should someone as wealthy and well known as Robert Kraft visit a massage parlor in a strip mall? He could have top whores from around the world flown in to his penthouse . For god's sake, he could have gone to that private Caribbean Island where the insiders go for illicit sex with whomever/whatever they could imagine. Something is weirder than average here.
Patient Observer March 3, 2019 at 10:35 am
https://theduran.com/blackout-during-orgy-island-pedophile-jeffrey-epstein-hearing/

Log books show Bill Clinton just loved Island hospitality as evidenced by his numerous visits. Odd, how utterly quiet the MSM is about this – y'ld think that industrial scale rape of young girls would be newsworthy in the MSM. No, just the Covington Kid get them going. Eyes Wide Shut at work here.

Patient Observer March 3, 2019 at 10:39 am
Here is the link to a pretty good video on an escapee from the Island.
Jen March 3, 2019 at 3:20 pm
I think it's the thrill of the chase that appeals, plus knowing that you did something illegal (either secretly or in full view) and got away with it. Having whores flown to your place wouldn't have the same appeal.
Patient Observer March 3, 2019 at 7:24 pm
Well, I suppose being a Peeping Tom could his next adventure. Nevertheless, it still makes little sense from a psychological aspect. Some say he was somehow set up as a lot of NFL owners are tired of his team winning the Superbowl every other year and wanted to take him down a notch or two.

I suspect that most super rich, if not perverts from a young age, end up being perverted – the power of money and a highly developed market offering perversion is just too much to resist for most humans. That is a major reason why capitalism or free markets or whatever you want to call a system that encourages accumulation of vast amounts of wealth is (drum roll) perverted.

Patient Observer March 2, 2019 at 3:59 pm
Again, the only defense needed by a cop in killing a suspect was "I thought my life was in danger" regardless if that were actually the case. In the particular instance, I do think the cops may have thought such but they were apparently trigger happy and reacted to a "flash of light" or glint off some something metallic. They thought it was a muzzle blast. Really? They offered confusing statements as well – the suspect advanced on them in a shooting stance but refused to show his hands. What kind of shooting stance would that be?

I don't think it was cold blooded murder in this case – just manslaughter. They ought to be charged accordingly and kicked off the force. But no, everything is OK, nothing to see. Besides, it would have a chilling effect on police everywhere if they were fearful of being charged every time they killed someone. I mean, like, who would want to be a cop?

https://www.yahoo.com/news/no-charges-officers-shooting-death-unarmed-black-man-215503582–abc-news-topstories.html

Mark Chapman March 2, 2019 at 6:27 pm
I note that in this instance, though, the deceased was committing a crime; a series of them, in fact. Nothing he needed to be killed for, certainly, but a case removed from all the other black men who have been shot with their cell phone in their hand, or nothing at all, while the cops who decided to 'question' them ( sometimes for nothing more than walking on the sidewalk in a mostly-white neighbourhood) had no apparent reason to be bothering them. Police intervention was certainly called for here, although it is hard to believe it could not have been carried out without any real violence at all. The list of people who actually decided to go for their gun when ordered to put their hands up by police who already have their weapons out must be a short one.

Police in America seem uniformly convinced that black men they detain will try to kill them. I wonder why? Have a lot of police officers been shot to death by black men? I bet the list of black men killed by police is a lot longer.

Patient Observer March 3, 2019 at 7:17 am
To partially address the question of how many police are killed by felonious acts (shot, run over, etc.) versus how many they have killed by shooting (not counting fatalities from crashes during police chases), its roughly 65 to 1,000+. or better than a 15 to 1 kill ratio. 31% of the civilian victims were black.

In Britain and Japan, there were a few civilians killed by police last year. China had 4 (US rate was 1,500 times higher per capita). Could not find info on Russia. Philippines was way higher than the US rate apparently due to the drug war and terrorists may be included in that data as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_killings_by_law_enforcement_officers_by_countries

[Mar 03, 2019] Maduro 1 Abrams 0 but this match is far from over... by The Saker

Mar 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

Maduro wins the first round

The standoff between Venezuela and the AngloZionist Empire last week-end has clearly ended in what can only be called a total defeat for Elliott Abrams. While we will never know what was initially planned by the demented minds of the Neocons, what we do know is that nothing critical happened: no invasion, not even any major false flag operation. The most remarkable facet of the standoff is how little effect all the AngloZionist propaganda has had inside Venezuela. There were clashes, including some rather violent ones, across the border, but nothing much happened in the rest of the country. Furthermore, while a few senior officers and a few soldiers did commit treason and join forces with the enemy, the overwhelming majority of the Venezuelan military remained faithful to the Constitution. Finally, it appears that Maduro and his ministers were successful in devising a strategy combining roadblocks, a concert on the Venezuelan side, and the minimal but effective use of riot police to keep the border closed. Most remarkably, "unidentified snipers" did not appear to shoot at both sides (a favorite tactic of the Empire to justify its interventions). I give the credit for this to whatever Venezuelan (or allied) units were in charge of counter-sniper operations along the border.

Outside Venezuela this first confrontation has also been a defeat for the Empire. Not only did most countries worldwide not recognize the AngloZionist puppet, but the level of protest and opposition to what appeared to be the preparations for a possible invasion (or, at least, a military operation of some kind) was remarkably high. While the legacy corporate Ziomedia did what it always does (that is whatever the Empire wants it to do), the Internet and the blogosphere were overwhelmingly opposed to a direct US intervention. This situation also created a great deal of internal political tensions in various Latin American countries whose public opinion remains strongly opposed to any form of US imperial control over Latin America.

In this respect, the situation with Brazil is particularly interesting. While the Brazilian government fully backed the US coup attempt, the Brazilian military was most uncomfortable with this. My contacts in Brazil had correctly predicted that the Brazilian military would refuse to attack Venezuela and, eventually, the Brazilians even issued a statement to that effect .

Alas, there are still plenty of US puppet regimes in Latin America to mindlessly do whatever Uncle Shmuel wants them to (Colombia would be the worst offender, of course, but there are others). But that is not the main problem here.

The main problem is that the Neocons cannot accept defeat and that they are likely to do what they always do, double down and make a bad situation even worse. The head of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, has warned that the US has deployed special forces in Colombia and Puerto Rico in preparation for a possible invasion. Uncharacteristically, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made intelligence information public, which described in some detail what kind of plans the Empire and its allies had, even before this past week-end's confrontation. See for yourself:

In fact, the leaders of the Empire and their puppets are not keeping any secrets about their determination to overthrow the constitutional government and replace it with the kind of comprador regime the US already imposed in Colombia. Pompeo, Abrams and Pence have been particularly hysterical in their threats, but the entire "Lima Group" is still at it:

As for the Russian UN Ambassador, he was very clear on what Russia expects to happen next:

The Neocons are not even content to threaten Venezuela, and John Bolton could not help himself and publicly threatened Nicaragua as being next in line for a US-sponsored regime change. He even spoke of a " Troika of Tyranny " reminiscent of the famous " Axis of Evil ".

This is all hardly surprising: US politicians always resort to infantile comic-book kind of language when they want to give their threats a special gravitas. Next we will be told that Maduro is a "New Hitler" and that he is "genociding his own people", possibly with chemical weapons ("highly likely", no doubt!). If not that, then Maduro will be distributing Viagra to his forces to help them rape more women . To those puzzled by the fact that presumably adult politicians use the kind of language one could find in grade school, I can only say that this just reflects the state of the political discourse in the US, which has been dumbed-down to an incredibly low level. Be careful, however, because while US politicians are rather comical in their infantile, ignorant, illiteracy, and while they have an almost perfect record of embarrassing failures, the past decades have also shown that they are quite capable of murderous rampages (in Iraq alone the US invasion resulted in over one million dead Iraqi civilians) or of wrecking even a very prosperous country (which Libya under Muammar Gaddafi definitely was).

Next, the Empire will probably strike-back

There is a small chance that Abrams & Co. will conclude that the situation in Venezuela is a total mess and that the Empire cannot capitalize on it in the short to middle term. This is possible, yes, but also highly unlikely.

The truth is that Mr MAGA and his Neocon puppet-masters have failed, at least so far, at absolutely everything they tried. And if taking on China, Russia, Iran or even Syria is no easy task, Venezuela is by far the most fragile country in what could be called the "Resistance countries": Venezuela is far away from it's allies (except Cuba), it is surrounded by more or less hostile countries (especially Colombia), it's economy is crippled by US sanctions and sabotage and its armed forces are dwarfed by the immense firepower the Empire has available in the region. Add to this the truly demonic mindset of Neocons like Abrams and the future for Venezuela looks bleak.

ORDER IT NOW

The good news is that the Colombians and the rest of the Lima Group "friends of Venezuela" probably don't have the military power to take on Venezuela by themselves. The preferred option for the US would be to use the Colombians like the KLA was used in Kosovo or how al-Qaeda (and derivatives) were used against Syria: as boots on the ground while the US provides air power, electronic warfare capabilities, intelligence, bomb and missile strikes, etc. The US also has immense naval capabilities which could be used to assist (and, of course, direct) any military operations against Venezuela (I highly recommend this analysis by my friend Nat South who describes in some detail the US naval capabilities and operations in the region).

My gut feeling is that this approach will not work. As is often the case, the US has all sorts of impressive capabilities except for the main one: a military force capable of providing the boots on the ground (as opposed to a non-US proxy). The problem for the US military would not be so much getting in, as staying inside and getting something done before leaving – what the US called an "exit strategy". And here, there are really no good options for the US.

It is therefore far more likely that the US will use the weapon which it truly masters better than anybody else on earth: corruption.

There is big money, really big money, all around the Venezuelan crisis: not only oil money, but also drug money. And there are a lot of truly evil and corrupt people involved in this struggle who will use that corruption-weapon with devastating effect against the constitutionally elected government. And, just to make things worse, Venezuela is already devastated by corruption. Still, there are quite a few factors which might well save Venezuela from being reconquered by the Empire.

First, while US Neocons are too arrogant to bother with anybody's opinion except their own, and while the various US agencies primarily talk with the immensely wealthy rulers of Colombia and the rest of Latin America, it does appear that a strong majority of Venezuelans support their elected government. Furthermore, US leaders simply don't understand how hated the "Yankees" are in Latin America (at least among the masses, not the comprador elites) and how fantastically offensive the appointment of a felon like Elliott Abrams as Envoy to Venezuela is to the vast majority of the people of this continent.

Second, Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro did empower, for the very first time, the masses of the Venezuelan people, especially those who lived in abject poverty when Venezuela was still a US colony. These people are under no illusion about what a Guaido regime would mean to them. And while most of the supporters of Chavez and Maduro are not influential or wealthy, there are a lot of them and they will probably fight to prevent a complete reversal of all the achievements of the Bolivarian revolution.

Third, Latin America might well be changing, just like the Middle-East did. Remember how, for years, the Israelis could attack their neighbors with quasi-total impunity and how poorly the Arab armies performed? That suddenly changed when Hezbollah proved to the entire region and even the world, that the "Axis of Kindness" (US, Israel, KSA) could be successfully defeated, even by a comparatively tiny resistance with no air force, no navy and very little armor. As I never cease to repeat – wars are not won by firepower, but by willpower . Oh sure, firepower helps, especially when you can fire from far away with no risk to yourself and your victim cannot fire back, but as soon as big firepower is met by big willpower the former rapidly fails. There is a very real possibility that Venezuela might do for Latin America what the Ukraine did for Russia: act as a surprisingly effective "vaccine" against the AngloZionist propaganda. An indigenous leader like Evo Morales, who has declared his full and total support for the elected government of Maduro, is an inspiration to the people of Latin America far beyond the borders of Bolivia. The Russian ambassador to the UN got it right: there are already other leaders after Maduro which the AngloZionists want to eliminate and replace by a pliable puppet à la Guaido or Duque Márquez. At the end of the day, this is a typical dialectical problem: the more brutal and overt the US aggression against Latin America is, the more successful coups or even invasions the US organizes, the stronger the anti-Yankee feelings generated among the people of the continent. Think of it this way: the US has already terminally alienated the people of China, Russia and Iran, along with most of the Arab and Muslim world, and thanks to that alienation, the leaders of China, Russia and Iran have enjoyed the support of their people in their struggle against the AngloZionist Empire. Could something very similar not already be happening in Latin America?

Conclusion: focus on the right question

To defeat the Empire's plans for Venezuela, it is crucial that we all keep hammering over and over again: the choice is not between Maduro or Guiado, the choice is not between poverty under the Chavistas and prosperity under the AngloZionists. This is how the agents of the Empire (whether paid or simply stupid) want to frame the discussions. The real issue at stake here is the rule of law . The rule of law inside Venezuela, of course, and the rule of law internationally.

First year law students are often taught that the purpose of the law is not "justice" per se, but to provide a mechanism to solve disputes. That mechanism is, admittedly, a highly imperfect one, but it is understood by civilized people as being preferable to the alternative . The alternative, by the way, is what happens in every time a so-called "humanitarian intervention" is launched: a humanitarian disaster.

Yet, this is the typical modus operandi of the Neocons (and of all imperialists, really). First, chose a country for destabilization, then use your control of the international financial markets and trade to trigger an economic crisis; then, send your "democracy promoting" spooks and agents of influence to foment protests or, even better, violent disorders; then send some "unidentified snipers" if the legitimate government does not use enough violence to quell the protests, then denounce the leader you want replaced as "monster" "animal" or even "new Hitler" and threaten to overthrow him. After that, declare urbi et orbi that it is "highly likely" that the "new Hitler" will massacre his own people, add a false flag op if needed, and then declare a "coalition of the willing" composed of "friends" of the country you want to occupy who will take action due to the "ineffectiveness of the US", ditch any thoughts about international law and only speak of " rules-based order ". Check out how Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov explains the meaning of this substitution:

When you listen to the supporters of Guaido you will always hear them talking about how terrible Maduro is, how horrible the economic situation of Venezuela really is, how corrupt the members of the regime are, etc. etc. etc. This is all a smokescreen. Even the accusation that the last elections were stolen by Maduro is just another smokescreen. Why? Because even if Maduro did steal the election, Guaido did not have the right to declare himself President, Trump had no right to recognize him as such, and the Empire had no business threatening a military intervention or even a violation of the sovereign border of Venezuela under the ridiculous pretext of bringing in humanitarian aid while, at the same time, keeping the country under draconian (and fully illegal) sanctions. The solution to a crisis brought about by a violation of law cannot be a wholesale abandonment of the very core principles of law, but such a solution can only be a restoration of law and order by legal means. Kinda obvious, but so many seem to forget this, that it is worth repeating. And here, I will again post a graphic which really says it all:

The most powerful tools in the arsenal of the Empire are not it's nuclear forces or its bloated, if generally ineffective, armed forces. The most powerful tool in the Empire's arsenal is its ability to frame the discussion, to set what is focused upon and what is obfuscated. The Empire's legacy corporate Ziomedia even dictates what words should or should not be used in a discussion (example: never speak of "illegal aggression" but speak of "humanitarian intervention").

This is why we must speak of " true sovereignty ", of " international law ", of " constitutional procedures " and of " aggression " and " threat of aggression " as war crimes. We need to continue to demand that basic fundamental principles of civilized societies (such as the principle of "innocent until proven guilty") be upheld by governments and by the media. We need to deny the rulers of the Empire the right to declare that they have the right to completely ignore the most sacred principles of the post-WWII international order . We need to continue to insist that a just international order can only be a multi-polar one; that a single World Hegemon can never deliver justice and that there shall be no peace if there is no justice. Finally, we need to ceaselessly demand that each country and each nation live according to its own traditions and beliefs and reject the notion that a single political model must, or even can, be applied universally.

These are all principles which the Neocons hate and which they would love to bundle together under a single all encompassing concept, like George Orwell's " crimethink ". Mostly, the Neocons like to use the "anti-Semite" and "anti-Semitic" to dismiss these principles, and when that fails, then "terrorist" is always available for use. Don't let them do that: every time they try that trick, immediately denounce it for what it is and continue focusing on what really matters. If we can force the Neocons to deal with these issues we win. It is really that simple.

It is impossible for me to guess how this conflict will play itself out. Will the brazen arrogance of "the Yankees" be enough to seriously red-pill the people of Venezuela and the rest of Latin America? Maybe. My hope and my gut feeling is that it might


Erebus , says: March 1, 2019 at 4:38 am GMT

Great lead graphic!

I'm probably the only one who's willing to entertain the possibility that Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams were chosen and placed with the Empire's demise in mind. They're almost comic book level caricatures of the worst any Empire could offer. Certainly, no serious empire would allow them more than a soapbox on an obscure street corner. Shouting wild-eyed, spittle filled gibberish at astonished passersby suits them better.

Anyway, give 'em some rope and they'll hang both themselves and the Empire with it. They've been given all the rope they can carry, and are blundering forward at such a pace they may yet hang the Empire before hanging themselves.

If the Russians didn't "suggest" it, they're counting their lucky stars. Do Presidents in private discussion make personnel suggestions? No idea, but if they do, Putin couldn't have suggested a better threesome. Having Grade A, strategically myopic, politically immune megalomaniacs manning the highest levels of your adversary's security apparatus, alienating both friends and neutrals while clusterf*cking every Imperial project they're charged with, sounds too good to be true.

I know, it's an idyll. Be that as it may, we should be grateful, rather than revulsed that they're at the helm. Coldly practical, talented Imperialists (such as a James Baker) would have a vastly better chance at extending the late stages of the Empire's life to the entire planet's detriment.

We're otherwise left with the hope the Russians have a sufficiently strong hold on their power cords to unplug them before they do something suicidally stupid.

Antiwar7 , says: March 1, 2019 at 6:06 am GMT
Good article, but perhaps a typo:

"Ineffectiveness of the US" -> "ineffectiveness of the UN"?

animalogic , says: March 1, 2019 at 7:14 am GMT
@Erebus I appreciate your sentiments re: the "almost comic book level caricatures of the worst any Empire could offer. "
My worry is: such bunglers, when presented with a crisis I shudder to imagine Bolton's reaction to a Cuban-missile level crisis
MarkU , says: March 1, 2019 at 10:09 am GMT
@Erebus Your suggestion is interesting and appears to have some face validity but it wouldn't really explain the willingness of other countries to support those policies.

My own view is that the hereditary oligarchs of the western world, by which I mean primarily the banking dynasties, are in the final stages of degeneration. Whilst the founders of those dynasties were evidently intelligent people (regardless of what one thinks of their ethics) their descendants evidently are not. Owing to the phenomenon known as the "mean recession to the norm" we now find ourselves ruled by mundane individuals who consider themselves practically supermen. The combination of arrogance, ignorance and a lack of real intellectual weight, in combination with a tendency to hire "advisers" who are telling them what they want to hear is destroying the west. The closest parallel is probably the end of the Roman empire. We are living in the modern equivalent of the days of Nero and Caligula.

Realist , says: March 1, 2019 at 11:11 am GMT
@Erebus

They're almost comic book level caricatures of the worst any Empire could offer. Certainly, no serious empire would allow them more than a soapbox on an obscure street corner. Shouting wild-eyed, spittle filled gibberish at astonished passersby suits them better.

The problem with empires is hubris and pomposity. They are so enamored with themselves they don't notice their ass showing.

War for Blair Mountain , says: March 1, 2019 at 1:18 pm GMT
This is why I don't have high hopes for Tulsi Gambard:she is not a ruthless debater, and therefore, she has allowed the neocons to define the terms of debate .The Framework .

Tulsi Gambard should have denounced John McCain Pompeo .Abrams as War Criminals who should be brought to justice ..

If the neocons responded:"ASSAD IS A WAR CRIMINAL!!! .Gambard should respond:"Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Trump Administration aid and abett ISIS in Syria ."

But Tulsi Gambard at the end of the day is a Democrat onboard with the race war against The Historic Native Born White Working Class Majority And this will be her focus during the Democratic Party POTUS debates .along with homo rights She will make the rights of homos in Iran a very high priority in her POTUS campaign.

Bloody Bill , says: March 1, 2019 at 4:50 pm GMT
Very good article. You're absolutely correct that the most powerful weapon the Zioempire has is framing the situation through the Ziomedia and other Zio talking heads.
Si1ver1ock , says: March 1, 2019 at 5:08 pm GMT

US leaders simply don't understand how hated the "Yankees" are in Latin America . . .

Where is Latin America's media? You would think it would be easy to inveigh against Yankees. They should have an entire news desk devoted to watching the US imperialists.

In Brazil, Brazil's corporate media led to Bolsonaro's victory. Why is there no strong opposition media? How did the Corporate Media get so dominant?

Maybe they need a fairness doctrine.

Beth Kimber , says: March 1, 2019 at 6:56 pm GMT
Magisterial work. One cavil: characterizing criminal officials by their ideology as "Neocons" plays into a particular aspect of US dogma. US state criminals like to pretend that everything is policy: Torture is policy. Aggression is policy. Coercive foreign interference is policy. Unilateral sanctions are policy. No, they're not, they're crimes. They're internationally wrongful acts.

US official criminality is not ideological but institutional. It emanates from particular organizations: from CIA, which depends on impunity for its existence; and CIA's Israeli cutouts, AIPAC, ADL, &c. CIA's Israeli cutouts carry out illegal domestic coercive interference for CIA including but not limited to bribery, blackmail, and propaganda.

If you want to make a state criminals' head pop like a zit, read them the laws that they're trying to wreck. The "basic fundamental principles of civilized societies" are real. They're written down in black and white:

https://ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/UniversalHumanRightsInstruments.aspx

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IntOrder/Pages/Reports.aspx
(The first rapporteur reports are most synoptic. Best to start there.)

When you can cite this law chapter and verse, you're ready to dismantle this criminal enterprise we call a government.

Johnny Rico , says: March 1, 2019 at 7:06 pm GMT
Greenwich Hedge Fund Is Mystery Firm Behind Venezuela Lawsuit
Anonymous [209] Disclaimer , says: March 1, 2019 at 8:28 pm GMT
"US politicians always resort to infantile comic-book kind of language"

That reminds me this "anglozionist" thing I keep hearing about. I think you are all meant to be inthe same schoolyard together. Project much?

Art , says: March 1, 2019 at 9:41 pm GMT
How can Venezuela ever be a normal country as long as the US and Jews money bags have control of their finances and oil?

Venezuela needs something like what happens in Alaska with oil – ever citizen gets a yearly payment.

Trump says he wants the oil – F*ck him!

Anonymous [109] Disclaimer , says: March 2, 2019 at 1:28 am GMT
@MarkU Yes, this globalist fish is rotting from the head down. Mediocrities on the top are very confident and completely out of their depth. This will get ugly.
Curmudgeon , says: March 2, 2019 at 1:35 am GMT
International Law, and law in general, mean nothing to Israel and all of its client states, especially the USA. Israel and the US are the only states that consistently ignore judgements against them.
Venezuela, like Iraq, is doomed. The only questions ares how much damage will be done, and how will it be inflicted?
Capitalism and communism both thrive on conflict, and are intolerant of other economic systems, of which Venezuela is one.
Alfred , says: March 2, 2019 at 3:05 am GMT
@Erebus I think the Russians must be relieved that the Americans are busy concocting narratives away from the Ukraine. However, Porky is busy trying to regain their attention.

Here is the Kiev version – a total travesty of the truth:

Four Ukrainian soldiers wounded in action in Donbas since Tuesday morning 09:49, 27 February 2019 War 855 0 Nine invaders were killed on Tuesday, intelligence reports say

https://www.unian.info/war/10461597-jfo-four-ukrainian-soldiers-wounded-in-action-in-donbas-since-tuesday-morning.html

Here is a more likely version. Attackers invariably lose more soldiers when attacking – as they reveal themselves and lose their cover.

Ukraine Loses Nearly 40 Troops in Fighting

https://www.fort-russ.com/2019/03/full-donbass-sit-rep-ukraine-loses-nearly-40-troops-in-fighting/

redmudhooch , says: March 2, 2019 at 3:12 am GMT
This one won't be as easy as the Reagan era coups. The Venezuelans are pretty well armed and ready to defend their homeland. Abrams and his goons were good at massacring indigenous villagers armed with machetes. Venezuela knew this was coming, so they have prepared.

I think this will be as successful as the attempted coup on Erdogan, and will backfire on the Wall St neocon scum spectacularly. Trump is a fool.

Some history on Reagan-Abrams Latin American coups:
ROBERT PARRY: With the US Meddling Again in Latin America, a Look Back at How Washington Promoted Genocide in Guatemala
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/01/27/robert-parry-with-the-us-meddling-again-in-latin-america-a-look-back-at-how-washington-promoted-genocide/

Leaning , says: March 2, 2019 at 3:41 am GMT
I know people who have been on the ground in Venezuela. It does sound pretty terrible. They pay their employees with food. Now why this is, sanctions or awful government I don't pretend to know.
Harry , says: March 2, 2019 at 5:07 am GMT
I am a Chinese. I know quite a few Chinese people object to the legitimacy of Chinese government.
My neighbor is an Iran family. I have seen demonstration against Iranian policy back home held by Iranian immigrants on the street in my city. I have also worked in Russia for many years. How can the author say "The US has already terminally alienated the people of China, Russia and the leaders of China, Russia, Iran have enjoyed the support of their people"?
Quite contrary to the statement. , a few or even a lot of the Chinese, Russian and Iranian people do no like their government and have to live with it.
Diasdado Cabello already sent two children to China via Moscow.
Even if US do not use force, Maduro will lose grip of power because water(people) can carry boat(government) and sink boats too!
Fatima Manoubia , says: March 2, 2019 at 3:09 pm GMT
@Si1ver1ock

In Brazil, Brazil's corporate media led to Bolsonaro's victory.

Not true, what led to Bolsonaro´s victory was, in the first place the connivance of the judicial system with the far-right to keep Lula Da Silva in jail and thus unable to concur to the elections ( which he would have winned, as the polls were clearly showing ) under invented charges, and in the second place a social media massive campaign on fake-news related to the left candidate which were spreaded by WhatsApp application to hundreds of thousands of Brazilians directed by no other than Steve Bannon, which after that was denounced and already apologized by WhatsApp ( but apologies does not reverse an unfair elections result .)
The same strategy on massive WhatsApp messages was unfolded during Andalusian elections in Spain in favor of far-right party Vox .

Why is there no strong opposition media? How did the Corporate Media get so dominant?

Because they lack the money. Because they have the money.

Where is Latin America's media? You would think it would be easy to inveigh against Yankees. They should have an entire news desk devoted to watching the US imperialists.

LatinAmerica´s media have been since ages in the hands of the cacique elites comprador of the USA. Why wiould be easy to inveigh against yankees for LatinAmericans who, until recently, were mainly illiterate people ( that only changing a bit under socialist tendence governments ) left in that state by the "elites" in charge during fascist dictatorships stablished by the US, when i tis not easy even for European people far more literate and having experienced far more years of, at least resembling, democracy?
Can you in the US inveigh corporate media? I am seeing you are not capable, thus ..

Commentator Mike , says: March 2, 2019 at 4:21 pm GMT
While of course international law must be promoted, as it supposedly is by everyone, even by the US whenever it suits its purpose, nobody really gives a rat's ass about it, as it is hardly ever upheld if it stands in the way of the powerful and mighty.

I think what has really deterred the US military intervention so far has not been mentioned, but the planners in the State Department, CIA, Pentagon, and wherever else they make such decisions, have surely considered it, are the masses of freedom loving and anti-imperialist, and mostly left wing, people of South and Latin America, in spite whatever the political coloration of their present governments and regardless of what their MSM spew out as being public opinion.

An invasion of Venezuela by the US military, even with any Colombian and Brazilian assistance, has the potential to ignite the entire region and seriously threaten US long-term interests and the newly elected right wing governments, and surely this is the last thing they would all want. I think the protests and public unrest US military intervention would unleash would be something unseen of in this world previously, and would make the Yellow Vests protests look like a weekend picnic. Not to mention the potential for revitalising guerilla wars and terrorist activity in an area rich with "gringo" targets. I don't think the US, or the current leaders of Brazil, Colombia, etc. would want the region to plunge into chaos. The US got away with it with Grenada and Panama, but taking on a country such as Venezuela would send a much stronger message to the people elsewhere. Especially if the Venezuelans can offer a stiff resistance and not cave in quickly, or mount a viable insurgency against any US occupation quisling government.

Maybe this Maduro regime is useless and doesn't deserve to survive, and doesn't merit popular support inside and outside of the country, but US imperialist machinations and interests throughout the region surely deserve a severe drubbing, and more than just a bloody nose, considering the bloody history of US interference, and I think the Latinos are capable of it.

War for Blair Mountain , says: March 2, 2019 at 4:43 pm GMT
John Bolton=John Wayne Gacey .The Police should rip out the floorboards in John Bolton's home
Daninmd , says: March 2, 2019 at 10:04 pm GMT
It is not simply a smokescreen to say that Maduro has brought poverty and economic collapse. I believe that true legimacy in the eyes of GNON derives from success or failure. Maduro is not illegitimate because he the US says so. He is illegitimate in the eyes of GNON because he is unimaginably incompetent and has brought national economic failure in one of the most resource rich nations on Earth where prosperity should be easy. By sharp contrast I mobilized my network hard against international efforts to unseat Assad because I felt his competence made him naturally the legitimate leader of an almost unrulable place.
Patricus , says: March 3, 2019 at 12:08 am GMT
A term like "Anglo-Zionist propaganda" is awkwardly descriptive of the United States. Anglo Saxons were the founders of the nation but are now a small minority dwarfed by German Americans, Italian Americans, Irish Americans, Latino Americans and African Americans. Zionists or Jews are a similarly tiny percentage in the land. None of these much larger groups have any love for Anglo Saxons and most have no clue nor interest in who is a Jew.
Iris , says: March 3, 2019 at 2:31 am GMT
@MarkU "Your suggestion is interesting and appears to have some face validity but it wouldn't really explain the willingness of other countries to support those policies. "

Most Western countries have lost any autonomy in defining their foreign policy and are obliged to follow that drawn out by the US/Israel-based "Neo Conservatives" instead.

The turning point at which stage this autonomy was lost occurred about 30 years ago, when financial globalisation rendered national sovereignty almost obsolete and established overwhelming primacy of the banking industry over nation states.

The banking dynasties have reached such a level of control over Western democracies that they can impose obedient and intellectually-challenged "yes-men" such as Bolton in foremost positions, while in the past they would have to make compromise with more powerful political apparatus and civil service, and accept "talented imperialists such as James Baker".

The real question that deserves an honest answer should be: do the interests and agenda of the banking oligarchy really match those of the Western countries they control?

redmudhooch , says: March 3, 2019 at 3:00 am GMT
@Leaning

I know people who have been on the ground in Venezuela. It does sound pretty terrible. They pay their employees with food. Now why this is, sanctions or awful government I don't pretend to know.

Come on man, how many times have we seen this now? Yeah of course there are poor people in Vene. like anywhere else, including America, but they're much better off under Chavez/Maduro than they were when CIA puppets were in charge. The majority of refugees fleeing to America are coming from countries where CIA puppets are in control, Honduras for example, which the obama/Clinton regime overthrew in 2009, is where the "caravans" are coming from.
Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela still have democratically elected govts. in place, there are minimal immigrants/refugees coming from these countries. But Bolton, Pompeo, Abrams, and Trump aim to change that. So expect more "invaders" if they get their way.

After Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, etc you can't see what the "problem" is? Sanctions are siege warfare, nothing less. Sanctions are intended to starve people into submission or turn them against their govt. Add to that sabotage by the elites in the country that own the warehouses and distribution, hoarding needed items. This is the same playbook they've been using for decades now.

All the information is out there, I would suggest you check out Abby Martins videos on youtube, Grayzone Project website and videos, Jimmy Dores videos, John Pilgers videos, all of it is explained pretty well. Search youtube for CIA Coups Latin America. I would post a lot of the videos but I don't want to hog up the page. Sometimes I think people here choose to be willfully ignorant, the internet is your friend! The CIA/Wall St crowd wants to loot Venezuela, this is nothing new, read the link in my comment above for some history on CIA plundering and genocide in Latin America. Read Smedley Butlers book "War is a Racket". Telesur is a good source for news in Latin America also.

https://www.telesurenglish.net

War Is A Racket By Major General Smedley Butler
https://ia802605.us.archive.org/29/items/WarIsARacket/WarIsARacket.pdf

John Pilger The War On Democracy
http://johnpilger.com/videos/the-war-on-democracy

Financial blockade: Chronology of a strategy to destroy Venezuela
http://misionverdad.com/mv-in-english/financial-blockade-chronology-of-a-strategy-to-destroy-venezuela

redmudhooch , says: March 3, 2019 at 3:15 am GMT
Heres another interesting article on CIA/mercenary operations in Miami. Read the article then think about 9/11 and all the connections there. Add the "mass shootings" in Orlando and Parkland. Sure are a lot of coincidences when you start looking..

Miami and southern Florida were major operating areas for cells of Israeli Mossad agents masquerading as "art students," who were living and working near some of the identified future Arab "hijackers" in the months preceding 9/11.

Military Intervention and Mercenaries, Inc. (MIAMI)
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/03/01/military-intervention-and-mercenaries-inc-miami.html

Blockbuster: Wikileaks Suppressed, Mossad ran 9/11 Arab "hijacker" terrorist operation
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/03/10/blockbuster-wikileaks-suppressed-mossad-ran-911-arab-hijacker-terrorist-operation/

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/9-11BasicQuestions.php

So when is the CIA/Mossad labeled as "terrorist" organizations? Long overdue.

Iris , says: March 3, 2019 at 4:11 am GMT
@redmudhooch Great comment, thank you for taking the time to summarise all this valuable information.
Commentator Mike , says: March 3, 2019 at 4:53 am GMT
@redmudhooch Some people are blind and deaf, or just fools who repeat ad nauseam Einstein's definition of an idiot, or just shameless idiots (as in that saying "fool me once ), or just plain bastards propagating the eternal lie, or bots (but do they really need to pay people to post comments on websites with so many idiots anyway taken in by their MSM lies?). It's a shame seeing people propagating viewpoints of the wealthy and powerful, especially when they won't benefit in any way when their evil plans come to fruition. What benefits did ordinary westerners get from supporting wars in the Middle East? Getting blown up by terrorists and raped by invading refugees in their own countries maybe.

Thanks for the links and videos but I for one can't be bothered looking at the details, finer points, and all the wealth of evidence that proves a point – by now I know the general outline of things, it's always the same old, same old, just applied to a new country. Anyway good work on collating all this and hopefully it benefits someone not yet convinced.

[Mar 02, 2019] The Trump presidency From the Manhattan underworld to the White House by Patrick Martin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Trump's "opposition" in the Democratic Party is no less hostile to democratic rights. They have focused their anti-Trump campaign on bogus allegations that he is a Russian agent, while portraying the emergence of social divisions within the United States as the consequence of Russian "meddling," not the crisis of capitalism, and pushing for across-the-board internet censorship. ..."
Mar 01, 2019 | www.wsws.org

"The finance aristocracy, in its mode of acquisition as well as in its pleasures, is nothing but the rebirth of the lumpenproletariat on the heights of bourgeois society ." -- Karl Marx, The Class Struggles in France

What Marx described, in his analysis of the corruption of the bourgeoisie in France leading up to the 1848 revolution, applies with even greater force to the United States of 2019, where the bourgeoisie faces its own rendezvous with social upheaval and explosive class battles.

That is how a Marxist understands the spectacle of Wednesday's hearing before the House Oversight Committee, in which Michael Cohen, the former attorney and "fixer" for Donald Trump for more than a decade, testified for six hours about how he and his boss worked to defraud business partners and tax collectors, intimidate critics and suppress opposition to Trump's acitvities in real estate, casino gambling, reality television and, eventually, electoral politics.

What Cohen described was a seedier version of an operation that most Americans would recognize from viewing films like The Godfather: Trump as the capo di tutti capi, the unquestioned authority who must be consulted on every decision ; the children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric, each now playing significant roles in the ongoing family criminal enterprise; Allen Weisselberg, CFO of the Trump Organization, the consigliere in charge of finance, mentioned by Cohen more than 20 times in the course of six hours of testimony as the man who facilitated Trump's schemes to evade taxes, deceive banks or stiff business partners.

Cohen himself was an enforcer. By his own account, he threatened people on Trump's behalf at least 500 times in a ten-year period, including business associates, politicians, journalists and anyone seeking to file complaints or gain reimbursement after being defrauded by one or another Trump venture. The now-disbarred lawyer admitted to tape recording clients -- including Trump among many others -- more than 100 times during this period.

The incidents recounted by Cohen range from the farcical (Trump browbeating colleges and even his military prep school not to release his grades or test scores), to the shabby (Trump having his own "charitable" foundation buy a portrait of himself for $60,000), to the brazenly criminal (deliberately inflating the value of properties when applying for bank loans while deflating the value of the same properties as much as twenty-fold in order to evade taxation).

One of the most remarkable revelations was Cohen's flat assertion that Trump himself did not enter the presidential race with the expectation that he could win either the Republican nomination or the presidency. Instead, the billionaire reality television "star" regularly told his closest aides, the campaign would be the "greatest infomercial in political history," good for promoting his brand and opening up business opportunities in previously closed markets.

These unflattering details filled the pages of the daily newspapers Thursday and occupied many hours on the cable television news. But in all that vast volume of reporting and commentary, one would look in vain for any serious assessment of what it means, in terms of the historical development and future trajectory of American society, that a family like the Trumps now occupies the highest rung in the US political system.

The World Socialist Web Site rejects efforts by the Democrats and the corporate media to dismiss Trump as an aberration, an accidental figure whose unexpected elevation to the presidency in 2016 will be "corrected" through impeachment, forced resignation or electoral defeat in 2020. We insist that the Trump administration is a manifestation of a protracted crisis and breakdown of American democracy, whose course can be traced back at least two decades to the failed impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998-99, followed by the stolen presidential election of 2000.

The US political system, always dominated by the interests of the capitalist ruling class that controls both of the major parties, the Democrats as much as the Republicans, is breaking down under the burden of mounting social tensions, driven above all by skyrocketing economic inequality. It is impossible to sustain the pretense that elections at two-year and four-year intervals provide genuine popular influence over the functioning of a government so completely subordinated to the financial aristocracy.

The figures are familiar but require restating: over the past three decades, virtually all the increase in wealth in American society has gone to a tiny layer at the top. Three mega-billionaires -- Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates -- now control more wealth than half the American population. This process of social polarization is global: according to the most recent Oxfam report, 26 billionaires control more wealth than the poorer half of the human race.

These billionaires did not accumulate their riches by devising new technologies or making new scientific discoveries that increased the wealth and happiness of humanity as a whole. On the contrary, their enrichment has come at the expense of society. Bezos has become the world's richest man through the emergence of Amazon as the greatest sweatshop enterprise in history, where every possible second of labor power is extracted from a brutally exploited workforce.

The class of billionaires as a whole, having precipitated the global financial collapse of 2008 through reckless speculation and swindling in the sale of derivatives and other obscure financial "products," was bailed out, first by the Republican Bush, then by the Democrat Obama, to the tune of trillions of dollars. Meanwhile, the jobs, living standards and social conditions for the great mass of working people sharply declined.

As for Donald Trump, the real estate swindler, casino con man and reality television mogul is a living demonstration of the truth of Balzac's aphorism: "Behind every great fortune is a great crime."

Trump toyed with running for president on the ultra-right Reform Party ticket in 2000 after a long stint as a registered Democrat and donor to both capitalist parties. When he decided to run for president as a Republican in 2016, however, he had shifted drastically to the right. His candidacy marked the emergence of a distinctly fascistic movement, as he spewed anti-immigrant prejudice and racism more generally, while making a right-wing populist appeal to working people, particularly in de-industrialized areas in the Midwest and Appalachia, on the basis of economic nationalism.

As World Socialist Web Site editorial board Chairman David North explained even before the 2016 elections:

The Republican nominee for the presidency of the United States did not emerge from an American version of a Munich beer hall. Donald Trump is a billionaire, who made his money in Manhattan real estate swindles, the semi-criminal operations of casino gambling, and the bizarre world of "reality television," which entertains and stupefies its audience by manufacturing absurd, disgusting and essentially fictional "real life" situations. The candidacy of Donald Trump could be described as the transfer of the techniques of reality television to politics.

The main development in the two years since Trump entered the White House is the emergence of the American working class into major struggles, beginning with the wave of teachers' strikes in 2018, initiated by the rank and file in defiance of the bureaucratic unions. The reaction in the American ruling elite is a panic-stricken turn to authoritarian methods of rule.

The billionaire in the White House is now engaged in a systematic assault on the foundations of American democracy. He has declared a national emergency in order to bypass Congress, which holds the constitutional "power of the purse," and divert funds from the military and other federal departments to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Whether or not he is immediately successful in this effort, it is clear that Trump is moving towards the establishment of an authoritarian regime, with or without the sanction of the ballot box. As Cohen observed in his closing statement -- in remarks generally downplayed by the media and ignored by the Democrats -- he is worried that if Trump loses the 2020 election, "there will never be a peaceful transition of power."

Trump's "opposition" in the Democratic Party is no less hostile to democratic rights. They have focused their anti-Trump campaign on bogus allegations that he is a Russian agent, while portraying the emergence of social divisions within the United States as the consequence of Russian "meddling," not the crisis of capitalism, and pushing for across-the-board internet censorship.

The defense of democratic rights and genuine resistance to Trump's drive toward authoritarian rule must come through the development of an independent political movement of the working class, directed against both big business parties, the Democrats as much as the Republicans, and against the profit system which they both defend.

[Feb 27, 2019] Ukraine government in armed standoff with nationalist militia

This is from 2015. Not much changed... But relevant for Venezuela. So what will happen with Venesuellians if the color revolution suceeed, is easy to predict using Ukrainian example
Notable quotes:
"... Ukraine, what a mess. As though it was ever about the people. It was a grab for resources, 19-century style. But with 21st-century stakes. You can see what the West is after when you look at the US-Ukraine Business Council. ..."
"... Meanwhile last night & this morning, just to distract the people of what is going on in the West, Kiev launched a massive shelling over Donetsk and other places in Donbass using weapons forbbiden by the Minsk agreements, including Tor missiles, one of which fell at a railway station but didn't explode... it was defused by emergency workers but the proof is there if you care to see... it was thesecond biggest attack since the cease fire... ..."
"... This is the IMF hired guns now going after the very people who helped the Wall Street IMF shysters in the illegitimate coup and the set up of the illegitimate Kiev junta, a mix of half Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian mongrels. ..."
"... Furthermore, instead of bringing in the people who helped overthrow Janukovich into the government fold, the IMF is placing it's foreign collaborators in ministerial positions by making them instant Ukrainian citizens, while keeping the right wing, without whose help the coup would not have succeeded, out of government and slowly trying to eliminate them with their private foreign mercenary force. ..."
"... Madame "F*ck the EU Nuland from the US state department bordello, a devout Zionist, enticed these supposed Ukrainian NAZIs to help her in her dirty deeds, no doubt with promises of power sharing. ..."
"... She no doubt got her position not by intelligence but by connections. More than 6000 Ukrainians, human beings, innocent men women and children, have died in madame Nuland's engineered coup, putting her in league with her mentor, Henry Kissinger, aka the butcher of Vietnam. ..."
"... The Ukrainian sub-saharan African minimum wage is now being accompanied by Somali-style politics. ..."
"... The BBC are bravely sticking to their decision not to report this story. Congratulations are in order for such dedication. The graun protected its readership from this confusing information for 24 hours and then caved to the temptation to report news. Too bad. ..."
"... Can we officially congratulate Nuland for a crappy job and also for providing Putin with all the tools he needed to bring back Ukraine under his wing. False flag operations for American private interests must stop now. They are immoral, unethical and only bring death and destruction to otherwise stable societies. The UN should have a say. ..."
"... Neither Azov nor Right Sector want peace. On 3 July 4,000 men from these units protested in Kiev, calling for resumption of the war against the eastern provinces. They favour ethnic cleansing. ..."
"... The west would not have dialogue with Russia because it was not what Washington wanted. Washington wanted to push a wedge between Russia and EU at any cost even 6500 lives and unfortunately they succeeded ..."
"... The Right Sector does not exist, or if it does, it has been created by Moscow. The crisis in Greece is also the work of Russian agents. The ISIS is financed and trained by Putin. Ebola was cooked up in a laboratory in Saint Petersburg. Look for the Russian! ..."
"... this is what happens when you play with fire: you get burned. Using Neo-Nazi's to implement Nato expansionist policies was always a very bad idea. It's just a shame it is not people like Victoria 'fuck the EU' Nuland who will have to suffer the blowback consequences- it is the poor Ukrainian people. This is not that different to what has happened in Libya- where Islamic extremists were used as a proxy force to oust Gaddafi. ..."
"... the jihadists in Ukraine are the integral part of Iraqization of Ukraine. The lovers of Nuland's cookies are still in denial that Ukraine was destined by the US plutocrats to become a sacrificial lamb in a fight to preserve the US dollar hegemony. ..."
"... Why, don't you know? They infiltrated Ukraine, the CIA (and NATO and the EU somehow) created Maidan, their agents killed the protesters, then they overthrew a legitimate government and installed a neo-nazi one, proceeded to instigate a brutal oppression against Russian speakers, then started a war against the peaceful Eastern Ukrainians and their innocent friends in the Kremlin, etc etc. Ignorant question that, by now you should know the narrative! ..."
"... The BBC investigative reported earlier this year that a section of Maidan protesters deliberately started shooting the police. This story was also reported in the Guardian. Google and you will easily find it. The BBC also reported that the Prosecutors Office in Kiev was forbidden by Rada officials from investigating Maiden shooters. ..."
"... have you ever studied geography? If yes, you should remember the proximity of Ukraine to Russia (next door) and the proximity of Ukraine to the US (thousands miles away). Also, have you heard about the CIA Director Brennan and his covert visit to Kiev on the eve of the beginning of the civil war in Ukraine? This could give you an informed hint about the causes of the war. Plus you may be interested to learn about Mrs. Nuland-Kagan (Ms. Nudelman), her cookies, and her foul language. She is, by the way, a student of Dick Cheney. If you were born before 2000, you might know his name and his role in the Iraq catastrophe. Mrs. Nuland-Kagan (and the family of Kagans she belongs to) finds particular pleasure in creating military conflicts around the globe. It is not for nothing that the current situation in Ukraine is called Iraqization of Eastern Europe. ..."
"... This newspaper and other western media documented the armed members of far right groups on Maidan. One BBC journalist was actually shot at by a Svoboda sniper, operating from Hotel Ukraina - the video is still on the BBC website. ..."
"... As predicted the real civil war in Ukraine is still to happen. The split between the east and the ordinary Ukrainian was largely manufactured ..."
"... "When the Guardian claims to be a fearless champion of investigative journalism - as it is, in some areas - why did it obey the dictats of the US neocon media machine which rules all Western mainstream media over the Ukrainian land grab, instead of telling the truth, at that time?" ..."
"... in time Ukrainians will regard Maidan's aftermath as most of them view the Orange Revolution -- with regret and cynicism. ..."
"... Of course the Guardian doesn't like to explain that 'Right Sector' are genuine fascists - by their own admission! These fascists, who wear Nazi insignia, were the people who overthrew the elected government of Ukraine in the US / EU-supported coup - which the Guardianistas and other PC-brainwashed duly cheered on as a supposed triumph of democracy. Since that glorious US-financed and EU-backed coup, wholly illegal under international law, Ukraine's economy has collapsed, as has Ukrainians' living standards. ..."
The Guardian

HollyOldDog gimmeshoes 13 Jul 2015 20:40

The Georgian authorities have asked Interpol to put a Red notice on Mikheil Saakashvili as the request to Ukraine to return him for trial in Georgia was refused.
ww3orbust PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 20:22
That does not detract from the fact that the Ukrainian cabinet has been chosen by the US state department. Natives of the US, Georgia and Lithuania were hastily granted Ukrainian citizenship in order to maintain an iron grip on Ukraine, while accusing Putin of appointing majors or governors - in his capacity as head of state?
ww3orbust 13 Jul 2015 20:16
Amazing, nothing at all mentioned by the BBC. It does not fit in to their narrative to see the country descend into a new stage of anarchy, between the people who murdered police and protesters on Maidan square, and the US state department installed cabinet. Presumably if Right Sector refuse to disarm and continue torturing civilians and murdering police, the BBC will continue to ignore it and focus instead on its Russo-phobic narrative, while accusing Russia of propaganda with the self-righteous piety that only the BBC are capable of. Or god forbid, more stories about what colour stool our future king has produced this week.
jgbg Omniscience 13 Jul 2015 18:42

Diverse Unity sounds much better than Nazi

http://rt.com/files/news/russia-national-unity-day-celebrations-976/russian-attend-demonstration-national-261.jpg

The thing is, Ukraine is unique in allowing their Nazi thugs to be armed and have some semi-official status. Everywhere else (including Russia), governments are looking to constrain the activities of Nazis and prosecute them where possible.

jgbg Pwedropackman 13 Jul 2015 18:26

If it was not for the right sector, Ukraine would still be one united nation.

Them and Svoboda. If it had just been Orange Revolution II, with a simple change of Jewish oligarchs in charge, there might have been some complaints but little more. It is the Russian-hating far right that has brought about the violence and everything that has happened since.

PrinceEdward GreatMountainEagle 13 Jul 2015 18:22

Last I heard, Ukraine owes China billions for undelivered Grain.

HollyOldDog gimmeshoes 13 Jul 2015 18:11

But the Euro Maidan press is just an Ukrainian rag that invents stories to support its corrupt government in Kiev.

jgbg PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 17:54

I forget the article, but in the comments I mentioned that multiple Georgians were being appointed to high level positions by Kiev, and some Russophobe called me a liar.

Not a few days later, Shakashvilli was appointed governor of Odessa. An ex-president of another country, as governor of a province in another one! Apparently, none of the millions upon millions of Ukrainians were qualified for the job.

Sakashvilli's former Minister of Internal Affairs in Georgia, Eka Zguladze, is First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. Of course, the Georgian people removed these chumps from power the first chance they got but the Ukrainian electorate haven't had any say in the appointments of foreigners in their country.

Vatslav Rente , 13 Jul 2015 17:44

Well ... when it comes to Ukraine, the need to stock up on popcorn. This bloody and unpredictable plot is not even in the "Game of Thrones." And this is only the middle of the second season.
Today Speaker of the "RS" Andrew Sharaskin, said: Sports Complex in Mukachevo where the shooting occurred, was used as the base of the separatists DNR.
- A place 1,000 kilometers from Donetsk! But it's a great excuse to murder the guard in the café and wounded police officers.
I think tomorrow will say that there have seen Russian Army tanks and Putin - 100%
"Ukraine is part of Europe" - the slogans of the Maidan in action...

jgbg gimmeshoes , 13 Jul 2015 17:42

Pravyi Sektor were not wrong. However, you cannot have armed groups cleaning up corruption outside the law...that only works in Gotham City.

Right Sector weren't trying to clean up corruption, they were simply trying to muscle in on the cigarette smuggling business. If Right Sector cared about crime and public order, they wouldn't be driving around, armed to the teeth, in vehicles stolen in the EU. (In the video linked in the article, all of their vehicles have foreign number plates. At least one of those vehicles is on the Czech police stolen vehicle database: http://zpravy.idnes.cz/pravy-sektor-mel-v-mukacevu-auta-s-ceskymi-spz-fqj-/zahranicni.aspx?c=A150713_102110_zahranicni_jj)

Right Sector are no strangers to such thuggery - remember their failed attempt to extort a casino in Odessa?

Laurence Johnson, 13 Jul 2015 17:18
The EU and the US have stated on many occasions that there are "No Right Wing Nationalists" operating in Ukraine and its simply propaganda by Putin.

So there shouldn't be anything to worry about should there ?

Stas Ustymenko hfakos 13 Jul 2015 15:15

Yes, yes. You seem to tolerate Medvedchuk and Baloga mafias way better, for years. Transcarpathian Region is the most corrupt in all of Ukraine (which is quite a fit). What we see here is a gang war in fatigues.

tanyushka Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 15:14

sorry i posted the same above... i was just to hasty.. sorry again...

in the main picture of the same article it's interesting to notice the age of most of the conscripted soldiers... they are in their 30's, theirs 40's and even in their 50's... it's forced conscription, they are not volunteers... while all the DPR & LPR soldiers are real volunteers...

an uncle, the father of a cousin, was conscripted in Kherson... my cousin had to run away to South American to say with an aunt to avoid conscription... many men are doing it in Ukraine nowadays... not because they are cowards but because they don't want to kill their brothers & sisters for the benefit of the oligarchs and their NATO masters (and mistresses...)

did you know that all the conscripts have to pay for their own uniforms and other stuff, while in the National Guard and the oligarchs batallions everything is top quality and for free... including bulletproof vests and other implements courtesy of NATO

Demi Boone 13 Jul 2015 15:13

Well finally they reveal themselves. These Ukraine Nationalists are the people who instigated the anarchy and shootings at Maidan and used it as an excuse to wrongfully drive out an elected President and in the chaos that followed bring in a coup Government which represents only West-Ukraine and suppress' East-Ukraine. You are looking at the face of the real Maidan and not the dream that a lot of people have tried to paint it to be.

Stas Ustymenko MartinArvay 13 Jul 2015 15:11

Many Right Sector members are indeed patriots. But it looks like the organisation itself is, sadly, much more useful for providing thugs for hire than "justice".

BMWAlbert PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 14:20

But seriously, the naval base is probably the reason, it is too important for some interests to have a less-reliable (Ukrainian) in charge, this is a job only for the most trusted poodles. If things had gone differently, the tie-eatimng chap would have been appointed Mayor of Sebastopol.

BMWAlbert PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 14:15

There appears to be a Quisling-shortage in Ukraine at present.

Stas Ustymenko obscurant 13 Jul 2015 13:32

More accurately, Kolomoyskiy is Ukrainian oligarch. Who happens to be ethnically, culturally and, by all accounts, religiously, a Jew.

Stas Ustymenko Kaiama 13 Jul 2015 13:24

Ukrainian Volunteer Corps of the Right Sector fighting in Donbass is two battalions. How is this a "key organization"? They are a well-known brand and fought bravely on some occasions, but the wider org is way too eager to brandish arms outside of combat or training. They will be reigned in, one way or another, and soon.

GameOverManGameOver Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 12:02

Shh shh shh. This news does not exist yet in the western media, therefore it's nothing but Russian propaganda.

Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 11:54

It gets worse - soldiers from the UA are now refusing to follow orders in protest against the total anarchy sweeping the chain of command, and their lack of rest and equipment.

Story here.

EugeneGur , 13 Jul 2015 11:21

Tensions have been rising between the government and the Right Sector militia that has helped it fight pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

Finally, the Guardian decided to report the actual new after satisfying itself with ample discussion of the quality of Russian cheeses. Right sector "helped" to fight "separatists"? Really? Does Alec Luhn know that there are currently two (!) RS battalions at the front and 19 (!) inside Ukraine? They are some warriors. Now they are occupying themselves fighting as criminals they are for the control of contraband.

At the ATO zone, they help consists of plundering, murdering and raping the local population. They enter a village, take everything of value from houses and then blow them up. They rape women and girls as young as 10 years old. They've been doing this for more than a year, and we've been telling you that for more than a year. But apparently in the fight against "pro-Russian separatists" everything is good. These crimes are so widespread, even the Ukrainian "government" is worried this will eventually becomes impossible to deny. Some battalions such as Shakhtersk and Aidar have been officially accused of crimes and ompletely or partially reformed.
Examples:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/EUR50/040/2014/en/
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=bfb_1413804655

Jeremn, 13 Jul 2015 11:16

Ukraine, what a mess. As though it was ever about the people. It was a grab for resources, 19-century style. But with 21st-century stakes. You can see what the West is after when you look at the US-Ukraine Business Council. It bring NATO, Monsanto and the Heritage Foundation under one roof:

The US-Ukraine Business Council's 16-member Executive Committee is packed with US agribusiness companies, including representatives from Monsanto, John Deere, DuPont Pioneer, Eli Lilly, and Cargill.

The Council's 20 'senior Advisors' include James Greene (Former Head of NATO Liason Office Ukraine); Ariel Cohen (Senior Research Fellow for The Heritage Foundation); Leonid Kozachenko (President of the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation); six former US Ambassadors to Ukraine, and the former ambassador of Ukraine to the US, Oleh Shamshur.

Stas Ustymenko Jeremn 13 Jul 2015 11:14

You'd be surprised, but I like Bandera (controversial as he was) way more than I trust some people who wrap themselves in his red-and-black Rebel banner. Yarosh included. Banderite rebellion ended 60 years ago. Its major goal was establishing a "united, free Ukrainian state"; by contrast, stated ultimate goals of the Right Sector are way murkier; I'm not sure even most of the movement's members are clear on what these are.

With present actions, Right Sector has a huge image problem in the West. If it will come to all-out conflict, no doubt the West will back Poroshenko government over a loose confederation of armed dudes linked by the thin thread of 30ies ideology (suspect even then). And the West will be right.

Stas Ustymenko Nik2 13 Jul 2015 11:03

Methinks you're way overselling a thug turf war as "major political event. Truth is, the region has been long in the hands of organized crime. The previous regime incorporated and controlled almost all organized crime in the country, hence no visible conflict. Now, individual players try to use temporary uncertainty to their advantage.

Right Sector claims they were trying to fight the smuggling, but this doesn't sound plausible. The word is, what's behind the events is struggle for control over lucrative smuggling between two individuals (who are both "businessmen" and "politicians", members of Parliament). Both are old-school players, formerly affiliated with Yanukovitch party. One just was savvy enough to buy himself some muscle under Right Sector banner. Right Sector will either have to straighten out its fighters (which it may not be able to do) or disappear as a political player. I fail to see how people see anything "neo-Nazi" in this gang shootout.

PaddyCannuck Cavirac 13 Jul 2015 10:21

Nobody here is an apologist for Stalin, who was a brutal and cruel despot, and the deportations of the Crimean Tatars were quite indefensible. However, a few observations might lend some perspective.

1. Crimea has been invaded and settled by an almost endless succession of peoples over the millennia. The Crimean Tatars (who are of Turkic origin) were by no means the first, nor indeed the last, and cannot in any meaningful sense be regarded as the indigenous people of Crimea.
2. The Crimean Tatars scarcely endeared themselves to the Russians, launching numerous raids, devastating many towns, including the burning of Moscow in 1571, and sending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Russians into slavery in the Ottoman Empire.
3. The deportations took place in 1942 - 1943 against the backdrop of World War II, when a lot of bad stuff happened, including -
4. The American (and also Canadian) citizens of Japanese ethnicity who had their property confiscated and were likewise shipped off to camps. Their treatment, if anything, was worse.

Sevastopol, Pearl Harbor. What's the difference? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

tanyushka Pwedropackman 13 Jul 2015 10:10

http://rt.com/news/207899-un-anti-nazism-resolution/

http://www.un.org/en/ga/third/69/docs/voting_sheets/L56.Rev1.pdf

do these links answer your question?

tanyushka 13 Jul 2015 09:55

Meanwhile last night & this morning, just to distract the people of what is going on in the West, Kiev launched a massive shelling over Donetsk and other places in Donbass using weapons forbbiden by the Minsk agreements, including Tor missiles, one of which fell at a railway station but didn't explode... it was defused by emergency workers but the proof is there if you care to see... it was thesecond biggest attack since the cease fire...

Nik2 6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:53

Not exactly. By now, BBC has made good coverage of these events in Ukrainian and Russian languages, but not in English. It looks like BBC considers that Western public does not deserve the politically sad truth about armed clashes between "champions of Maidan Revolution" and "new democratic authorities, fighting corruption". Western public should not be in doubt about present-day "pro-European" Ukraine. And "The Guardian" still has only one article on the issue that could be a turning point in Ukrainian politics. This is propaganda, not informing about or analyzing really serious political events.

VictorWhisky 13 Jul 2015 09:51

This is the IMF hired guns now going after the very people who helped the Wall Street IMF shysters in the illegitimate coup and the set up of the illegitimate Kiev junta, a mix of half Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian mongrels.

Furthermore, instead of bringing in the people who helped overthrow Janukovich into the government fold, the IMF is placing it's foreign collaborators in ministerial positions by making them instant Ukrainian citizens, while keeping the right wing, without whose help the coup would not have succeeded, out of government and slowly trying to eliminate them with their private foreign mercenary force.

Madame "F*ck the EU Nuland from the US state department bordello, a devout Zionist, enticed these supposed Ukrainian NAZIs to help her in her dirty deeds, no doubt with promises of power sharing.

So madame Nuland was perfectly willing to get in bed with the Ukrainian NAZI devils (her Jewish friend should be proud) and when the dirty deed was done, she is now turning against Ukrainian nationalists in the attempt to have outside forces in control of Ukraine. Madame Nuland is not as intelligent or capable as portrayed, because if she was, she would have known Ukraine has a very delicate and very complicated political structure and history with nearly half the country speaking Russian and more loyal to the Russians than to the US.

An intelligent person familiar with Ukrainian history would know any attempt of placing a US stooge in Kiev would certainly result in a civil war.

She no doubt got her position not by intelligence but by connections. More than 6000 Ukrainians, human beings, innocent men women and children, have died in madame Nuland's engineered coup, putting her in league with her mentor, Henry Kissinger, aka the butcher of Vietnam. That intelligent idiot's policies resulted in the death of 3 million Vietnamese and 50,000 young Americans. Does madame Nuland intend to sacrifice that many Ukrainians to prove her ultimate stupidity?

Jeremn Luminaire 13 Jul 2015 09:51

The conscripts didn't want to shoot their fellow Ukrainians. The nationalists don't believe the people in the east are their fellow Ukrainians.

Jeremn DrMacTomjim 13 Jul 2015 09:43

Yes. But meanwhile the Atlantic Council tells us this is why more Ukrainians admire nationalists.

Because they were lovely guys, evidently, and their "popularity" has nothing to do with armed thugs beating you up if you say anything against them (or the state prosecuting you for denying or questioning their heroism).

Jeremn jezzam 13 Jul 2015 09:35

Ukrainian media, reporting Ukrainian government official:

In his article for the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Weekly Mirror) newspaper Ukrainian Prosecutor General Vitaliy Yarema wrote that 74 peaceful citizens and 12 policemen had been killed in Kyiv downtown on February 18-20, 2014, while 180 citizens and over 180 law enforcers had suffered gunshot wounds.

12 police dead in two days, 180 wounded with gunshot wounds.

Still Kremlin lies?

Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 09:30

Thank God Ukraine is finally free and democratic. The old autocratic regime actually had the gall to make running street battles illegal - but those dark days are in the past. In the liberated Ukraine you are free spend the dollar a day you get paid on a bullet proof vest so the rampant Nazi street gangs don't kill you.

Jeremn SHappens 13 Jul 2015 09:26

You'd be surprised, there are Bandera-lovers in the UK too. There's a Bandera museum. And there is this lot, teaching Christian values to children. And telling them that Bandera was a hero. Future Right Sector supporters being crafted as we type.

6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:24

The Ukrainian sub-saharan African minimum wage is now being accompanied by Somali-style politics. Luckily, the Russians have liberated Crimea so piracy on the high seas isn't an option for the Ukrainians.

6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:18

Apparently, UAVs generously supplied to Ukrainians by the Canadian taxpayers are being put to good use smuggling cigarettes into Slovakia.

6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:12

The BBC are bravely sticking to their decision not to report this story. Congratulations are in order for such dedication. The graun protected its readership from this confusing information for 24 hours and then caved to the temptation to report news. Too bad.

aucontraire2 13 Jul 2015 08:36

Can we officially congratulate Nuland for a crappy job and also for providing Putin with all the tools he needed to bring back Ukraine under his wing. False flag operations for American private interests must stop now. They are immoral, unethical and only bring death and destruction to otherwise stable societies. The UN should have a say.

SomersetApples 13 Jul 2015 08:25

The country is bankrupt; the Kiev putschists are selling off the country's assets to their New York allies, the oligarchs and Nazis are at war against each other and the illegal putschist government and now toilet mouth Nuland is back on the scene. Looks like a scene form Dante's Inferno.

todaywefight Polvilho 13 Jul 2015 07:54

Which Russian invasion will this be the of he approximately 987 mentioned by Poroshenko and our man Yatz...or are you referring to the people of the AUTONOMOUS REPUBLIC OF CRIMEA's (yes that was what was called after the 1994 referendum) massive wishes to (like Donbass) go against a government who illegally dismissed an elected president a wish that was reflected on a referendum which was allowed by their constitution 18(7)

Bosula Scepticbladderballs 13 Jul 2015 07:38

Yes. Most of the protesters are good people who just want a better deal in life.

monteverdi1610 13 Jul 2015 06:54

Remember all those CIF threads when those of us who pointed to the neo-Nazis in Ukraine were immediately called ' Putinbots ' ?
PS/ Apologies would be the order of the day , perhaps ?

Sturney 13 Jul 2015 06:49

Apparently this conflict is over. Temporarily over. Anyway in ever-contracting economy, in a Mariana trench between Russia and EU, in the most totalitarian country in history, such conflicts will continue. Since Nuland tossed yeast in the outhouse nobody can stop fermentation of sh*t. Help yourself with some beer and shrimps. I am looking forward when these masses splash out to EU, preferably to Poland. Must be fun to watch. (Lipspalm)

Justin Obisesan 13 Jul 2015 06:33

In the run-up to the Euro 2012 football tournament, jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine, I remember how the media in this country worked themselves into a frenzy harping on about the presence of violent neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine. After the removal of Mr Yanukovych from office, the same media organisations changed their tune by describing any talk of neo- Nazis in Ukraine as "Russian propaganda". The Western media coverage of the Ukrainian crises has been so blatantly pro-Kiev and anti-Donbass that their claims of impartiality and objectivity cannot be taken seriously anymore.


Jeremn jgbg 13 Jul 2015 06:16

It is fine when they are shooting at Donetsk, but not so good when they use the same tactics in western Ukraine.

Azov are the same, violent neo-Nazi thugs given authority, and this article notes that PrivatBank is the bank that services requests for donations to the Azov funds, using J P Morgan as intermidiary.

Neither Azov nor Right Sector want peace. On 3 July 4,000 men from these units protested in Kiev, calling for resumption of the war against the eastern provinces. They favour ethnic cleansing.

Jeremn William Fraser 13 Jul 2015 06:10

The people who support Bandera are in western Ukraine. They are the ones who say Stalin starved the Ukrainian people.

Trouble is, in the 1930s, western Ukraine belonged to Poland.

It was the Russians, eastern Ukrainians and other Soviet people who starved, not the western Ukrainians.

Kefirfan 13 Jul 2015 06:02

Good, good. Let the democracy flow through you...

Pwedropackman SHappens 13 Jul 2015 05:53

It will be interesting to see which side the US and Canada will support. Probably Poroshenko and the Oligarchs because the Right Sector is not so happy about the ongoing sales of Ukraine infrastructure to US corporates.

SHappens 13 Jul 2015 05:14

Harpers' babies are out manifesting, supporting the good guys:

"Supporters of Ukraine's Right Sector extremist group rallied in Ottawa Sunday amid the radicals' ongoing standoff with police in western Ukraine."

The rally outside the Ukrainian embassy was organized by the Right Sector's representative office in the Canadian capital, 112 Ukraine TV channel reported, citing the Facebook account of the so-called Ukrainian Volunteer Corps.

careforukraine 13 Jul 2015 05:09

I wonder how long it will be before the us denounces nazi's in ukraine? Kind of seems like we have seen this all before. Almost like how ISIS were just freedom fighters that needed our support until ?..... Well we all know what happened there.

Pwedropackman 13 Jul 2015 05:04

If it was not for the right sector, Ukraine would still be one united nation.

GameOverManGameOver Chris Gilmore 13 Jul 2015 04:41

Yes, I agree, they do wreck the economy. That was my point. Russia want's strong economies to do business with, not broken economies that only ask for financial aid.

Like I said, no evidence of Russian troops in Donbass and South Ossetia asked for the presence of Russian troops to deter the Georgian government from trying another invasion.

And organisations like CIS are meant to expand economic ties. Just like the EU I suppose. They function in pretty much the same way with everyone getting a chance to lead. So I don't know why that should be a bad thing. Since the EU is not interested in admitting Russia why can't Russia go to other organisations?

VladimirM Dmitriy Grebenyuk 13 Jul 2015 04:26

It's a poisonous sarcasm, I think. But I've heard that RS accuse the Ukrainian government of being pro-Putin as the government accuse them of being Russian agents. Surreal a bit.

stewfen FOHP46 13 Jul 2015 04:24

The west would not have dialogue with Russia because it was not what Washington wanted. Washington wanted to push a wedge between Russia and EU at any cost even 6500 lives and unfortunately they succeeded

GameOverManGameOver Chris Gilmore 13 Jul 2015 03:54

I'll admit that frozen conflicts could be useful to Russia. But only from a security point of view. And why not, exactly? NATO is Russia's biggest threat, so it would make sense for the government to want to avoid it expanding any further. I understand your misgivings since you're speaking from the position that NATO should expand to deter Russi I mean 'Iran', but surely you understand that Russia wanting to prevent that makes logical sense? Sure, it's at someone else's expense but let's not pretend that big countries doing something at someone else's expense is a new and revolutionary concept reserved only to Russia. And the Georgian conflict dates back to the very early 90's.

From an economic point of view though, no sense at all. Frozen conflicts usually bring economic barriers. Believe it or not Russia's priority isn't expansion, but the economy. And trade with it's neighbours is an important element of the Russian economy. It's very hard to trade with areas that are in the middle of a frozen conflict. So in that sense the last thing Russia would want are profitable areas in a frozen conflict around it's borders hampering it's economic growth.

And none of this has anything to do with Marioupol.

Debreceni 13 Jul 2015 03:38

The Right Sector does not exist, or if it does, it has been created by Moscow. The crisis in Greece is also the work of Russian agents. The ISIS is financed and trained by Putin. Ebola was cooked up in a laboratory in Saint Petersburg. Look for the Russian!

Kaiama PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 02:50

We don't know if PS were also doing it as well or just poking their noses into someone else's business. Who started it? I doubt the correct answer will ever be known. Two unsavoury groups arguing about an illegal business. The problem is that the MP is an MP whereas PS is a national organisation.

DrMacTomjim 13 Jul 2015 02:04

"Note to Ukraine: Time to Reconsider Your Historic Role Models" Someone wrote this a bit late.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nikolas-kozloff/note-to-ukraine-time-to-r_b_7453506.html

DrMacTomjim hisimperialmajesty 13 Jul 2015 02:01

"neo-Chekists" That's new to me.... Are you sure they are not "Just doing their jobs" ? Did you read the Nafeez Ahmed piece someone linked ? Here (if you didn't) https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/secret-pentagon-report-reveals-west-saw-isis-as-strategic-asset-b99ad7a29092

And this from Foreign Affairs https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/libya/2015-02-16/obamas-libya-debacle

It's never the US....it's never the West..... (you know, to balance things) : )

todaywefight 13 Jul 2015 01:53

If any one on the other side, the dark side, ever thought that these lot will hold hands with any one, lay down their arms and sing Kumbaya, uou are either utterly naive or willfully ignorant. Apparently, these lot have 23 battalions, armed to their teeth, the added bonus for the Privy Sektor is that , due to expedience and cowardice , they have just made legal and incorporated into the Ukrainian army, Kyiv is in a highway to nowhere.

Incidentally, unlike the maidan demonstrations which essentially were only in Kyiv there are demonstrations in more than a dozen cities, and have established dozen of check points already and Yarosh a member of the VT. have clearly instructed them to fight if necessary.

GameOverManGameOver Omniscience 13 Jul 2015 01:35

So? Yes there are nationalists in Russia, just like everywhere else. You get a gold star for googling. Shall I get some articles with European and American nationalists to parade around to make a vague point? If you want I can get you an article of Lithuanians dressed up as the Waffen SS parading around Vilnius. That's Lithuania the EU and Nato member. Funny how EU principles disappear when it's one of their own violating them.

You seem to be missing the point entirely. While all countries have their nationalists, those nationalists are a very small minority, have no power, have no popular support, have no seats in government, usually derided by the majority of the population and they certainly aren't armed to the teeth roaming around the country killing, torturing and kidnapping people with the blessing of their government

HollyOldDog Joe way 13 Jul 2015 00:09

The Right Sector were / are Ukrains Storm Troopers who have had more advanced training by the Americans. If the Right Sector turn on the Kiev Government they will be difficult to defeat, and who knows if the civilian population of Ukraine may join in the 'fun' by ousting the current unpopular Ukrainian government.

sorrentina 12 Jul 2015 23:35

this is what happens when you play with fire: you get burned. Using Neo-Nazi's to implement Nato expansionist policies was always a very bad idea. It's just a shame it is not people like Victoria 'fuck the EU' Nuland who will have to suffer the blowback consequences- it is the poor Ukrainian people. This is not that different to what has happened in Libya- where Islamic extremists were used as a proxy force to oust Gaddafi.

annamarinja jgbg 12 Jul 2015 23:31

The threshold has been guessed impatiently by the US neocons (while the provocateur Higgins/ Bellingcat fed the gullible the fairy tales about Russian army in Ukraine). The US needs desperately a real civil war in Ukraine, the Ukrainians be damned. Just look what the US-sponsored "democracy on the march" has produced in the Middle East. Expect the same bloody results in eastern Europe.

annamarinja obscurant 12 Jul 2015 23:25

perhaps you do not realize that your insults are more appropriate towards the poor Ukrainians that have been left destitute by the cooky-carrying foreigners and their puppets in Kiev. The Ukrainian gold reserve has disappeared... meanwhile, the US Congress has shamed the US State Dept for collaborating with Ukrainian neo-nazis. Stay tuned. But do not expect to hear real news from your beloved Faux News.

annamarinja quorkquork 12 Jul 2015 23:14

the jihadists in Ukraine are the integral part of Iraqization of Ukraine. The lovers of Nuland's cookies are still in denial that Ukraine was destined by the US plutocrats to become a sacrificial lamb in a fight to preserve the US dollar hegemony.

Bud Peart 12 Jul 2015 22:59

Well we always knew it would end this way. With a stalemate in the war with the East the Right wing paramilitaries and private oligarch militias (whom the west funded and trained) have gone completely feral and are now in fighting directly with whats left of the Ukrainian National Army. This is pretty much the rode to another breakaway in Galacia which would effectively end the Ukraine as a functional state.

The government should move as fast as possible to get a decent federal structure (copy switzerland) in place before the whole of the West goes into revolt as well.

DelOrtoyVerga LostJohnny 12 Jul 2015 22:38

That is what you get when you put fascists in your government.

I rather reword it to

That is what you get when you enable and rely on thugish pseudo-fascist radical para-military groups to impose order by force and violence against dissident segments of your own population (which is armed to the teeth probably by Russia)

Bosula Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 22:37

What do you think it is?

There were several people identified directly or indirectly in this BBC story whose stories should have been formally pursued by legal authorities in Kiev.

If you lived in the West you would understand that we call these references as possible 'leads' - you follow these 'leads' and see where they take you. That is what Western police do.

The story says that Kiev didn't want to follow up any of these points. Why? What harm could this do?

You state that you do not understand the point that this BBC journalist was making. But I have in a fair way tried to to explain the point that the BBC was making.

This story caused quite a stir went it came out - and the BBC chose to stick with it and support their British reporter. In an edited and shorter form the story is still on the BBC - the editing is also acknowledged by the BBC.

Do you think the BBC should have blocked or not published this investigative piece?

If so - why?

And why hasn't Kiev followed up these issues?

Have I addressed your point yet?

HollyOldDog Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 21:34

I am just watching a program recorded earlier. Hiroshima: The Aftermath. I have got past the part when the Japanese 'survivors' had to drink from the pools of Black Rain ( highly radioactive) and watched the part when American Army Tourists visited the city to take a few photos ( no medical help though) while gawking at the gooks. In fact the Japanese civilians recieved no medical assistance at all from the Americans. The commentator just said that they were just there to study the effects of nuclear radiation on a civilian population. These nuclear bombs were just dropped on Japan to save One Day of the surrender of the Japanese forces.

The next documtary I will watch another day is the sinking of the Tirpitz by the RAF using Tallboy bombs. At least this had a useful pupose in helping to stop the destruction of the North Atlantic convoys, sending aid to Russia. That aid along with the rebuilding of the Soviet Armies helped the Soviet Union to destroy the invading Nazi forces and provided a Second Front to the Western Allies to invade Normandy. A lot of good can be achieved when the East and West work together - maybe avoiding the worst effects of Global Warming but the Americans only seem to want to spend Trillions $ building more powerful nuclear weapons. Is this all that America has now, an Arms Industry - I can see it now, cooling the planet with a Nuclear Winter.

HollyOldDog Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 20:33

The USA caused the chaos in Ukraine so they must pay the billions of $ to fix it then leave Ukraine alone.

6i9vern 12 Jul 2015 20:29

One of the amusing features of the Soviet media was the long silences it maintained on possibly embarrassing breaking news until it became clear what the Party Line was. Eventually, a memo would go out from Mikhail Suslov's office to various media outlets and the silence would be broken. At least everyone knew exactly how that system worked. What is happening with the British media is much more murky.

The beeb/graun seem to be the Pravda/Izvestia, whilst the torygraph is a sort of Trybuna Ludu - ie real news very occasionally appears in it.

6i9vern 12 Jul 2015 20:08

So, after a mere 24 hours the Graun ran a story on Mukachevo. The Torygraph actually had the nerve to run the AFP wire report more or less straight away. The BBC are still keeping shtum.

The Beeb/Graun complex have well and truly had the frighteners put on them.

PrinceEdward Kaiama 12 Jul 2015 20:07

There's no doubt. I agree that the MP was probably running cigarettes, but also Right Sektor was going to muscle in.

If you asked somebody 3 years ago if Ukraine would be rocked by armed bands with RPGs and Light Machine Guns fighting in towns, they would have thought you were crazy.

This isn't Russia, this is the Ultranats/Neo-Nazis.


PrinceEdward obscurant 12 Jul 2015 20:05

Right, it's the people in Donbass who bury 14th SS Division veterans with full honors, push for full pensions to surviving Hiwi and SS Collaborators... not those in Lvov. Uh huh.


BMWAlbert 12 Jul 2015 20:04

11 months of investigations by the newKiev regime, attempting to implicate the the prior one for the murder of about 100 people in Kiev early last year was unsuccessful. There may be better candidates here.

fragglerokk ploughmanlunch 12 Jul 2015 19:55

It always amazes me that the far right never learn from history. The politicians and oligarchs always use them as muscle to ensure coup success then murder/assasinate the leaders to make sure they dont get any ideas about power themselves. Surprised its taken so long in ukraine but then the govt is barely hanging onto power and the IMF loans have turned to a trickle so trouble will always be brewing, perhaps theyve left it too long this time. Nobody will be shedding any tears for the Nazis and Banderistas.

hisimperialmajesty Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 19:54

Why, don't you know? They infiltrated Ukraine, the CIA (and NATO and the EU somehow) created Maidan, their agents killed the protesters, then they overthrew a legitimate government and installed a neo-nazi one, proceeded to instigate a brutal oppression against Russian speakers, then started a war against the peaceful Eastern Ukrainians and their innocent friends in the Kremlin, etc etc. Ignorant question that, by now you should know the narrative!

Kaiama gimmeshoes 12 Jul 2015 19:53

If you think Pryvi Sektor want to "clean up" then yes, but not in the way you imagine - they just want the business for themselves.

Geordiemartin 12 Jul 2015 19:51

I am reminded of AJP Taylor premise that Eastern Europe has historically had either German domination or Russian protection.

The way that the Ukrainian government had treated their own Eastern compatriots leaves little reason to believe they would be welcome back into the fold and gives people of Donbass no reason to want to rejoin the rest of the country.

If government is making an effort to reign in the likes of Right sector it is a move in the right direction but much much more will be needed to establish any trust.

Some Guy yataki 12 Jul 2015 19:45

just because they are nazis doesnt mean they are happy about doing any of this... now. look at greece and the debacle that has unfolded over the past week has been . the west ukraine wanted to be part of the euro zone and wanted some of that ecb bail out money. now they are not even sure if they could skip out on the bill and know they are fighting for nothing . russia gave them 14 bil dollars . the west after the coup only gave the 1 bil

Andor2001 Kaiama 12 Jul 2015 19:44

According to the eyewitnesses the RS shot a guard when he refused to summon the commanding officer. It was the beginning of the fight.

Andor2001 yataki 12 Jul 2015 19:41

Remember Shakespeare "Othello"? Moor has done his job, Moor has to go.. The neo-Nazis have outlived their usefulness.

Bosula caaps02 12 Jul 2015 19:39

The BBC investigative reported earlier this year that a section of Maidan protesters deliberately started shooting the police. This story was also reported in the Guardian. Google and you will easily find it. The BBC also reported that the Prosecutors Office in Kiev was forbidden by Rada officials from investigating Maiden shooters.

Maybe the BBC is telling us a lie? The BBC investigation is worth a read - then you can make up your own mind.

Bosula William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 19:29

Kazakhstan had the highest percentage of deaths from Stalin's policies in this period when he prevented the nomad herders moving from the mountains to the planes to take advantage of the benefits of seasons and weather. Stalin forced the nomads to stay in one area and they perished in the cold of the mountains or the heat of the summer plains (whichever zone they were forced to stay in).

Some of my family is Ukrainian and some recognise that Stalin's policies weren't specifically aimed at Ukrainians - the people of Kazakhstan suffered the most (as a percentage of population). Either way, there is no genetic difference between Slavs or Russian or Ukrainian origin in Ukraine or Russia - they are all genetically the same people. This information should be better taught in Ukraine.

The problem is that it would undermine the holy grail story of right wing nationalism in Ukraine.

quorkquork annamarinja 12 Jul 2015 19:27

There are already jihadist groups fighting in Ukraine! IN MIDST OF WAR, UKRAINE BECOMES GATEWAY FOR JIHAD
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/26/midst-war-ukraine-becomes-gateway-europe-jihad/

Havingalavrov obscurant 12 Jul 2015 18:33

It's been one of the biggest mistakes ( although Ukraine's military started in a desperately poor condition ) , to allow militia groups to get so powerful. Right sector should not have arms and guns... The national Ukraine military should, If members of Right sector want to fight , they should leave Right sector and join the army.

This was and will happen if they don't disband such armed groups.

annamarinja silvaback 12 Jul 2015 18:18

have you ever studied geography? If yes, you should remember the proximity of Ukraine to Russia (next door) and the proximity of Ukraine to the US (thousands miles away). Also, have you heard about the CIA Director Brennan and his covert visit to Kiev on the eve of the beginning of the civil war in Ukraine? This could give you an informed hint about the causes of the war. Plus you may be interested to learn about Mrs. Nuland-Kagan (Ms. Nudelman), her cookies, and her foul language. She is, by the way, a student of Dick Cheney. If you were born before 2000, you might know his name and his role in the Iraq catastrophe. Mrs. Nuland-Kagan (and the family of Kagans she belongs to) finds particular pleasure in creating military conflicts around the globe. It is not for nothing that the current situation in Ukraine is called Iraqization of Eastern Europe.

Bev Linington JJRichardson 12 Jul 2015 18:10

Ukrainians shot down the plane. East, West does not matter as they were all Ukrainians before the government overthrow. Leaders of the new government could not look past some Ukrainian citizens ethnicity, instead of standing together united, they decided to oppress which lead to the referendum in Crimea and the rise of separatists in the East.

jgbg Chirographer 12 Jul 2015 17:53

And for the Pro-Russian posters the newsflash is that could also describe the situation inside the Donbass.

It certainly describes the situation in Donbass where Right Sector or the volunteer battalions are in charge. In Dnepropetrovsk, Right Sector would simply turn up at some factory or other business and order the owner to sign document transferring the enterprise to them. In other cases, they have kidnapped businessmen for ransom. Some people have simply disappeared under such circumstances.

The Ukrainian National Guard simply break into homes left empty by people fleeing the war and steal the contents. Such was the scale of looting, the Ukrainian postal service have now refused to ship electrical goods out of the ATO area unless the senders have the original boxes and receipts.

jgbg AlfredHerring 12 Jul 2015 17:45

Maybe Kiev just needs to bomb them some more.

Putin promised to protect the Russian speaking people in Ukraine - but he hasn't really done that. His government has indicated that they would not allow Kiev to simply overrun or obliterate the people of Donbass. Quite where their threshold of actual intervention lies is anyone's guess.

jgbg caaps02, 12 Jul 2015 17:34

The "pro-Russian" government that you refer to was only elected because it promised to sign the EU trade agreement. It then reneged on that promise...

Yanukovych's government was elected the previous one was useless and corrupt.

Yanukovych wanted to postpone the decision to sign for six months, while he attempted to extract more from both the EU and Russia. Under Poroshenko, the implementation of the EU Association Agreement has been delayed for 15 months, as the governments of Ukraine, the EU and Russia all recognised that Russian trade (with the favourable terms which Ukraine enjoys) are vitail to Ukraine's economic recovery. Expect that postponement to be extended.

.... severely and brutally curtailing freedom of speech and concentrating all power in the hands of Yanukovich's little clan...

As opposed to sending the military to shell the crap out of those who objected to an elected government being removed by a few thousand nationalists in Kiev.

There was no "coup".

An agreement had been signed at the end of February 2014, which would see elections in September 2014. The far right immediately moved to remove the government (as Right Sector had promised on camera in December 2013). None of the few mechanisms for replacing the president listed in the Ukrainian constitution have been followed - that makes it a coup.

The Maidan protesters were not armed

This newspaper and other western media documented the armed members of far right groups on Maidan. One BBC journalist was actually shot at by a Svoboda sniper, operating from Hotel Ukraina - the video is still on the BBC website.

....the interim government that was put in place by the parliament in late February and the government that was elected in May and Oct. of 2014 were and are not fascist.

The interim government included several ministers from Svoboda, formerly the Socialist Nationalist Party of Ukraine. These were the first Nazi ministers in a European government since Franco's Spanish government that ended in the 1970's. In a 2013 resolution, the EU parliament had indicated that no Ukrainian government should include members of Svoboda or other far right parties.

pushkinsideburn vr13vr 12 Jul 2015 16:45

There has been a marked change in rhetoric over the last few weeks. Even CiF on Ukraine articles seems to attract less trolls (with a few notable exceptions on this article - though they feel more like squad trolls than the first team). Hopefully a sign of deescalation or perhaps just a temporary lull before the MH17 anniversary this week?

pushkinsideburn calum1 12 Jul 2015 16:38

His other comments should have been the clue that arithmetic, like independent critical thinking, is beyond him.

normankirk 12 Jul 2015 16:19

Right sector were the first to declare they wouldn't abide by the Minsk 2 peace agreement.Nevertheless, Dmitry Yarosh, their leader is adviser to Ukraine's Chief of staff. Given that he only received about 130,000 votes in the last election, he has a disproportionate amount of power.

pushkinsideburn sashasmirnoff 12 Jul 2015 16:13

That quote is a myth https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-the-cia-owns-everyone-of-any-significance-in-the-major-media.t158/

Though doesn't mean it's not true of course

greatwhitehunter 12 Jul 2015 15:47

As predicted the real civil war in Ukraine is still to happen. The split between the east and the ordinary Ukrainian was largely manufactured . In the long term no body would be able to live with the right sector or more precisely the right sector cant share a bed with anyone else.

sashasmirnoff RicardoJ 12 Jul 2015 15:44

"When the Guardian claims to be a fearless champion of investigative journalism - as it is, in some areas - why did it obey the dictats of the US neocon media machine which rules all Western mainstream media over the Ukrainian land grab, instead of telling the truth, at that time?"

This may be why: "The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media." - former CIA Director William Colby

Alexander_the_Great 12 Jul 2015 15:43

This was so, so predictable. The Right Sector were the main violent group during the coup in 2014 - in fact they were the ones to bring the first guns to the square following their storming of a military warehouse in west Ukraine a few days before the coup. It was this factor that forced the Police to arm themselves in preparation.

Being the vanguard of the illegal coup, they then provided a useful tool of manipulation for the illegal Kiev government to oppress any opposition, intimidate journalists who spoke the truth and lead the war against the legally-elected ELECTED governments of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Having failed in the war against the east, western leaders have signalled the right sector has now outlived its usefulness and has become an embarrassment to Kiev and their western backers.

The Right Sector meanwhile, feel betrayed by the establishment in Kiev. They have 19 battalions of fighters and they wont go away thats for sure. I think one can expect this getting more violent in the coming months.

SHappens jezzam 12 Jul 2015 15:40

Putin is a Fascist dictator.

Putin is not a dictator. He is a statist, authoritarian-inclined hybrid regime ruler that possesses some democratic elements and space for opposition groups. He has moderate nationalist tendencies in foreign affairs; his goal is a secure a strong Russia. He is a patriot and has a charismatic authority. Russians stay behind him.

ploughmanlunch samuel glover 12 Jul 2015 15:31

'this notion that absolutely everything Kiev does follows some master script drawn up in DC and Brussels is simplistic and tiresome'

Agreed. As is everything is Russia's fault.

ConradLodziak 12 Jul 2015 15:26

This is just the latest in a string of conflicts involving the right sector, as reported by RT, Russian media and until recently many Ukrainian outlets. The problem, of course, is that Porostinko has given 'official' status to the right sector. Blow back time for him.

CIAbot007 William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 15:06

Yes, Russia (USSR) from the USSR foundation had been forcing people of the then territory of Ukraine to identify themselves as Ukrainians under the process of rootisation - Ukrainization, then gave to Ukraine Donbass and left side Dniepr and Odessa, Herson and Nikolaev, and then decided to ethnically cleane them.. It doesn't make sense, does it? Oh, wait, sense is not your domain.

annamarinja William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 15:05

let me help you with arithmetics: 72 years ago Europe was inflamed with the WWII. There was a considerable number of Ukrainians that collaborated with Hitler' nazis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14th_Waffen_Grenadier_Division_of_the_SS_(1st_Galician)

Now moving to the present. The US-installed oligarchs in Kiev have been cooperating closely with Ruropean neo-nazis (the followers of the WWII scum): http://rt.com/news/155364-ukraine-nazi-division-march/

In short, your government finds it is OK to glorify the perpetrators of genocide in Europe during the WWII.

Nik2 12 Jul 2015 15:04

These tragic events, when YESTERDAY, on Saturday afternoon, several civilians were unintentionally wounded in gun battles in previously peaceful town near the Hungary and Slovakia borders, vividly exposes Western propaganda. Though mass media in Ukraine and Russia are full of reports about this from the start, The Guardian managed to give first information exactly 1 day later, and BBC was still keeping silence a few minutes ago. Since both sides are allies of the West (the Right Sector fighters were the core of the Maidan protesters at the later stages, and Poroshenko regime is presumably "democratic"), the Western media preferred to ignore the events that are so politically uncomfortable. Who are "good guys" to be praised? In fact, this may be the start of nationalists' revolt against Ukrainian authorities, and politically it is very important moment that can fundamentally change Ukrainian politics. But the West decides to be silent ...

annamarinja William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 14:59

Do your history book tell you that the Holodomor was a multiethnic endeavor? That the Ukrainians were among the victims and perpetrators and that the whole huge country had suffered the insanely cruel policies of multiethnic bolsheviks? The Holodomor was almost a century ago, whereas the Odessa massacre and the bombardments of civilian population in east Ukraine by the neo-nazi thugs (sent by Kiev), has been going during last year and half. Perhaps you have followed Mr. Brennan and Mrs. Nuland-Kagan too obediently.

foolisholdman zonzonel 12 Jul 2015 14:58

zonzonel

Oops, the presumably fascist govt. is fighting a fascist group.
What is a poor troll to do these days??
Antiukrainian copywriting just got more difficult, perhaps a raise is needed? Just sayin.

What's your problem? Never heard of Fascist groups fighting each other? Never heard of the "Night of the Long Knives"? Fascists have no principles to unite them. They believe in Uebermenschen and of course they all think that either they themselves or their leader is The Ueberuebermensch. Anyone who disagrees is an enemy no matter how Fascist he may be.

samuel glover ploughmanlunch 12 Jul 2015 14:55

Y'know, I'm no fan of the Russophobic hysteria that dominates English-language media. I've been to Ukraine several times over the last 15 years or so, and I'm sorry to say that I think that in time Ukrainians will regard Maidan's aftermath as most of them view the Orange Revolution -- with regret and cynicism.

That said, this notion that everything, absolutely everything Kiev does follows some master script drawn up in DC and Brussels is simplistic and tiresome. Most post-revolution regimes purge one end or the other of the current ideological wings. Kiev has already tangled with the oligarch and militia patron Igor Kolomoisky. So perhaps this is another predictable factional struggle. Or maybe, as another comment speculates, this is a feud over cigarette tax revenue.

In any case, Ukraine is a complex place going through an **extremely** complex time. it's too soon to tell what the Lviv skirmish means, and **far** too soon to lay it all on nefarious puppetmasters.

TheTruthAnytime ADTaylor 12 Jul 2015 14:49

The only thing that makes me reconsider is their service to their country,...

Is the CIA their country? So far they've only seemed to serve the interests of American businesspeople, not Ukrainian interests. Also, murdering eastern Ukrainians cannot really be considered such a great service to Ukraine, can it?

annamarinja ID075732 12 Jul 2015 14:44

Maidan was indeed a popular apprising, but it was utilized by the US strategists for their geopolitical games. The Ukrainians are going to learn hard way that the US have never had any interest in well-being of the "locals" and that the ongoing civil war was designed in order to create a festering wound on a border with the Russia. The Iraqization of Ukraine was envisioned by the neocons as a tool to break both Russia and Ukraine. The sooner Ukrainians come to a peaceful solution uniting the whole Ukraine (for example, to federalization), the better for the general population (but not for the thieving oligarchs).

vr13vr 12 Jul 2015 14:38

"Couple of hundred Right Sector supporters demonstrated in Kiev?" Come on! Over the last week, there have been enough of videos of thousands of people in fatigues trying to block access to government buildings and shouting rather aggressive demands. The entire battalions of "National Guard." This is much bigger than just 100 people on a peaceful rally. Ukraine might be heading towards Maidan 3.0.

ID075732 12 Jul 2015 14:26

The situation in Ukraine has been unravelling for months and this news broke on Friday evening.

The Minsk II cease fire has not been honoured by Poroshenko, who has not managed to effect any of the pledges he signed up to. The right sector who rejected the cease-fire from the start are now refusing the rule of their post coup president in Kiev.

Time for Victoria Nuland to break out the cookies? Or maybe it's too late for that now. The country formerly know as Ukraine is turning out to be another outstanding success of American post -imperial foreign policy.

Meanwhile in UFA the BRIC's economic forum is drawing to a close, with representatives from the developing world and no reporting of the aspirations being discussed there of over 60% of the world's population. It's been a major success, but if you want to learn about it, you will have to turn to other media sources - those usually reported as Russian propaganda channels or Putin's apologists.

The same people who have been reporting on the deteriorating situation in Kiev since the February coup. Or as Washington likes to call it a popular up rising.


Dennis Levin 12 Jul 2015 13:29

Canadian interviewed, fighting for 'Right Sector'.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j65dBEWd7go
The Right Sector of Euromaidan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yFqUasBOUY
Lets reflect for a moment on the Editorial directives, that would have 'MORE GUNS' distributed to NAZIS..
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/01/putin-stopped-ukraine-military-support-russian-propaganda
The Guarn publishes, 'Britain should arm Ukraine, says Tory donor' - http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/11/britain-should-arm-ukraine
Al Jazeera says,'t's time to arm Ukraine' - http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/02/arms-ukraine-russia-separatists-150210075309643.html
Zbigniew Brzezinski: The West should arm Ukraine - http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/zbigniew-brzezinski-the-west-should-arm-ukraine-354770.html


ploughmanlunch ADTaylor 12 Jul 2015 13:06

'The only thing that makes me reconsider is their service to their country'

Don't get me wrong. I detest the fascist militias and their evil deeds.

However, despite their callousness, brutality and stupidity, they have been the most effective fighting force for Kiev ( more sensible Ukrainians have been rather more reluctant to kill their fellow countrymen ).

Deluded ? Yes. Cowardly ? No.

Even more reprehensible, in my opinion are the calculating and unprincipled Kiev Government that have attempted to bully a region of the Ukraine that had expressed legitimate reservations, using those far right battalions, but accepting no responsibility for the carnage that they carried out.

mario n 12 Jul 2015 12:52

I think it's time Europe spoke up about dangers of Ukrainian nationalism. 72 years ago Ukrainian fascists committed one of the most hideous and brutal acts of genocide in the human history. Details are so horrifying it is beyond imagination. Sadly not many people remembers that, because it is not politically correct to say bad things about Ukraine. Today mass murderers are hailed as national heroes and private battalions and ultranationalist groups armed to the teeth terrorise not only Donbas but now different parts of the country like Zakarpattia where there is strong Hungarian, Russian and Romanian minority.

How many massacres and acts of genocide Europe needs before it learns to act firmly?

SHappens 12 Jul 2015 12:49

Kiev has allowed nationalist groups including Right Sector to operate despite allegations by groups like Amnesty International, that Right Sector has tortured civilian prisoners.

You know what, you dont play with fire or you will get burnt. It was written on the wall that these Bandera apologists would eventually turn to the hand that fed them. I wonder how Kiev will manage to blame the russians now.

RicardoJ 12 Jul 2015 12:33

Of course the Guardian doesn't like to explain that 'Right Sector' are genuine fascists - by their own admission! These fascists, who wear Nazi insignia, were the people who overthrew the elected government of Ukraine in the US / EU-supported coup - which the Guardianistas and other PC-brainwashed duly cheered on as a supposed triumph of democracy. Since that glorious US-financed and EU-backed coup, wholly illegal under international law, Ukraine's economy has collapsed, as has Ukrainians' living standards.

The US neocons are losing interest in their attempted land grab of Ukraine - and the EU cretins who backed the coup, thinking it would be a nice juicy further territorial acquisition for the EU, are desperately looking the other way, now that both the US and EU realize that Ukraine is a financial black hole.

When the Guardian claims to be a fearless champion of investigative journalism - as it is, in some areas - why did it obey the dictats of the US neocon media machine which rules all Western mainstream media over the Ukrainian land grab, instead of telling the truth, at that time?

jgbg 12 Jul 2015 12:15

The move came after a gunfight broke out on Saturday, when about 20 Right Sector gunmen arrived at a sports complex controlled by MP Mikhail Lano. They had been trying to stop the traffic of cigarettes and other contraband, a spokesman for the group said.

Put another way, one group of gangsters tried to muscle in on the cigarette smuggling operation of another group of gangsters. Smuggling cigarettes into nearby EU countries is extremely lucrative. Here's some video of some of the events:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hexRskhproc&feature=youtu.be

Note the registration plates driven by both Right Sector and the other gangsters i.e. not Ukrainian. In all likelihood, these cars are all stolen. Right Sector and fighters from "volunteer battalions" have become accustomed to muscling in on other people's activities (legal or not) in Donbass. This sort of thuggery is routine when these folk come to town. It is only when since they have continued such activities on their home turf in west and central Ukraine that the authorities have taken any notice.

[Feb 27, 2019] Investigating Venezuela's Hunger Crisis: Max Blumenthal Tours a Supermarket in Caracas

Feb 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

ben , Feb 24, 2019 10:57:38 PM | link

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Investigating Venezuela's Hunger Crisis: Max Blumenthal Tours a Supermarket in Caracas

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51150.htm

[Feb 27, 2019] The USA can't allow maduro goverment to scesseed for the same reason as the USA can't allow the USSR to succeed

This is true but the USSR collapsed by and large due to degeneration of Bolshevik's elite (who later became turncoats and were bribed to accept neoliberalism) and mismanagement of the economy. So if Maduro mismanaged the economy he is doomed, no matter how well his regime tried to support the bottom 80% of population. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Feb 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ghost Ship , Feb 25, 2019 1:23:30 PM | link

>>>> Grieved | Feb 25, 2019 12:40:46 AM | 39

The United States has for more than a hundred years, two reasons to interfere in the Soviet Union/Russia. One was ideological with the United States wanting to focus its wealth in the hands of the one percent it could not allow communism to succeed as it was too great a threat to capitalism. The other is that it wants unobstructed access to the Soviet Union/Russian mineral wealth in the east, i.e., it wants to "own" Siberia.
With a successful Soviet Union/Russia, it was possible that revolution would spread through Europe and even to the United States. End of capitalism. Prior to the Second World War, the Soviet economy was doing well Then the Second World War came along and although militarily the Soviet Union was the victor it was at the price of its industrial base being severely damaged, so to make capitalism more attractive the United States poured wealth into Western Europe in the Marshall Plan and allowed European parties such as the British Labour Party, a nominally socialist party but a supporter of capitalism, to introduce the Welfare State to calm down the restless natives. With the ossification of the Soviet leadership and the eventual collapse of the USSR, the United States saw that there was no effective competition with capitalism so it pushed the world away from the Welfare State and towards neo-liberalism and austerity. The only problem is that the natives are getting restless again but with largely right-wing politicians in charge. Since most of those right-wing politicians are ardent capitalist, they're not prepared to make the jump to socialism of any type. When the right-wing politicians fail, then perhaps you'll see a massive shift to the left as people start to understand that capitalism, particularly the unregulated kind so beloved in the United States can't meet their needs.

BTW, it's not difficult to imagine what the MSM would make of a country that was socialist and nationalist, just look at the hatred directed at the SSNP.

[Feb 26, 2019] Venezuela: US increasingly isolated as allies warn against use of military force

Feb 26, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Hightrekker x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 11:13 am

Venezuela: US increasingly isolated as allies warn against use of military force

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/25/venezuela-mike-pence-maduro-guaido

And this is a MSM perspective.

[Feb 26, 2019] So Bolton and the like are actually acting within a current Washington school of thought. And how well the concept of interventionism has been captured by neoliberalism. The concept of individual sovereignty was used to dissolve the borders of national sovereignty, but it wasn't the individual who won

Feb 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Feb 25, 2019 12:40:46 AM | link

@karlof1

I stopped by to thank you for the link to Greg Grandin you offered in the last thread. I just finished reading it, and it's a gem of historical storytelling, weaving great themes of law in a superbly easy read. The concept of national sovereignty originated for the world in the Latin American colonies, and over time the US embraced it as international law, only to discard it later, from about the Nixon era on.

What's at Stake in Venezuela? - Greg Grandin

So Bolton and the like are actually acting within a current Washington school of thought. And how well the concept of interventionism has been captured by neoliberalism. The concept of individual sovereignty was used to dissolve the borders of national sovereignty, but it wasn't the individual who won. As Grandin states towards the end:

"Economic globalisation promised a prosperous, borderless world, even as its promoters signed a raft of treaties that freed capital but effectively criminalised labour mobility."

This matter of the mobility of capital and the demise of the individual is something shown clearly in that other excellent piece you linked a couple of weeks back:

Capitalism Has Failed -- What Next? - John Bellamy Foster

I've wanted to come here to comment on it but the task seemed daunting. Foster's magisterial article traces the history of neoliberalism - almost 100 years old - and shows how the mobility of capital was always what it aimed towards. And this financially borderless world is what we live in now - how ironic that the US can enforce imperial borders through financial sanctions.

~~

So the stories told by Grandin and Foster seem to intertwine. The rich desire a borderless world to move capital freely. This has killed the prosperity of the working classes because of the ease of offshoring industry - the ultimate threat against the worker. And you can no longer restore equity to a society simply by taxing wealth, because it's too easy for wealth to flee to other havens. The only thing you can do is nationalize it, to force it to stay in-country.

I've seen this point made well in this essay on the Gilets Jaunes in France: The Yellow Vests, the Crisis of the Welfare State and Socialism by Michèle Brand . Michael Hudson also reinforced this same point in that interview on Venezuela with Saker that you linked to.

Indeed, Venezuela is the enemy of the US on both of these crucial fronts: it insists on the national sovereignty of its resources and it insists on sharing that wealth with its workers. It becomes ever more clear that the struggle for true national sovereignty can only come with the empowerment of the sovereign people, through fair law and fair distribution of national wealth.

But to do all this, in an era of borderless capitalism, takes socialism.

And this is the crucial aspect of the time we live in. Justice Holmes I think said that he paid taxes as the price for civilization. But moving forward the only way we can pay for civilization now is through socialism. This is the dynamic that all the roads lead to, inexorably.

You see what trouble you stir up when you share links?

[Feb 26, 2019] The USA can't allow maduro goverment to scesseed for the same reason as the USA can't allow the USSR to succeed

This is true but the USSR collapsed by and large due to degeneration of Bolshevik's elite (who later became turncoats and were bribed to accept neoliberlaim) and mismanagement of the economy.
Feb 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ghost Ship , Feb 25, 2019 1:23:30 PM | link

>>>> Grieved | Feb 25, 2019 12:40:46 AM | 39

The United States has for more than a hundred years, two reasons to interfere in the Soviet Union/Russia. One was ideological with the United States wanting to focus its wealth in the hands of the one percent it could not allow communism to succeed as it was too great a threat to capitalism. The other is that it wants unobstructed access to the Soviet Union/Russian mineral wealth in the east, i.e., it wants to "own" Siberia.
With a successful Soviet Union/Russia, it was possible that revolution would spread through Europe and even to the United States. End of capitalism. Prior to the Second World War, the Soviet economy was doing well Then the Second World War came along and although militarily the Soviet Union was the victor it was at the price of its industrial base being severely damaged, so to make capitalism more attractive the United States poured wealth into Western Europe in the Marshall Plan and allowed European parties such as the British Labour Party, a nominally socialist party but a supporter of capitalism, to introduce the Welfare State to calm down the restless natives. With the ossification of the Soviet leadership and the eventual collapse of the USSR, the United States saw that there was no effective competition with capitalism so it pushed the world away from the Welfare State and towards neo-liberalism and austerity. The only problem is that the natives are getting restless again but with largely right-wing politicians in charge. Since most of those right-wing politicians are ardent capitalist, they're not prepared to make the jump to socialism of any type. When the right-wing politicians fail, then perhaps you'll see a massive shift to the left as people start to understand that capitalism, particularly the unregulated kind so beloved in the United States can't meet their needs.

BTW, it's not difficult to imagine what the MSM would make of a country that was socialist and nationalist, just look at the hatred directed at the SSNP.

[Feb 25, 2019] After an aid truck was burned by mysterious arsonists, the Venezuelan government fingered "false flag expert" Pompeo's "agents."

See also: Fake Hate Crimes: a database of hate crime hoaxes in the USA : http://www.fakehatecrimes.org/
Feb 25, 2019 | www.unz.com

The supposed Western aid convoy seeking to enter Venezuela from Columbia was obviously a set-up for false flags designed to trigger an escalation of Trump's war on Maduro's democratically-elected, constitutionally-legitimate government.

Not long after Russia warned that it was coming , the predicable "Maduro attack on the aid convoy" broke out. As in Ukraine, Syria, and other targets of US-Israeli destabilization, mysterious masked gunmen fired at both sides, igniting bloodshed that could be blamed on the targeted government. After an aid truck was burned by mysterious arsonists , the Venezuelan government fingered "false flag expert" Pompeo's "agents."

[Feb 24, 2019] "The US have spend on the color revultion in Ukraine 10 times more than on the color revolution in Georgia by Maxim Grigoriev

There are multiple analogies between Venezuela color revolution and EuroMaydan... This article is from April 17 2017 or one month after Ukraine far right came to power via armed uprising, deposing sitting President (which paradoxically was subservant to Washington neoliberal, with Biden as his best friend) which barely managed to escape alive.
Looks like closing the US embassy was a good move but "too little too late" on the part of Maduro government, if we are thinking about the typical mechanics of the color revolution, as was displayed during EuroMaydan. But functions of the US embassy probably were probably quickly re- distributed to UK and other NATO countries embassies, so this is a half-measure. In any case as this article suggests the defense against color revolution is a difficult art, as forces that try to unleash the color revolution are very powerful indeed and are very skillful in exploiting economic difficulties created with their own participation via sanction to topple the government.
They can also allow themselves huge injection of money into the country to feed the opposition, as well as performing coordination and planning role. Because the next stage is the economic rape of the country and in this sense those are money well spend.
In case of Venezuela the confiscation of CITCO is an ominous sign as it allows confiscated from the Maduro government funds to be used against him.
As Trump entered the Presidential race for 2020 election, the question of Venezuela color revolution success became the question of his prestige. that's probably why stanch neocon Elliott Abrams, who is the expert in regime change and covert operations for undermining the government, that US government want to topple, was dusted off and put in charge.
Apr 17, 2014 | izvestia.ru

The Director of Fund of research of problems of democracy Maxim Grigoriev -- technology coup in Ukraine

The political conflict between the authorities and the population in Ukraine is rapidly growing into a large-scale civil war, which leads to the split of the country. After Crimea, several other southeastern regions declared their desire to join Russia. The head of the "Foundation for the Research of the Problems of Democracy" , member of the Public Chamber and author of the book "the Regime of Saakashvili: how it was accomplished" Maxim Grigoriev told the correspondent of "Izvestia" Natalia Bashlykova why the new government can not agree with its own people, as well as which political force is interested in new Presidential Elections in the current conditions.

Q: Are there any facts that Ukraine really had a prepared project of the "orange revolution"?

- There are many such facts. To begin with, shortly before the activation of the Maidan in Ukraine, as if by a click of the switch, a number of oppoosition TV channels were created, which simultaneously began broadcasting on the Internet. Their main theme, of course, was the translation of opposition's speeches and protests. Actually propaganda of any activities of the opposition. On the Maidan they created for this purpose the whole military style system of uninterrupted provision of Internet. Which did have any interruption since it was created. There were temporary blackouts, but 99% of the time the Internet was availble. A large number of television cameras were purchased for the protesters. We know the facts when they went with cameras on lashes with the law enforcement, on occupation of government institutions... There were live broadcasts from everywhere.

In addition, Ukraine has a whole network of human rights organizations, all activists of which in the hour of the ICS were in the ranks of the opposition.

There is a very well-known statement of the presidential candidate of Ukraine Oleg Tsarev, made almost one day before the Maidan. November 20 in the Verkhovna Rada, he said that with the active support of the US Embassy the preparation is under way toward unleashing the civil war. The American instructors are actively training specialists trained in discrediting state institutions. He talked about the project" Techcamp", which was carried out under the patronage of the US Ambassador to Ukraine.

That is, there is a strong evidence from multiple sources, indicating that the EuroMaidan in terms of resources, mobilization of people was prepared at a very high level. If the choice of the date of uprising was not fixed and probably occurred somewhat spontaneously, but the script itself was prepared well in advance.

Q: Who and how implemented this scenario? Is the technology known?

- The main force that actually implemented the coup, were trained in Ukraine and hired fighters who were part of the"Right sector". They played a major role in the overthrow of power: attacked law enforcement agencies, carried out seizures of state institutions. The " Right sector "includes a number of organizations, but most of it, up to 70-80%, is a detachment of" Trident " named after Stepan Bandera under the leadership of Dmitry Yarosh. These are people who directly consider themselves the heirs of Bandera and talk about it with pride. They exist with the support of various state authorities of Ukraine. They have been training their people for almost 20 years. There is evidence that they worked closely with the security services of Ukraine. For example, with Valentin Nalivaychenko, who was and is now the head of the security Service of Ukraine. Yarosh was his assistant in his stay as the Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada. To the Yarosh book "Nation and state" Nalyvaychenko, wrote the Preface, which calls "the Right sector" partnership structure and looks forward to continued cooperation with him.

That is, the training was quite large-scale, it was attended by such elements as the removal of sentries, the attack of a subversive group, separation from prosecution, sniper shooting and others.

Q: Why neither the authorities, nor security officers didn't react to it?

Because the Ukrainian government itself supported the "Right sector", helped with funding and training. As I said, the security service of Ukraine participated in this work. Of course, there were those who perceived the "Right sector" as a force that can instll itself at power at any time, but there were also a number of politicians who saw it as a support for their interests, including for the maintaining of the power or neoliberal oligarchs.

Q: Why these forces came the population, after all, the Maidan was and ordinary people? They didn't know what was going on?

-- Here it is necessary to understand accurately what groups of the population came to the Maidan. First, the part of the population that supported the European Union and European integration. We can say that these are those who in Moscow call themselves the creative class, and I would rather call it the serving class. These are people who were sincerely sure that after signing the Association agreement with the European Union, their lives will change: Europe will begin to Finance the country, all problems with corruption will disappear, high-paying jobs will appear.

Secondly, the students, most of whom came out -- it is important to pay attention to this -- to these actions on the direct instructions of the rectors. They were exempted from attending lectures, supplied with food.

The most significant part on protesters were specially brought from the Western Ukraine, at some point they became the dominat force for EuroMaidan.

There were at meeting representatives of political parties to which it is possible to carry supporters Vitaly Klitschko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, but at some point this political management ceased to control a situation. As a result, the Maidan passed into the hands of the "Right sector" and self-defense units of Andrei Parubiy. It is on the militants of these groups all kept. These are those people who sincerely consider themselves successors of Stepan Bandera's business. They consider that the present situation in Ukraine-continuation of that situation in 1941 when their ancestors willingly cooperated with fascist Germany.

Q: How true that part of the people who went to the Maidan, received money for it?

-- Part of the insurgents, but I find it difficult to talk about any specific amounts, because the payment was differentiated. In addition, everyone had different sources of funding. But as a clear example of who was paid well -- Parubiy, which the media accused that during the Maidan he bought three apartments in Kiev.

Q: Was the removal of Yanukovych pre-planned?

- It was impossible to predict that Viktor Yanukovich would act in such a strange, cowardice way. There is an interesting comment of the Minister of internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov who says that it isn't clear to him how actually Yanukovych in the first days treated the Maidan: supported it or not, or was for European integration or against. At the end Yanukovich tried to avoid bloodshed and barely managed to escape the country alive. But, as we see now, this has led to even more bloodshed. Therefore, to predict this kind of situation was quite difficult.

Q: What was the final result expected by the authors of "project Ukraine"?

- The difficulty is that the Maidan was not one single project. It was a series of such interrelated projects. Because, for example, Europeans initially would like to see the President of Ukraine Vitali Klitschko. Americans on the contrary put on Yatsenyuk.

The main task of all external forces, of course, was to continue the policy of containment of Russia, as once the USSR. If Ukraine was not connected with Russia, it would not be of any interest except as another market for the sale of products and the market for cheap labor, perhaps even a transit route.

In addition, a number of internal interests of political players of Ukraine, primarily oligarchs, worked on the euromaidan. Therefore, the goal was not only the signing of the agreement on Ukraine's accession to the European Union and the imposition of Pro-American power, this is only part of the plan, which, perhaps, we do not fully know.

Q: How similar is this situation to the revolution in Georgia?

- There are similarities and differences. I studied Georgia a lot and studied in detail how Mikhail Saakashvili came to power, how he built his regime of retaining power and actually built a totalitarian regime. But nevertheless I can say that Saakashvili came to power with substantial support of the population. At first, Georgians lived with great expectations of positive changes. In Ukraine, the situation is fundamentally different: half of the country practically does not support the authorities from the Maidan. Most Ukrainians understand that it is focused on the interests of the Western regions, the Bandera region. While the other part of the country adheres to completely opposite views.

Therefore, the situation in Ukraine, unlike Georgia, is more serious, and it is difficult to say how it will develop. So far, what I see in Ukraine, I can evaluate as a negative scenario.

Actions for which the former oppostions, while Maylan was active, criticized Yanukovych, are now widelyly deployed to crahs the protests. But Yanukovich, in contrast, refused to use the armed forces in the fight against those who went to the Maidan. A new Ukrainian government can not exist without the support of the military and in accelerated pace leads the country to the civil war.

Although, as in the elections of the President of Georgia, in Ukraine today began with the support of US NGO such as the McCain Institute, which was conducting opinion polls, overestimating the ratings of the most convenient for the USA candidates, as well as engaged in the organization of election.

According to my information, the money allocated to Ukraine is 10 times more than to Georgia.

But it is still difficult to say how it will end.

[Feb 24, 2019] Appears weapons are being imported from Eastern Europe; same method used to supply jihadists in Syria

Feb 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Musburger , Feb 22, 2019 10:29:56 AM | link

https://sputniknews.com/latam/201902221072653394-us-aid-venezuela/

Appears weapons are being imported from Eastern Europe; same method used to supply jihadists in Syria.

[Feb 23, 2019] 52 mins UK documentary about Sharp's book 'From Dictatorship To Democracy' which lists 198 non-violent tactics, stunts and ploys intended to 'unsettle' a ruling Regime, the most unsurprising of which is to have the Protest Placards printed in English (for the benefit of NYT readers?).

Feb 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 22, 2019 1:14:21 PM | link

I've just been reviewing the 2011 UK doco How To Start A Revolution starring Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gene Sharp, his cute and sincere female sidekick Jamil Raqib, and a retired Military type Robert Helvey in the Pat Lang mould (swashbuckling).

It's 52 mins and is an Advertorial for Sharp's book 'From Dictatorship To Democracy' which lists 198 non-violent tactics, stunts and ploys intended to 'unsettle' a ruling Regime, the most unsurprising of which is to have the Protest Placards printed in English (for the benefit of NYT readers?).

It was made when the Syria 'uprising' was beginning. It covers EVERY color revolution and uprising with AmeriKKKa's fingerprints on them including the Gene Sharp fan who attempted to 'help' the Tienanmen Square protestors.

It devotes some time to Venezuela with a drive-by smearing of Maduro. But there's something quite fruitcake-ish about Sharp. Near the end of the doco he reels off a list of countries which have benefited from Gene's wisdom - one of which was AUSTRALIA (FFS)!

Well worth a look with Venezuela Showdown 1.1 imminent.
(There are numerous links on the www)

[Feb 23, 2019] Venezuela - Abrams To Make Sure Humanitarian Aid Flights Are Strictly By The Book

Notable quotes:
"... the False flag has arrived, the Washington post is now spreading the lie that Venezuelan soldiers shot civilians - now to see if the lie takes hold ..."
Feb 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Venezuela - Abrams To Make Sure Humanitarian Aid Flights Are "Strictly By The Book" bevin , Feb 22, 2019 9:53:19 AM | link

U.S. Department of State, February 21, 2019

Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams Travel to Miami and Cucuta, Colombia

Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams will travel to Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida and Cucuta, Colombia February 21-22 to support the delivery of humanitarian aid to some of the most vulnerable people in Venezuela in response to Interim President Guaido's request.

Special Representative Abrams will lead a U.S. government delegation to accompany humanitarian supplies to be transported from Florida to Colombia by military aircraft. While in Colombia Special Representative Abrams will meet Colombian President Duque and visiting delegations from Central and South America.

---

New York Times, August 17, 1987

Abrams Denies Wrongdoing In Shipping Arms to Contras

Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams has defended his role in authorizing the shipment of weapons on a humanitarian aid flight to Nicaraguan rebels, saying the operation was "strictly by the book."

Mr. Abrams spoke at a news conference Saturday in response to statements by Robert Duemling, former head of the State Department's Nicaraguan humanitarian assistance office, who said he had twice ordered planes to shuttle weapons for the contras on aid planes at Mr. Abrams's direction in early 1986.

According to Strategic Culture Abrams is not the slickest of operators, for example, while leading the crusade against Nicaragua:
"Abrams solicited an illegal $10 million contribution to the Contras from the Sultan of Brunei. When North later gave Abrams the Swiss bank account number for Lake Resources, a CIA front in Geneva, he gave Abrams the wrong prefix of 368 instead of the actual number 386. Abrams then passed the account number to Brunei. In Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah wired $10 million from the Citibank branch in Brunei to the wrong account at Credit Suisse in Geneva. Due to North's and Abram's error, a Swiss shipping magnate was suddenly $10 million wealthier. .."
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/02/22/trump-contra-war-redux-in-latin-america.html

pretzelattack , Feb 22, 2019 9:56:46 AM | link

abrams made sure only the right babies ended up on bayonets at el mozote, how can we not trust somebody like that?
Zanon , Feb 22, 2019 10:09:48 AM | link
Salvador Allende's grandson thanks @rogerwaters for supporting Venezuela.
https://twitter.com/ml_maria_/status/1098305172407795713

... ... ...

Musburger , Feb 22, 2019 10:29:56 AM | link
https://sputniknews.com/latam/201902221072653394-us-aid-venezuela/
Appears weapons are being imported from Eastern Europe; same method used to supply jihadists in Syria.
librul , Feb 22, 2019 10:34:20 AM | link
It has started. WaPo is reporting that civilians have been shot at the border by Venezuelan soldiers.
dh , Feb 22, 2019 10:42:41 AM | link
A fatality at the Brazilian border apparently but the situation is confusing. It's unclear where the empty truck incident took place but it wasn't at the actual Venezuela/Colombia border. Mariara is a town between Caracas and Cucuta.

"One person has been killed and 12 are injured after Venezuelan troops opened fire on civilians trying to keep a border checkpoint open for aid deliveries, it has been claimed.

Troops arrived at a checkpoint set up by an indigenous community in Kumarakapai, on Venezuela's southern border with Brazil early this morning.

But when civilians tried to block military vehicles, soldiers opened fire shooting 12 and killing a woman named as Zorayda Rodriguez, 42, according to the Washington Post. "

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6732927/Guaidos-trucks-RAM-roadblocks-Venezuelan-border.html

Miss Lacy , Feb 22, 2019 10:54:00 AM | link
Don't have the link, but I urge you to take a look at www.mintpressnews.com for an update on the "take over" of the Venezuelan embassy in Costa Rica. The person in charge (!?) is Maria Faria whose father is in jail for his part in an assasination attempt on Chavez. The gov of Costa Rica is not amused. These are the people who will "bring democracy to Venezuela" Right. BTW, she bribed her way into the building.

Meanwhile, the false flag may be occurring. Zero hedge has a report of a civilian at the brazilian border.

Tom Welsh , Feb 22, 2019 11:08:58 AM | link
Strictly by the "CIA book", that is. The one that allows Americans to cheat, lie and murder as much as they like, and then say it's all for the good of those who are cheated, lied to and murdered.

https://a.disquscdn.com/get?url=https%3A%2F%2Fpbs.twimg.com%2Fmedia%2FDi-NDu2XoAUSh6i.jpg&key=9qFiHdP41K6ADQbPq1VDSw&w=800&h=440

b4real , Feb 22, 2019 11:33:34 AM | link
Here is link to crazy lady who appointed herself Venezuela ambassador..
Bc , Feb 22, 2019 11:34:44 AM | link
Hopefully someone can explain. Current inflation rate in Venezuela is 2.6 million %! Is this correct? If so how did this happen and how is country surviving? And how is Maduro maintaining his support?
Zanon , Feb 22, 2019 11:43:07 AM | link
Venezuela have acted naive the whole time, they know US will provoke for weeks and haven't done anything. Even the ambassadors from US, EU are still in Venezuela! China, Russia haven't done anything for all these months, they are also to blame for not stopping this aggression.

Russia say, "US-run border 'provocation' to topple Maduro set for February 23, Moscow warns "https://www.rt.com/news/452179-us-venezuela-provocation-border/ well act then, put a resolution in the UNSC to start with!

arby , Feb 22, 2019 12:04:50 PM | link
Be @ 13

"Current inflation rate in Venezuela is 2.6 million %! Is this correct? "

No

CE , Feb 22, 2019 12:05:32 PM | link
The just-published new episode of Empire Files is a gift to all infowarriors containing most relevant topical information. Share widely and kudos to Abby Martin and Mike Prysner:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii5MlQgGXyk

Jose Garcia , Feb 22, 2019 12:25:35 PM | link
"Strictly by the book...." And I believe in Santa Claus.
arby , Feb 22, 2019 12:33:59 PM | link
@ 11
"The one that allows Americans to cheat, lie and murder as much as they like, and then say it's all for the good of those who are cheated, lied to and murdered." I have come to the belief that that is what they mean by the word "FREEDOM".
Kadath , Feb 22, 2019 12:44:30 PM | link
the False flag has arrived, the Washington post is now spreading the lie that Venezuelan soldiers shot civilians - now to see if the lie takes hold
Victor J. , Feb 22, 2019 12:55:57 PM | link
Interesting facts about the economy in Venezuela. There isn`t enough currency in the hands of the population but inflation keeps rising and stores are "empty". Some unions are asking for pay increases at the same time saying that their currency is worthless. The value of the dollar is fixed in Miami by DollarToDay or some crap like that but the government doesn't do anything about it.
Is this Econ101 or the Twightlight Zone School of Economics.
frances , Feb 22, 2019 1:00:47 PM | link
reply to Lochearn 6

Your post is terrifying to me, and hopefully B will approve of my reposting it in case anyone misses it the first time.

"It seems they are a pleasant family the Abrams. On her blog, Rachel Adams, wife of Elliott wrote about the Palestinians:

"Transformer-doodling, homework-losing children of Others -- and their offspring -- those who haven't already been pimped out by their mothers to the murder god -- as shields, hiding behind their burkas and cradles like the unmanned animals they are, and throw them not into your prisons, where they can bide until they're traded by the thousands for another child of Israel, but into the sea, to float there, food for sharks, stargazers, and whatever other oceanic carnivores God has put there for the purpose.""

frances , Feb 22, 2019 1:10:12 PM | link
re the Daily Mail and ZeroHedge article(s) on the "shooting." Not sure that the shooting story is legit.
There are no photos of the troops shooting, there is video of the troops NOT shooting when attacked by various people, there are photos of people on gurneys with possible wounds, but we all have been down THAT road before...(White Helmets....)I will wait for the govt's take on the event.
IMO all of this is setting us up for the idiotic concert, my guess is we will see a Maidan set to music or possibly a rerun of the Vegas shooting.
BTW, I have posted the NY Times 1987 article above in reply to several Daily Mail and Sputnik posts. Thank you B for enabling me to do so.
pretzelattack , Feb 22, 2019 1:14:53 PM | link
ah, shoulda known they wouldn't give up this easily. mueller doesn't have any evidence, so there will probably be a few weeks of handwringing about the report being doctored, followed by entreaties to vote for a centrist democrat to beat trump, and for god's sake don't vote for sanders, cause he can't protect us against putin or something.
james , Feb 22, 2019 1:19:40 PM | link
@19 kadath... it's totally predictable... if that doesn't work, as many false flags as necessary will be used..
vk , Feb 22, 2019 1:50:56 PM | link
@ Posted by: Victor J. | Feb 22, 2019 12:55:57 PM | 20

Hyperinflation can be easily explained by the fact the Venezuelan right-wing is the bourgeoisie, thus they control the circulation of goods. Without the stores (lock-out), there is not goods in a monetized society.

But that doesn't stop there: lack of circulation fuels black market. The stronger the black market, the higher the prices, the higher the inflation. To top it off, it is embargoed, so imports are not an option. In this scenario (siege + lockout), bandits thrive.

However, the situation is artificial. Where the shops are open, there is no shortage of essential goods . There is no hunger in Venezuela -- at least nothing out of the extraordinaire for capitalist standards (and specially, Latin American standards, where extreme poverty is ubiquitous). The defficiency is with the more manufactured goods (specially medicine, but alos hygiene products etc). Since Venezuela also has a very weak milk production, they also suffer with its supply and of its derivatives.

Venezuela is a textbook Dutch Disease country. It is astonishing Chávez didn't redirect the resources of the oil boom towards industrialization. Lenin and Stalin did it under a much more severe situation, so there is no excuse for Chávez putting the cart in front of the oxen.

vk , Feb 22, 2019 1:55:10 PM | link
Alleged incident 70km from the Venezuela-Brazil border leaves one dead

From Reuters: on Indigenous person was allegedly killed by Venezuelan solidiers in the city of Kumarakapay. The rumor also claims there are many wounded.

Desolation Row , Feb 22, 2019 2:03:24 PM | link
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 22, 2019 1:14:21 PM | 25

"one of which was AUSTRALIA (FFS)!"

Hoarse

Have you forgotten? 1975: CIA + MI5/6 coup against Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam
re: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nugan_Hand_Bank
Poor Gough got too curious about Nugan Hand and that simply won't do. Next up, Malcolm Fraser who immediately flew off to DC and a meeting with Ronnie RayGun. Good ole Malcolm reportedly made time in his busy schedule for a meeting with David Rockefeller also.

Same as it ever was

lgfocus , Feb 22, 2019 2:24:16 PM | link
karlof1

D's run around wanting all these nice things for Americans while they continue to support "regime change" wars that kill, maim and destroy the infrastructure of countries all over the world so our corporations can steal their resources and we keep our military/intelligence and congressional community fat and happy. When all that money we use on destruction could be used here at home on something constructive. What a bunch of hypocrites. Sanders among them.

The house even passed a bill unanimously that allows us to sanction anyone aiding in the reconstruction of any Syrian land held by the Syrian government. The demise of this country can't happen soon enough.

frances , Feb 22, 2019 2:31:28 PM | link
reply to lgfocus 37

"The house even passed a bill unanimously that allows us to sanction anyone aiding in the reconstruction of any Syrian land held by the Syrian government."

Sadly the US is among the sorest losers of all time. Salting the earth where ever it goes. Although, I recall Assad said that no country that participated in the country's attempted destruction could ever have a role in the rebuild, so we may be just seeing sour grapes:)

Pft , Feb 22, 2019 2:52:57 PM | link
So a FF on 2-22 at the Venezuela border surprises absolutely nobody , except plant life in human form.
Anon2 , Feb 22, 2019 3:01:07 PM | link
Posted by: CE | Feb 22, 2019 12:05:32 PM | 16

Thanks so much for posting this link to Abby Martin's new piece. The interview with the UN Human Rights Investigator Alfred de Zayas is extermely revealing, I strongly recommend viewing it to really understand the situation and the machinations of the power interests that want to control Venezuela. As well as what he calls "the ocean of lies". He says so much, a very knowledgeable and truthful person, an expert in fact.

Zico , Feb 22, 2019 3:05:27 PM | link
The revolution of the bourgeois/grand children of ex cololianlists who simply cannot accept that their grandparents' loot have been taken over by the brown people.ie, Native Indians and black Africans.

What's happeing in Venezuela is a small part of a wider trend sweeping across Latin America.ie: the old colonialists want their possisions back and they have a willing partner in the US to help them achieve this dream. Thet've succeeded in Brazil, Argentina etc and won't stop until the make Latin America great again.


Funny thing about this coup is that, the execution was so sloppy that it's almost comical. Essentially some wimpy guy with very powerful connections suddenly appoints himself as leader of the country and is almost immediately legitimaized by ex-colonial powers - how democratic!
It's even got to a point where some US officials are now issueing personal death threats against members of the Venezuelan government if they don't defect. I guess one has to do whatever it takes.


As things currently stand, it's a satlemate which might end up with the bourgeois moving on to Miami to join their Cuban cousins who're still wating for the US to install them leaders of Cuba again someday.....soon(whatever that means).

PS: I heard Richard Branson is throwing a rave for the revolition this weekend. Goes to show how much vested interest are involved in this coup. It's like Cuba all over again.

Ghost Ship , Feb 22, 2019 3:06:11 PM | link
>>> Domza | Feb 22, 2019 1:25:03 PM | 28
Has anyone watched any of the Branson concert? It's dire.
There are only about 22,000 viewers on Youtube and the shots of the very large crowd have a completely different colour balance to the rest suggesting that they were filmed somewhere else, and occasionally they pan from the performers out towards the audience but the numbers don't come close to the 250,000 claimed.
Anon2 , Feb 22, 2019 3:08:59 PM | link
Posted by: Victor J. | Feb 22, 2019 12:55:57 PM | 20

I understand that people in Venezuela use plastic cards for day to day transactions, as the paper currency is scarce. I suspect those millions of percent inflation figures relate the the convertible value of the currency into foreign currency, not day to day purchases of staple foods grown in the country.

I've watched a lot of video reports from the streets recently from Telesur and similar and most people look well fed to me. You can see the contrast with Haiti - many of those oeople really do look hungry and desperate.

CE , Feb 22, 2019 3:22:01 PM | link
Richard Branson's shill concert is going on right now, with (if we believe the google algorithm) 184 thousand viewers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEu5bpVq6_k

jsb , Feb 22, 2019 3:30:16 PM | link
@43 Ghost Ship:

The psy-op (fake images with massive crowds from a different concert) of the Live Aid are making the rounds

Fake image #1
Fake image #2

Real images from the actual Live Aid:

Real image #1
Real image #2
Real images #3

Notice in the real images the stage is located on the curved portion of the bridge and is positioned in a -45 degree angle (to face the crowd) relative to the flow of traffic, whereas the fake images the stage is in the middle of the bridge on a straight portion of the bridge and is faced at 180 degrees relative to the flow of traffic. Two completely different scenes!

Abby Martin's newest video: An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela: Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose Coup

Video of Elliot Abrams landed and shaking hands with Colombian delegation including Colombian President Ivan Duque.

Domza , Feb 22, 2019 3:30:17 PM | link
RT's guy on site reckons there are 5000 at Branson's Cucuta cringe-fest.
John Anthony La Pietra , Feb 22, 2019 3:48:36 PM | link
Does "by the book" refer to that decade-or-so-old alternative-power manual for fomenting coups that Wikileaks re-posted recently?
AriusArmenian , Feb 22, 2019 3:52:46 PM | link
Elliott 'Iran-Contra' Abrams is an unembarrassed accomplished liar and warmonger, a vermin that operates at the lowest duplicitous level.

If he crosses the border into Venezuela with so-called aid shipments we might just get lucky if the Venezuelan army has to open fire.

Sunny Runny Burger , Feb 22, 2019 4:05:46 PM | link
The attack on Venezuela is a flop and it isn't going anywhere. The US military has to already be extremely aware they can't possibly win (see my comment 114 in "Trump Likes 'Beautiful' Border Walls" and then Juliana mentioned/added the Darién Gap which means the US has even less options for logistics).

Venezuela already has anti-aircraft and anti-ship systems that can reach well outside its borders and of its supporters have systems that reach much further (anywhere).

- Billionaire Bernie is just another fake, as is anyone at all who's running for POTUS no matter how small their party is.
- Washington Post has no journalists at all and thus no one either outside or inside Venezuela. Ignore their noise.
- The zombie slaves of the US inside the US and elsewhere aren't going to make any difference.
- The public propaganda is not actually for public consumption, it is only for the purpose of continued delirium by the "elites" continuously telling themselves they're not addicts to evil and that they're getting away with it all even though the year is 2019 and it's incredibly difficult to figure out what they're supposedly not failing at or how they're not making everything worse for everybody including themselves (privately hoarding green waste paper is not a victory only a mental deficiency born of insecurity).
- There's no hyperinflation when it comes to oil and gold which are the de facto international currencies of Venezuela and considering a full tank of gas in Venezuela costs something like 1 Bolivar (let's call that 1 millionth of a US dollar according to the bullshit about hyperinflation) the local economy is completely unaffected. It is interesting that US dollars are practically unusable in Venezuela (as they should be because they're worthless).
- Venezuela is incredibly far off from reaching the 20 Trillion USD debt level of the US.

I'm starting to think the whole attack against Venezuela is simply noisy misdirection away from something else more significant. Either way it's going to cost the US dearly (what made them think it was a good idea to antagonize Venezuela further? If there's no war they continue to lose influence and if there's a war they lose much more).

Miss Lacy , Feb 22, 2019 4:38:27 PM | link
to b4real. # 12. Thank you. I will try to do better. Miss Lacy.
Cam , Feb 22, 2019 4:44:15 PM | link
Venezuela positions S 300 at the border with Brazil
http://www.defesanet.com.br/ven/noticia/32142/Exclusivo--Venezuela-Posiciona-Misseis-S-300-na-Fronteira-com-o-Brasil/
stevelaudig , Feb 22, 2019 4:44:17 PM | link
strictly by the book. and the name of the book was "Mein Kampf"
FH , Feb 22, 2019 4:52:13 PM | link
Seeing Elliot ( I only spread democracy and freedom ) Abrams digress into a lisping,indignant mess while being grilled by a very brave Ihan Omar was priceless. Such a display of courage is almost non existent by the invertebrates in today's political parties. Unfortunately getting your feathers ruffled is a weak punishment for genocide. As Alan Nairn pointed out years ago if all was fair Elliot Abrams would be a perfect fit in the dock.
Pft , Feb 22, 2019 4:55:45 PM | link
Sunny@52

Venezuelas debt is 3 times GDP, and much of it in a currency they dont control. US debt equals its GDP, and all if it in its own currency. I am pretty sure dollars on the black market are in great demand.

jsb , Feb 22, 2019 5:34:44 PM | link
Posted by: jsb | Feb 22, 2019 3:30:16 PM | 48

Addendum to my previous post. Finally figured out where the fake concert photos are from. They are from the 'Peace Without Borders concert of March 16 2008' . Moreover, the 300K number that has been pushed by Branson and by the MSM is no coincedence at all either. That number is the estimated number of attendees from the actual 2008 concert .

Here is the evidence:

Here is a photo of a side-by-side views of the concert from 2008 (on the left) vs. the one from today 2019 Live Aid (on the right)

Here is youtube video from 2008 concert (Please look 0:09 sec @4:36 min mark)

jsb , Feb 22, 2019 5:37:20 PM | link
For got to add the actual concert photo that is going around pretending to be from 2019 Venezuelan Live Aid.

Here it is; it is from the BBC.

m , Feb 22, 2019 5:51:00 PM | link
The Saker is keeping an open thread with a lot of good links by commentators as the events unfold in Venezuela in the next 48 hours: https://thesaker.is/sticky-open-thread-on-venezuela/
Pft , Feb 22, 2019 6:08:38 PM | link
Trump is accusing Cuba of having troops in Venezuela. Could Trump be wanting to do Cuba too?

Trump scraps the INF and wants to give Saudis nuclear technology, and representing the party of the Christian Right wants to force all countries to legalize homosexuality. LOL. World gets crazier every day

karlof1 , Feb 22, 2019 6:29:00 PM | link
Pft @67--

Recent WSJ item said Trump's plan included Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. According to Pepe Escobar, Cuba has 15,000 troops in Venezuela. Any transfer of nuclear tech to Saudi violates numerous US laws and NPT as well. Trump's move on gay rights is supposed to pressure Iran.

juliania , Feb 22, 2019 6:47:07 PM | link
This is also from Saker - I will put the heading in without that attribution, sorry I am not good at appropriate links but scrolling down on the front page at that site will get you to this important message:

venezuelan-vicepresident-delcy-rodriguez-press-conference-feb-21-2019/

There are 9 purported aid trucks in Cucuta vs. what the vice president is saying are 149 being already mobilized by the Venezuelan government. She begins by thanking the Holland government for their support, remarks that there are 'no attention or programs directed to vulnerable sectors of our sister republic of Columbia' and ends by saying the Venezuelan government has apprised the governments of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic of concern about special forces arriving there.

jayc , Feb 22, 2019 6:49:47 PM | link
Did anyone else notice the news story yesterday of eight heavily armed American special forces types detained in Haiti, then taken to the airport and flown back to USA? National Post & CTV in Canada ran story, but no follow up.
dh , Feb 22, 2019 7:15:06 PM | link
Curacao backs away from the aid effort.

"
Curacao government communications officer Corinne Leysner told AFP the island's parliament had agreed to act as a hub for aid "but that goods cannot leave for Venezuela until there is a safe environment to receive them."

She said the government could not permit the boat to leave with the shipment for security reasons after Maduro's government ordered the closure of Venezuela's sea and air borders with Curacao.

"It is a safety issue. Of course we want to help the people of Venezuela but we are not going to be choosing fights," Leysner said.

https://www.france24.com/en/20190222-curacao-blocks-venezuela-aid-ship-cargo-captain

In other news it looks like Peter Gabriel had second thoughts too.

Nick , Feb 22, 2019 8:11:36 PM | link
Interesting. Curacao is mostly a Dutch semi colony.
Pft , Feb 22, 2019 8:20:16 PM | link
Karlof1@69

Thanks for the info. I had no idea Cuba had so many troops in Venezuela.

Not entirely sure how Trump can pressure Iran into legalizing Homosexuality. Interested in seeing how his supporters take it. Of course his mentor Roy Cohn was a homosexual who died of AIDS. Trumps also recently come out saying he wants to focus on eliminating AIDS. A tribute to his late mentor (partner?)

karlof1 , Feb 22, 2019 8:36:57 PM | link
Pft @75--

Trump's aim is based on his assumption that Iran will never allow equal rights for homosexuals, wants it to become the only nation denying them, then use the R2P concept to attack Iran.

RE Venezuela, the entire aid charade is also being utilized to promote the R2P concept as basis for invasion.

Colombian military bases leased by Outlaw US Empire can be seen on this map .

Pft , Feb 22, 2019 9:10:23 PM | link
Karlof1@76

Interesting. That would be a way to get the LGBT crowd to go along with a war against Iran, at least that portion that is not owned by the Israeli lobby

The Cuban connection adds another group that will support war on Venezuela in the hopes it could topple Cubas government, although he frankly has the support of both parties for Venezuela regime change, short of all out war

All thats needed now is Iran to be found supporting Venezuela and Venezuela and Cuba added to the list of countries supporting Terrorists. Maybe thats what the next FF brings us. After that he can get support to take on Venezuela , Iran and Cuba together and get NATO to support this. Hope not .

Lozion , Feb 22, 2019 9:19:18 PM | link
Random Guydo crossed into Colombia to make a speech at the live aid concert, see thread here:

https://twitter.com/conflictsw/status/1099101357158600707?s=21

michaelj72 , Feb 22, 2019 9:28:42 PM | link
He plays by the book, alright, it's called The Book of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. and those are impeachable and Go to Jail offenses. he's a monster.... But he's our monster, sayeth the spooks and Trumpster
psychohistorian , Feb 22, 2019 9:42:13 PM | link
Hey fellow Americans

Why go to the movies when real life is much more interesting to watch......

Watch your tax dollars at work R2Ping other countries for private profit.....by the book of course

Soon the music is going to stop with us Americans being blamed and not those who own private finance and everything else.

I guess the good news is that soon the music will stop and a new game will be arranged for us all to play....aren't we all excited?

Jen , Feb 22, 2019 9:43:40 PM | link
Over at the Open Comments thread (thanks to M @ 64 who posted the link), a commenter (GF) there has said that 2 days after the Brumadinho dam disaster in Minas Gerais (occurred 25 January 2019), the Brazilian government allowed an Israeli plane with 136 personnel and 16 tonnes of equipment to land in the area to assist in emergency aid efforts. The Brazilian Congress had given no approval for the Israeli plane to fly in and there was no audit or control over the movements of the people and equipment on the plane. The plane stayed for 2 days and then left.

Google suggests that driving from Brumadinho to Santa Elena de Uairen at the sole Brazil-Venezuela crossover point would take 64 hours (nearly 3 days) via the BR-174 highway.

ben , Feb 22, 2019 10:06:41 PM | link
As we enter the "silly season"(election fever), the disinformation will fly fast and furiously. Be careful who and what you believe. One thing you can be sure of, the empire and it's minions, have limitless amounts of $ to convince anyone that water isn't wet.

I for one, will be shocked if the Mueller investigation produces anything concrete. DJT is the perfect rep for the people he represents, and it's NOT the working classes.

Wishing the Venezuelan people all the best, as they struggle against another onslaught from the evil empire.

ben , Feb 22, 2019 10:10:12 PM | link
From TRNN on Venezuelan sovereignty:

https://therealnews.com/stories/what-is-at-stake-in-venezuela-national-sovereignty

alaff , Feb 22, 2019 10:26:20 PM | link
Pompeo is very frank.
QUESTION: If you're moving against these regimes that are not democratic, many Nicaraguan people, Cuban people are saying, "Are you going to help us next?"

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, President Trump's administration has done so and will continue to do so not just in Venezuela but certainly Nicaragua and Cuba as well . <...>

Source .

Cyril , Feb 22, 2019 11:06:37 PM | link
@vk | Feb 22, 2019 1:50:56 PM | 31

It is astonishing Chávez didn't redirect the resources of the oil boom towards industrialization.

Industrialization requires the cooperation of the educated middle and upper classes -- but these classes were precisely the people opposing Chávez. So he needed to educate his people, and that needed time (a generation or two). Chávez died too soon.

Lenin and Stalin did it under a much more severe situation, so there is no excuse for Chávez putting the cart in front of the oxen.

The USSR had a civil war and defeated the White Army, much as China defeated its Nationalists (also in a civil war). Note that these countries were able to industrialize. Venezuela could not, probably because its elites were undefeated and were fighting Chávez hard, and are fighting Maduro even harder.

Pft , Feb 22, 2019 11:34:38 PM | link
Psychohistorian@80

"Soon the music is going to stop with us Americans being blamed and not those who own private finance and everything else."

Exactly. The script is already written. After all this support will be there for a Global Government that will issue the Carbon Dollar/Credits and monitor/control energy consumption and be run by those who today run international private finance and the major Central Banks. They will demand reparations from American Citizens in the form of a higher carbon tax and asset forfeiture ( resources, military,etc) which is why they will be supported by 95% of the worlds population. The US elite will support this after being assured of global citizenship and protection of their assets. Global citizenship entitles you to reside in any country .

They might even split us up into 10-12 pieces with each piece as a separate government along FEMA/COGS lines.

Trump will get an Oscar for his role in finishing off what Sir Bush Sr and those who knocked off JFK started. He might even get ownership of Cuba and run the country as the worlds biggest Casino

Putin probably gets to be Global President and Xi can be Minister of Security and Israel's Sanhedrin will head the Global Justice Department, Google and Twitter will merge as the Ministry of Truth and Bibi will handle the Population Control Department aka Extermination Department. Bibi will appoint MBS as Chief Shiah Exterminator, use your imagination for the rest.

denk , Feb 23, 2019 12:02:56 AM | link
'crisis', alarm, solution. Never let a 'crisis' be wasted. Weaponisation of 'aids' from Myanmar, Aceh,Haiti, ............to Venezuela.

On 'opporunity'uncle sham, the perennial opportunist.

Bush on 911 'Thru the tears, I see an opportunity'

Condi Rice, 'This crisis in Myanmar give us a wonderful opportunity'

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/11/open-thread-2013-24.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef019b0128b2b8970d

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/11/open-thread-2013-24.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef019b0138806c970b

karlof1 , Feb 23, 2019 12:13:34 AM | link
Cyril @85--

To those who say Chavez didn't do enough, I say You'd have surrendered in 2002 and the Revolution would've died with you.

I closely watched Chavez and Venezuela. The most important accomplishment was getting the Bolivarian Constitution composed and passed into existence. The 2nd most important feat was constructing TeleSur as before it and the myriad low-power radio stations also devised there was only the elite-owned BigLie Media, Venezuelan edition. Those two stellar accomplishments allowed Venezuelans to participate in and defend their democracy . Contemporaneous with those developments was the rapid drive to improve literacy, for participatory democracy demands a literate citizenry. IIRC, literacy went from @40% to 90+% in time for the vote on the Constitution. And those are just the basic fundamentals. Land reform and redistribution was attempted as was reorganizing the petroleum industry. Could Chavez have instituted more radical reform? Yes, but at substantial risk. The recent developments prompted me to suggest that Maduro go all the way and nationalize all important businesses since he really has nothing to lose. But I'm not there observing everything, so my suggestion isn't totally credible. It's hard not to want vengeance on the reactionary forces and their stooges; but as the Russian and Chinese Civil Wars proved, it's probably better to eject those forces and most of its stooges and struggle without whatever expertise they provided.

Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 23, 2019 12:28:50 AM | link
"one of which was AUSTRALIA (FFS)!"
Hoarse

Have you forgotten? 1975: CIA + MI5/6 coup against Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
...
Same as it ever was
Posted by: Desolation Row | Feb 22, 2019 2:03:24 PM | 34

No, I haven't forgotten.
What makes Gene Sharp's AUSTRALIA claim so bizarre is that the entire purpose of his various Regime Change Bibles is to provide cherry-picked seeds for large anti-govt protests in order to create the illusion of a Citizen's Popular Uprising as a prelude to "Step Down" demands.

But that's not what happened to Whitlam. There were no pre-Step Down public protests. He was the victim of a Palace Coup contrived by politicians who ignored the Will of The People when making their moves.

It's 'interesting' because...
1. Gene Sharp claims Whitlam's demise as a victory for his teachings.
2. It bore no resemblance whatsoever to his recommended template.
3. Sharp was often accused of being funded by the CIA, which he tries to laugh off in the doco.
4. But he's claimed a behind-the-scenes manipulation victory, with CIA and British Empire fingerprints all over it, as a Gene Sharp victory.

Cyril , Feb 23, 2019 1:22:54 AM | link
@karlof1 | Feb 23, 2019 12:13:34 AM | 88

To those who say Chavez didn't do enough, I say You'd have surrendered in 2002 and the Revolution would've died with you.

Agreed.


I closely watched Chavez and Venezuela. The most important accomplishment was getting the Bolivarian Constitution composed and passed into existence. The 2nd most important feat was constructing TeleSur as before it and the myriad low-power radio stations also devised there was only the elite-owned BigLie Media, Venezuelan edition. Those two stellar accomplishments allowed Venezuelans to participate in and defend their democracy . Contemporaneous with those developments was the rapid drive to improve literacy, for participatory democracy demands a literate citizenry. IIRC, literacy went from @40% to 90+% in time for the vote on the Constitution. And those are just the basic fundamentals. Land reform and redistribution was attempted as was reorganizing the petroleum industry.

Good summary, thank you. Clearly, Chávez had a monumental task. He died far too soon.


Could Chavez have instituted more radical reform? Yes, but at substantial risk.

Indeed. Leaving hostile oligarchs in place has the substantial risk that they could stab the revolution in the back. (Because of this, Putin has to be very careful.)

A democratic change of government has the advantage that the change can be accomplished with little bloodshed, at least at first, and the disadvantage that the change is unlikely to last: Brazil will be undoing everything Lula did.

I would like to add another country, besides the USSR and China, that was able to industrialize after overcoming its elites: the USA.


It's hard not to want vengeance on the reactionary forces and their stooges; but as the Russian and Chinese Civil Wars proved, it's probably better to eject those forces and most of its stooges and struggle without whatever expertise they provided.

I think so too.

S , Feb 23, 2019 1:52:59 AM | link
So the poor people of Venezuela are being attacked by: a) rich and middle-class people of Venezuela, who withhold food and essential products from them, as well as put them under extreme stress by creating hyperinflation, b) the United States, reducing Venezuela income and thus reducing its ability to help its poor. Then these two groups claim to be so worried about the plight of the poor that they threaten military action against the Venezuelan armed forces staffed by the same Venezuelan poor, unless the democratically elected, legitimate President of the poor is removed and an illegitimate usurper, President of the rich, is installed. Inversion is the hallmark of a sociopath.

[Feb 22, 2019] Entirely without the knowledge of governments in the areas involved, and with total disregard for the sovereignty of these states, the preparation of a military action continues, using a humanitarian pretext

Feb 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tony Seed , Feb 21, 2019 11:32:42 PM | 113 ">link

One cannot focus exclusively on one border. Since assuming command in November of US Southern Command, US Admiral Faller has "visited" Brazil and Curaçao, Trinidad & Tobago and Columbia -- all surrounding Venezuela -- as well as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

"Humanitarian hubs" were established during these visits in Colombia, Brazil and Curacao, with the agreement of NATO bloc member Netherlands which controls the island's defence and foreign policy.

Naval deployments cannot be ignored either, as the post on the USS Abraham Lincoln reminds. The HMCS Charlottetown is also in that area, with the ship's transponder turned off.

This was first reported on my blog on Feb. 15., as the organization of a collective siege of Venezuela from all sides, not one. https://tonyseed.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/warship-watch-royal-navy-southcom-commander-land-in-curacao-amidst-threats-against-venezuela/

The decision of the Maduro government to close the border with Brazil and the maritime border with Curacao is correct and in defence of his country's sovereignty. It also confirms there is far more ominous moves afoot than advertised in the psychological war by American actors such as Sen Marco Rubio grandstanding with US Air Force transport aircraft and cookies in Cúcata, Colombia or the forthcoming concert on Feb. 23 in that city of the billionaire Richard Branson of the "white man's burden" type. At the same time, the situation is very fluid.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, at a press conference for the national and international media, held at Minrex headquarters, February 19, 2019, pointed out:

The Revolutionary Government statement dated February 13, with full responsibility and all necessary facts, affirmed, and I reiterate, that U.S. military transport flights are taking place, originating at U.S. military installations from which operate special forces units and marine infantry used for undercover actions, including those directed against leaders or persons considered valuable.

Entirely without the knowledge of governments in the areas involved, and with total disregard for the sovereignty of these states, the preparation of a military action continues, using a humanitarian pretext.

Yesterday afternoon, President Donald Trump and other high-ranking functionaries and spokespeople for the U.S. government repeated and confirmed that the military option is among those being considered. Yesterday, the President said: All options are open.

According to the media in the U.S. itself, high-ranking U.S. military commands, which do not, have never, taken charge of humanitarian aid, have held meetings with politicians in the U.S. and other nations, and have made visits to sites clearly related to the issue we are addressing.

[Feb 22, 2019] Venezuelan military rejected overtures by the USA leadership

Feb 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Feb 21, 2019 1:03:07 PM | link

Rebuttal Speech by Venezuela's Minister of Defense leaves no doubt as to the loyalty of the military and puts all the Gringo neocons in their place. While not too long, I thought this verbal pointed stick at the end of his explanation of what it takes to lead in Venezuela was great:

"You of course have to be elected and get a majority of votes. After you gain the majority of votes, the people will have freely expressed their voluntary willingness. Indirect elections occur in the United States. In Venezuela, we have direct elections according to the procedures of National Electoral Council."

The point being, Trump is NOT a man of the people's choosing and has zero authority to command anything Venezuelan.

Someone mentioned the Treaty of Rome and the insane idea that Venezuela could be indicted for a war crime which is totally ludicrous as it's very plain that the Outlaw US Empire's been in violation of international law over its illegal sanctions and other measures that are indeed War Crimes and crimes against its own constitution.

IMO, Venezuela should only fear the nuclear assets of the Outlaw US Empire. Yet, employing them will only serve to contaminate the very resources the Empire wants to steal and in reality are useless. Neither the Colombian or Brazilian militaries have the proper assets to secure a victory over Venezuela's military, nor does the Outlaw US Empire unless it commits all its Naval & Marine assault assets--and even then those won't be enough. One of the key indicators being ignored by the Empire is that many in the Opposition are against any invasion of their nation, and that the small 5th Column will quickly evaporate once the civilian slaughter begins.

Other musings: How many Venezuelan pilots have secretly received combat training in Syria once this confrontation loomed and are not green as anticipated? What about all those munitions captured by Syria, particularly all those TOWs, RPGs and enough small arms to outfit at least one entire division?

Trump's to meet Kim Feb 27-28, but will 23 Feb and follow-on events nullify that? (I expect there to be a pan-Korean celebration of the 100th anniversary of the March 1st Movement Kim ought to deem of greater import.)

Then there's the reaction to Putin's challenge to do the math.

[Feb 22, 2019] Trump Likes 'Beautiful' Border Walls - Venezuela Should Build Him One

Feb 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trump Likes 'Beautiful' Border Walls - Venezuela Should Build Him One Hmpf , Feb 20, 2019 10:36:09 AM | link

Aaron Mate, who is currently on the ground in Venezuela (vid), notes how Trump early on targeted Venezuela:

Aaron Maté @aaronjmate - 20:59 utc - 18 Feb 2019
Page 136 of McCabe's new book, recounting a 2017 Oval Office meeting: "Then the president talked about Venezuela. That's the country we should be going to war with, he said. They have all that oil and they're right on our back door."

bigger

It is not only Trump's idea to 'regime change' Venezuela. Ever since 1998, when Hugo Chavez was elected, the U.S. plotted to 'regime change' Venezuela. It was Obama who put sanctions on the country. Right wing economists have for years thought up detailed plans on how to rob Venezuela of its national assets .

Plan A for the recent coup attempt failed when the Venezuelan military did not accept Random Guyido's brazen claim to the presidency. There was no plan B. The U.S. is now improvising. The delivery of "humanitarian aid" is a pretext to break the border between Colombia and Venezuela.

U.S. government "aid" is always political. U.S. aid workers are suspects. Consider these USAID RED teams which a 2018 study , commissioned by the U.S. foreign aid agency, recommended:

RED Team officers, the report explains, would carry out development activities, but they would also have training and expertise that are not typically included in USAID job requirements.

"RED Team personnel would be able to live and work in austere environments for extended periods of time and actively contribute to their own security and welfare. They would be deployed farther forward than USAID personnel traditionally deploy and would routinely operate under the authority of the host agency with whom they deploy, acting in accordance with their security posture," the report reads.

"RED team members would be trained and authorized to conduct themselves as a force-multiplier able to contribute a full suite of security skills as needed," it says.

USAID officers will also be special forces? Special forces will also be USAID workers? Which is it? How many of these 'Red Teams' are now in Colombia waiting to cross into Venezuela?

On Saturday February 23 a breach of the Venezuelan border will be attempted with the intent to provoke an escalation. That escalation will then be used to justify further action up to military strikes or even an invasion.

How exactly the game will be played out is still not clear :

Despite the tough language, it remained unclear how the Venezuelan opposition would break Mr. Maduro's blockade of the border with a delivery of food and medication on Saturday. Mr. Trump's own national security adviser said the American military -- which has airlifted tons of supplies to Venezuela's doorstep on the Colombia border -- will not cross into the country.

The so called "aid" is also supposed to come via sea and through the border with Brazil. To prevent that Venezuela closed down the maritime border with the Dutch Caribbean Islands:

The closure blocks movement of boats and aircraft between the western Venezuelan coastal state of Falcon and the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, said Vice Admiral Vladimir Quintero, who heads a military unit in Falcon. He did not provide a reason.

The Brazil route is for now too remote for the desired media attention.


bigger

Everything will concentrate on the border crossing with Colombia near the Colombian city of Cúcuta:

Leaders of several Latin American nations plan to travel to Colombia's border with Venezuela on Friday ahead of the delivery of aid, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Tuesday, adding that he had accepted an invitation from Colombia's president, Ivan Duque.

It was not immediately clear which leaders would attend. Most Latin American countries now recognize Guaido as president, though Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua still support Maduro.

Billionaire businessman Richard Branson is backing a "Live Aid"-style concert on Friday in the Colombian border city of Cucuta with a fundraising target of $100 million to provide food and medicine for Venezuela. Maduro's government has announced two rival concerts just across the border.

Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters spoke out (video) against the Richard Branson's Not-really-for-AID concert and the U.S. 'regime change' attempt in Venezuela:

Roger Waters @rogerwaters - 22:57 utc - 18 Feb 2019
The Red Cross and the UN, unequivocally agree, don't politicize aid. Leave the Venezuelan people alone to exercise their legal right to self determination.

On Saturday, when the U.S. proxy crowd will try to cross the border with unneeded "aid" some sniper shooting is likely to happen while dozens of cameras roll. Any casualties will be blamed on the Venezuelan military. The incident will be the propaganda pretext for further U.S. action. Already days ago Russia's Foreign Ministry warned of such 'false flag' attacks:

A provocation, involving victims, is being put together under the guise of a humanitarian convoy," Zakharova stressed. "They need it just as a pretext to use outside force, and everyone should understand that."

Trumps National Security Advisor is preparing the field:

John Bolton @AmbJohnBolton - 1:41 utc - 20 Feb 2019
The Venezuelan military must uphold its duty to protect civilians at the Colombian and Brazilian borders, and allow them to peacefully bring in humanitarian aid without violence or fear of persecution.
John Bolton @AmbJohnBolton - 2:14 utc - 20 Feb 2019
Any actions by the Venezuelan military to condone or instigate violence against peaceful civilians at the Colombian and Brazilian borders will not be forgotten. Leaders still have time to make the right choice.

Venezuela is not in need of U.S. aid. It is need of an end to the economic sanctions that put it under a medieval siege. There is no current lack of food or medicine like in Yemen though some products may run short.

The UN, the Red Cross and Caritas already have aid distribution projects within Venezuela. They reject the U.S. aid delivery as a political stunt. The International Committee of the Red Cross recently doubled its budget for Venezuela to $18 million and is ready to provide more. Last week 933 tonnes of medicines from Cuba and China arrived. Another 300 tons from Russia is supposed to arrive today.

The Venezuelan government has had enough time to game out how best to respond to the breach attempt of the border. It needs to block the roads AND it needs to prevent provocations. Trump likes walls on the border. Venezuela should give them to him.

"I don't mind having a big beautiful door in that wall so that people can come into this country legally. But we need, Jeb, to build a wall, we need to keep illegals out." - Donald Trump - Aug 6 2015 GOP debate

My advise to Venezuela is to use high concrete barricades with barbed wire and mines in front of them across all vehicle border crossings points. The purpose of the mines is to prevent attempts to remove the wire and the barricades. Large posters should warn of the deadly danger of the mines. If someone gets hurt by them, it will clearly be their own fault.

Passage on foot must be allowed as usual. Armed soldiers should be kept out of sight.

Trump said a lot about the national security need for " beautiful walls ." A large banner with a relevant Trump quote should top each of the barricaded crossings.

Posted by b on February 20, 2019 at 10:12 AM | Permalink 'The Brazil route is for now too remote for the desired media attention.'

Maybe, maybe not. There's a new airport at St. Helena and by car/bus it's easily accessible too.
Boa Vista, Brazil isn't that far off and it's a nice little highway stretching all the way up to Ciudad Bolivar. In the 90s this has been a major route for drug trafficking into Brazil and across the Atlantic ocean, not sure if this is still the case as I haven't been down there for a long time but that road certainly could handle some traffic.


barovsky , Feb 20, 2019 10:38:20 AM | link

b, see:

Venezuela Expels Euro Deputies amid Reports of Talks with Washington

https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14333

Merida, February 18, 2019 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan authorities have expelled six deputies of the European Parliament (EP) this Sunday after denying them entrance to the country.

The European politicians, who travelled in a personal capacity, had previously been warned through diplomatic channels that they would not be allowed in the country, but the group opted to proceed with the trip.

The delegation was made up of MEP Esteban Gonzalez Pons, MEP Jose Ignacio Salafranca, and MEP Gabriel Mato, all from Spain's hard-right Popular Party.Also present were MEP Juan Salafranca from Spain's European People's Party; MEP Esther de Lange of the Dutch Christian Democratic party, and MEP Paulo Rangel from Portugal's Social Democratic Party.

barovsky , Feb 20, 2019 10:41:08 AM | link
PS: Apparently they've headed for Cucuta in Colombia and now Richard Branson has got into the act!
Following their denied entry, the deputies accepted an invitation from Colombia's Foreign Ministry to travel to the Venezuelan-Colombian border city of Cucuta to attend a concert sponsored by Virgin CEO Richard Branson on Saturday, when Guaido plans to see US-supplied "humanitarian aid" cross the border, despite orders from Maduro to block it.
dh , Feb 20, 2019 10:47:03 AM |