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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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[Jun 18, 2019] Gina Haspel What to Know About the New Director of the CIA

May 08, 2019 | fortune.com
Gina Haspel is facing a Congressional grilling as her confirmation hearings for the CIA director's position get underway.

Should she overcome it, she'll be the first woman to hold the director's job. It's a high profile position, but Haspel has been a pretty low profile person up until this point. So who is Trump's nominee to run the government's spy agency?

Haspel, who would replace new secretary of state Mike Pompeo , has been with the agency since 1985, spending much of her career undercover. She has received several awards, including the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism and the Presidential Rank Award, the highest award in the federal civil service. She also has overseen the torture of some terror suspects , which is what critics and former ambassadors are worried about.

A 2017 New York Times report says Haspel, in 2002, oversaw the torture of two suspects at a secret prison in Thailand and later was involved in the destruction of videotapes documenting that torture.

One of those prisoners was waterboarded 83 times in a single month, had his head repeatedly slammed into walls , and endured other harsh methods before interrogators decided he had no useful information to provide, says the Times .

As a result of such torture, she was shifted out of her role as head of the CIA's clandestine service.

Haspel was picked to run the CIA's clandestine operations unit in 2013, but Senator Dianne Feinstein , who was the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, blocked the promotion because of Haspel's history of torture.

Within the agency, though, Haspel is reportedly widely respected – and has support from members of both the Bush and Obama administrations. Where she stands personally on issues such as extreme interrogation techniques is an unknown, as she has not offered any public comments on policy, as you would expect for an undercover officer.

And that's what Senators are hoping to learn more about as their questioning gets underway.

[Jun 09, 2019] Trump's Venezuela Hallucination The American Conservative

Jun 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump was eager to boast about Moscow's withdrawal of its troops from Venezuela, but it turned out that he or someone else in the administration just made it up:

The Kremlin said on Tuesday it didn't know where U.S. President Donald Trump had got the idea Moscow had removed most of its military specialists from Venezuela, who it said continued to work there.

Trump tweeted on Monday that Russia had told the United States it had removed "most of their people" from Venezuela, where Moscow has maintained close military and economic ties with socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Trump's Venezuela policy is a shambles, and Russia previously brushed off his ultimatum to remove their forces from the country. It isn't surprising that he would try to spin any development in his favor, but in this case it seems that he just invented something out of thin air so that his Venezuela policy wouldn't look quite so feckless. He has no genuine successes that he can talk about, so he has to have pretend victories instead. The original tweet is still up:

Claiming that "Russia informed" him of this thing that didn't happen makes it even sillier, because it immediately prompted the Russian government to announce that they couldn't have informed Trump about something that hadn't occurred. Now that Russia has corrected the record, the president looks even more ridiculous than usual.

This episode isn't that important by itself, but it shows how easily Trump can be convinced of the reality of things that haven't happened and how readily he will accept any story, no matter how unfounded it may be, if it flatters him and bolsters his agenda. That makes him unusually easy to manipulate and provoke, and it makes him an exceptionally easy mark for misinformation. That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears.


Collin, says: June 4, 2019 at 3:30 pm

that his Venezuela policy wouldn't look quite so feckless.

Not a Trump fan, but is Trump's Venezuela policy feckless? Or just Trump somehow understands that it is not our problem and/or military intervention is just a bad investment. For the life of me, I don't understand why Russia desires to part of the Venezuelan mess, but most of their interference is minimal in nature and really has little impact on the situation. I get the Bay Of Bolton was half assed coup that probably did more damage to Guaido chances for new elections. (Guaido is being painted as the Trump Imperialism candidate which is not popular.)

The big question is why this is not China's problem? At this point, Venezuela is completely with them.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 4, 2019 at 3:42 pm
"That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears."

Hmmmm . . . hard to challenge that.

rayray , says: June 4, 2019 at 3:51 pm
White House staff may have just taken Putin's name off the ship to make Trump feel better.
SteveM , says: June 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm
Re: "Trump's Venezuela policy is a shambles, and Russia previously brushed off his ultimatum to remove their forces from the country."

Agree. But the larger subtext is that the U.S. now has zero credibility with anything . The assumption by every country on the planet has to be that the U.S. word is not worth squat.

Fat Pompeo with his big mouth, "We lie, cheat and steal" mind-dump says it all. The Russians are anything but saints, but they knew that the U.S. planned on having Russia ejected from its Crimean Naval Base in Sevastopol after the coup that Nitwit Nuland and her barrel of CIA monkeys engineered.

Similarly, the Russians know that if/when the U.S. puts sock puppet Guaido in power, they will ensure he stiffs the Russians out of all of their claims and assets in Venezuela.

The Russians don't want to wrestle with the Gorilla, but they have no other choice.

Myron K Hudson , says: June 4, 2019 at 6:14 pm
This new normal is frightening. The man has a tenuous grip on reality at best. Those profiting by it maintain that the Emperor has clothes.
Clyde Schechter , says: June 4, 2019 at 7:11 pm
Given the way the dealings with North Korea have gone, I expect that Trump will soon be announcing that Kim Jong-Un has destroyed all his nuclear weapons and pledged not to build any more. Needless to say, it will not have happened.

But, as they say, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me. The question really becomes why so many of Trump's followers continue to believe everything he says when he lies so blatantly so often.

Carnie Barquer , says: June 4, 2019 at 8:10 pm
"That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears. "

And what a bunch those "advisers" are! Wackjobs, liars, convicted criminals, foreign agents and some are more than one of those things!

Mark Thomason , says: June 5, 2019 at 8:25 am
My guess is that Bolton lied to Trump, in order to make himself look better to Trump when pressed on his failures.

By the time that is known, events will have moved on so far even Trump doesn't care.

Kent , says: June 5, 2019 at 8:25 am
@Clyde Schechter,

"The question really becomes why so many of Trump's followers continue to believe everything he says when he lies so blatantly so often."

I don't know that they do. I tend to think that they just hate what has happened to the country since Reagan and Clinton so much that they just want Trump to keep bashing Congress over the head, even with stupidity.

Not to mention that humans have an innate exploitable weakness: the desire to transfer someone else's perceived greatness on to themselves. Hence the inclination of sports fans and adoration of the military.

So "Team America" is great, therefore I am great, and Trump represents us, therefore Trump is great.

Bannerman , says: June 5, 2019 at 1:45 pm
One should not wish ill on any other human being, even though i have contemplated several slapstick scenarios involving certain politicians, however

Donald Trump is in the process of discovering that one cannot ignore Reality, since it Bites, that live is not a reality TV show (the most unreal thing on television), and that chickens do indeed come home to roost.

Unfortunately, it's been a difficult learning curve, and pathetic boasts to the contrary, he has managed to turn both the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party into a pile of smoking rubble.

It conservatism can be rebuilt in a score of years, it would be a miracle. More like, a generation.

Kevin Zeese , says: June 7, 2019 at 11:04 am
Trump's Venezuelan policy is a series of hallucination's. This article just describes the most recent. It begins with the hallucination that Maduro is a dictator, when in reality he won an election in May 2018 with 67% of the vote in an election that more than 150 international election observers unanimously agreed met all international standards for democratic elections. It follows with the hallucination that the Venezuelan military would join the US in rising up against their elected president rather than support the constitutional government. It continues with the hallucination that the people of Venezuela would join a US-inspired coup against the president they had just re-elected rather than join a 2 million person plus civilian militia to defend against a US attack. And, it continues with the hallucination that Juan Guaido is the interim president when his self-appointment violated the Venezuelan Constitution and the United Nations and Venezuelan law recognize Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

The antidote of these ongoing hallucinatory experiences is for Trump to no longer trust his advisors and end the US coup attempt, which has already failed multiple times in Venezuela. John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Elliot Abrams have made Trump see hallucinations that are complete falsehoods. They have led the president into an embarrassing trap that he now needs to get out of. They have made Trump look like a fool.

It is time for Trump to take steps to normalize relations with Venezuela. That begins with a mutual Protecting Power Agreement between the US and Venezuela for Switzerland to be a Protecting Power of the US Embassy in Caracas and Turkey to be a Protecting of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC. Following from that the US and Venezuela should negotiate the sale of Venezuelan resources, primarily oil, in return for the end of the illegal unilateral coercive measures (inaccurately called sanctions) against Venezuela. Negotiating with Venezuela will be less expensive than a war that will become a quagmire that will end in failure after costing more than $1 trillion and causing chaos in the region. Then, Trump and Maduro should meet to chart a course that begins with mutual respect for the independence and sovereignty of each nation and then determines where the two nations interests are consistent with each other. It is time to leave the hallucinations behind and come back to reality.

delia ruhe , says: June 7, 2019 at 11:49 am
The ease with which Trump is manipulated and provoked can be added to the explanation of why Bibi is now in possession of Jerusalem and war against Iran is a high probability. That should terrify Americans.

[May 13, 2019] Crappy little countries

This was true about Iraq war. This is true about Venezuela and Syria.
Notable quotes:
"... In a rather odd article in the London Review of Books , Perry Anderson argued that there wasn't, and wondered aloud why the U.S. war on Iraq had excited such unprecedented worldwide opposition - even, in all places, within the U.S. - when earlier episodes of imperial violence hadn't. ..."
"... Lots of people, in the U.S. and abroad, recognize that and are alarmed. And lots also recognize that the Bush regime represents an intensification of imperial ambition. ..."
"... Why? The answers aren't self-evident. Certainly the war on Iraq had little to do with its public justifications. Iraq was clearly a threat to no one, and the weapons of mass destruction have proved elusive. The war did nothing for the fight against terrorism. Only ideologues believe that Baghdad had anything to do with al Qaeda - and if the Bush administration were really worried about "homeland security," it'd be funding the defense of ports, nuclear reactors, and chemical plants rather than starting imperial wars and alienating people by the billions. Sure, Saddam's regime was monstrous - which is one of the reasons Washington supported it up until the invasion of Kuwait. The Ba'ath Party loved to kill Communists - as many as 150,000 according to some estimates - and the CIA's relationship with Saddam goes back to 1959 . ..."
"... Iraq has lots of oil , and there's little doubt that that's why it was at the first pole of the axis of evil to get hit. (Iran does too, but it's a much tougher nut to crack - four times as big, and not weakened by war and sanctions.) ..."
Apr 30, 2003 | www.leftbusinessobserver.com

Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small c rappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.
- Michael Ledeen , holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute

Actually, the U.S. had been beating Iraq's head against the wall for a dozen years, with sanctions and bombing. The sanctions alone killed over a million Iraqis, far more than have been done in by weapons of mass destruction throughout history. But Ledeen's indiscreet remark, delivered at an AEI conference and reported by Jonah Goldberg in National Review Online , does capture some of what the war on Iraq is about.

And what is this "business" Ledeen says we mean? Oil, of course, of which more in a bit. Ditto construction contracts for Bechtel. But it's more than that - nothing less than the desire, often expressed with little shame nor euphemism, to run the world. Is there anything new about that?

The answer is, of course, yes and no. In a rather odd article in the London Review of Books , Perry Anderson argued that there wasn't, and wondered aloud why the U.S. war on Iraq had excited such unprecedented worldwide opposition - even, in all places, within the U.S. - when earlier episodes of imperial violence hadn't. Anderson, who's edited New Left Review for years, but who has almost no connection to actual politics attributed this strange explosion not to a popular outburst of anti-imperialism, but to a cultural antipathy to the Bush administration.

Presumably that antipathy belongs to the realm of the " merely cultural ," and is of no great political significance to Anderson. But it should be. U.S. culture has long been afflicted with a brutally reactionary and self-righteous version of Christian fundamentalism, but it's never had such influence over the state. The president thinks himself on a mission from God, the Attorney General opens the business day with a prayer meeting, and the Pentagon's idea of a Good Friday service is to invite Franklin Graham , who's pronounced Islam a "wicked and evil religion," to deliver the homily, in which he promised that Jesus was returning soon. For the hard core, the Iraq war is a sign of the end times, and the hard core are in power.

Lots of people, in the U.S. and abroad, recognize that and are alarmed. And lots also recognize that the Bush regime represents an intensification of imperial ambition. Though the administration has been discreet, many of its private sector intellectuals have been using the words "imperialism" and " empire " openly and with glee. Not everyone of the millions who marched against the war in the months before it started was a conscious anti-imperialist, but they all sensed the intensification, and were further alarmed.

While itself avoiding the difficult word "empire," the Bush administration has been rather clear about its long-term aims. According to their official national security strategy and the documents published by the Project for a New American Century (which served as an administration-in-waiting during the Clinton years) their goal is to assure U.S. dominance and prevent the emergence of any rival powers. First step in that agenda is the remaking of the Middle East - and they're quite open about this as well. We all know the countries that are on the list; the only remaining issues are sequence and strategy. But that's not the whole of the agenda. They're essentially promising a permanent state of war, some overt, some covert, but one that could take decades.

Imperial returns?

Why? The answers aren't self-evident. Certainly the war on Iraq had little to do with its public justifications. Iraq was clearly a threat to no one, and the weapons of mass destruction have proved elusive. The war did nothing for the fight against terrorism. Only ideologues believe that Baghdad had anything to do with al Qaeda - and if the Bush administration were really worried about "homeland security," it'd be funding the defense of ports, nuclear reactors, and chemical plants rather than starting imperial wars and alienating people by the billions. Sure, Saddam's regime was monstrous - which is one of the reasons Washington supported it up until the invasion of Kuwait. The Ba'ath Party loved to kill Communists - as many as 150,000 according to some estimates - and the CIA's relationship with Saddam goes back to 1959 .

Iraq has lots of oil , and there's little doubt that that's why it was at the first pole of the axis of evil to get hit. (Iran does too, but it's a much tougher nut to crack - four times as big, and not weakened by war and sanctions.)

It now looks fairly certain that the U.S. will, in some form, claim some large piece of Iraq's oil. The details need to be worked out; clarifying the legal situation could be very complicated, given the rampantly illegal nature of the regime change. Rebuilding Iraq's oil industry will be very expensive and could take years. There could be some nice profits down the line for big oil companies - billions a year - but the broader economic benefits for the U.S. aren't so clear. A U.S.-dominated Iraq could pump heavily and undermine OPEC, but too low an oil price would wreck the domestic U.S. oil industry, something the Bush gang presumably cares about. Mexico would be driven into penury, which could mean another debt crisis and lots of human traffic heading north over the Rio Grande. Lower oil prices would be a boon to most industrial economies, but they'd give the U.S. no special advantage over its principal economic rivals.

It's sometimes said that U.S. dominance of the Middle East gives Washington a chokehold over oil supplies to Europe and Japan. But how might that work? Deep production cutbacks and price spikes would hurt everyone. Targeted sales restrictions would be the equivalent of acts of war, and if the U.S. is willing to take that route, a blockade would be a lot more efficient. The world oil market is gigantic and complex, and it's not clear how a tap could be turned in Kirkuk that would shut down the gas pumps in Kyoto or Milan.

Writers like David Harvey argue that the U.S. is trying to compensate for its eroding economic power by asserting its military dominance. Maybe. It's certainly fascinating that Bush's unilateralism has to be financed by gobs of foreign money - and he gets his tax cuts, he'll have to order up even bigger gobs. But it's hard to see what rival threatens the U.S. economically; neither the EU nor Japan is thriving. Nor is there any evidence that the Bush administration is thinking seriously about economic policy, domestic or international, or even thinking at all. The economic staff is mostly dim and marginal. What really seems to excite this gang of supposed conservatives is the exercise of raw state power.

Jealous rivals

And while the Bushies want to prevent the emergence of imperial rivals , they may only be encouraging that. Sure, the EU is badly divided within itself; it has a hard enough time picking a top central banker , let alone deciding on a common foreign policy. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is already semi-apologizing to Bush for his intemperate language in criticizing the war - not that Bush has started taking his calls. But over the longer term, some kind of political unification is Europe's only hope for acting like a remotely credible world power. It's tempting to read French and German objections to the Iraq war as emerging not from principle, but from the wounded narcissism of former imperial powers rendered marginal by American might. Separately, they'll surely hang. But a politically united Europe could, with time, come to challenge U.S. power, just as the euro is beginning to look like a credible rival to the dollar.

(Speaking of the euro, there's a theory circulating on the net that the U.S. went to war because Iraq wanted to price its oil in euros, not dollars. That's grossly overheated speculation. More on this and related issues when LBO begins an investigation of the political economy of oil in the next issue.)

An even more interesting rivalry scenario would involve an alliance of the EU and Russia. Russia is no longer the wreck it was for most of the 1990s. The economy has been growing and the mildly authoritarian Putin has imposed political stability. Russia, which has substantial oil interests in Iraq that are threatened by U.S. control, strongly opposed the war, and at least factions within the Russian intelligence agency were reportedly feeding information unfriendly to the U.S. to the website Iraqwar.ru . There's a lot recommending an EU-Russia alliance; Europe could supply technology and finance, and Russia could supply energy, and together they could constitute at least an embryonic counterweight to U.S. power.

So the U.S. may not get out of Iraq what the Bush administration is hoping for. It certainly can't want democracy in Iraq or the rest of the region, since free votes could well lead to nationalist and Islamist governments who don't view ExxonMobil as the divine agent that Bush seems to. A New York Times piece celebrated the outbreak of democracy in Basra, while conceding that the mayor is a former Iraqi admiral appointed by the British. The lead writers of the new constitution are likely to be American law professors; Iraqis, of course, aren't up to the task themselves.

Certainly the appointment of Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner (Ret.) - one of the few superannuated brass not to have enjoyed a consulting contract with a major TV network - to be the top civilian official guiding the postwar reconstruction of Iraq speaks volumes. A retired general is barely a civilian, and Garner's most recent job was as president of SY Technology , a military contractor that worked with Israeli security in developing the Arrow antimissile system. He loves antimissile systems; after the first Gulf War, he enthused about the Patriot's performance with claims that turned out to be nonsense. He's on record as having praised Israel's handling of the intifada. If that's his model of how to handle restive subject populations, there's lots of trouble ahead.

lightness

In the early days of the war, when things weren't going so well for the "coalition," it was said that the force was too light. But after the sandstorm cleared and the snipers were mowed down, that alleged lightness became a widely praised virtue. But that force was light only by American standards: 300,000 troops; an endless rain of Tomahawks, JDAMs, and MOABs; thousands of vehicles, from Humvees to Abrams tanks; hundreds of aircraft, from Apaches to B-1s; several flotillas of naval support - and enormous quantities of expensive petroleum products. It takes five gallons of fuel just to start an Abrams tank, and after that it gets a mile per gallon. And filling one up is no bargain. Though the military buys fuel at a wholesale price of 84¢ a gallon, after all the expenses of getting it to the front lines are added in, the final cost is about $150 a gallon. That's a steal compared to Afghanistan, where fuel is helicoptered in, pushing the cost to $600/gallon. Rummy's "lightness" is of the sort that only a $10 trillion economy can afford.

The Bush gang doesn't even try to keep up appearances, handing out contracts for Iraq's reconstruction to U.S. firms even before the shooting stopped, and guarding only the oil and interior ministries against looters. If Washington gets its way, Iraq will be rebuilt according to the fondest dreams of the Heritage Foundation staff, with the educational system reworked by an American contractor, the TV programmed by the Pentagon, the ports run by a rabidly antiunion firm, the police run by the Texas-based military contractor Dyncorp , and the oil taken out of state hands and appropriately privatized.

That's the way they'd like it to be. But the sailing may not be so smooth. It looks like Iraqis are viewing the Americans as occupiers, not liberators. It's going to be hard enough to remake Iraq that taking on Syria or Iran may be a bit premature. But that doesn't mean they won't try. It's a cliché of trade negotiations that liberalization is like riding a bicycle - you have to keep riding forward or else you'll fall over. The same could be said of an imperial agenda: if you want to remake the world, or a big chunk of it, there's little time to pause and catch your breath, since doubt or opposition could gain the upper hand. Which makes stoking that opposition more urgent than ever.

Losing it all

There's a feeling around that Bush is now politically invulnerable . Certainly the atmosphere is one of almost coercive patriotism. That mood was nicely illustrated by an incident in Houston in mid-March. A teenager attending a rodeo failed to stand along with the rest of the crowd during a playing of Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American," a dreadful country song that has become a kind of private-sector national anthem for the yahoo demographic, thanks to its truculent unthinking jingoism. A patriot standing behind the defiantly seated teen started taunting him, tugging on his ear as an additional provocation. The two ended up in a fight, and then under arrest.

There's a lot of that going around, for sure. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins get disinvited from events, websites nominate traitors for trial by military tribunal, and talk radio hosts organize CD-smashings. But things aren't hopeless. A close analysis of Greenwood's text might suggest why. The song's core argument is contained in its two most famous lines: "I'm proud to be an American/where at least I know I'm free." But the oft-overlooked opening reads: "If tomorrow all the things were gone/I'd worked for all my life," the singer would still be a grateful patriot. That's precisely the condition lots of Americans find themselves in. More than two million jobs have disappeared in the last two years. Millions of Americans have seen their retirement savings wiped out by the bear market, and over a million filed for bankruptcy last year. Most states and cities are experiencing their worst fiscal crises since the 1930s, with massive service cuts and layoffs imminent. In the song, such loss doesn't matter, but reality is often less accommodating than a song.

As the nearby graphs show, W's ratings are much lower than his father's at the end of Gulf War I, and his disapproval ratings much higher. Their theocratic and repressive agenda is deeply unpopular with large parts of the U.S. population. Spending scores of billions on destroying and rebuilding Iraq while at home health clinics are closing and teachers working without pay is potentially incendiary. Foreign adventures have never been popular with the American public (much to the distress of the ruling elite). An peace movement that could draw the links among warmongering, austerity, and repression has great political potential. Just a month or two ago, hundreds of thousands were marching in American streets to protest the imminent war. Though that movement now looks a bit dispirited and demobilized, it's unlikely that that kind of energy will just disappear into the ether.

[May 12, 2019] Trump about to dump Bolton caucus99percent

May 12, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Speaking of getting led around by the nose, we come to one Gina Haspel's great deceptions. This deception plays directly into the hands of Russiagaters. This woman, supposedly brought into CIA leadership in order to demolish the agency, is proving quite adept in perpetuating its reign of terror. Again, we have a neocon undermining Trump's prestige and authority.

[May 12, 2019] Gina Haspel Conned Trump with British Lies into Expelling Russian Diplomats over Skripal Case

Apr 17, 2019 | larouchepub.com

(EIRNS) -- The New York Times ran a story yesterday titled, "Gina Haspel Relies on Spy Skills To Connect with Trump. He Doesn't Always Listen." Based on interviews with former and current CIA agents who worked with CIA Director Haspel (but not interviewing her), the Times praises her skills and attempts to denigrate Trump, but they also retail a story about her and Trump which could cost Haspel deeply.

Following the March 2018 breaking of the Skripal poisoning story in England, the Times writes, Trump had initially "written off the poisoning as part of legitimate spy games, distasteful but within the bounds of espionage." Haspel, on the other hand, was backing London's demand for Trump to blame Russia immediately and expel dozens of Russian diplomats.

Writes the Times:

"During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy CIA director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the President that the 'strong option' was to expel 60 diplomats.

"To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia's attack.

"Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives."

This appeal reportedly swayed Trump to go along with Haspel's advice.

If it sounds like the British "White Helmet" terrorists in Syria faking pictures of children being hit with chemical weapons to convince Trump to bomb Syrian targets, it is indeed precisely the same.

Former British Ambassador Craig Murray, an outspoken critic of these British imperial lies and atrocities, posted a response today to the Times garbage on his blog. He states first that yet another truth behind the Skripal lies was revealed recently by police, acknowledging that "the perfume bottle Charlie Rowley found was sealed and could not have been the container used on the Skripals." He goes on: "It took nine months for us to learn that, by a truly wonderful coincidence, the first person to find the Skripals ill on the bench was the Chief Nurse of the British Army."

But on the Haspel story in the Times, Murray is furious. "The problem is," he writes,

"there were no hospitalized children. No children have been reported as becoming ill following their duck feeding with the Skripals. We have heard from one of the parents that they were shown by the police extremely clear [closed-circuit surveillance] CCTV footage of the duck feeding, which has never been made public. Surely if the child had been hospitalized, the parent would have mentioned it?"

He quotes Dr. Stephen Davies of Salisbury Hospital, who wrote to the New York Times on March 14 stating clearly that no children had been hospitalized, and that every person who came to the hospital fearing they had been contaminated had no symptoms and tests turned out negative. Murray states:

"We also know that the duck feeding was the time that Boshirov and Petrov [the alleged Russian culprits] were physically closest to the Skripals. But this is the first time there has ever been any mention of any harm to the ducks. Dead ducks would have been noticed by the public."

It appears that the British Empire is the dead duck in this myth.

[May 11, 2019] From Russiagate to Gunboat Diplomacy by Branko Marcetic

Notable quotes:
"... Particularly shameless was Florida Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, who went on Tucker Carlson's show to peddle half-baked innuendo as brazen as anything claimed in the lead up to the Iraq War. If Maduro's government survived, he claimed, it would be "a green light, an open door for the Russians and for the Chinese and for others to increase their activity against our national security interest right here in our hemisphere." ..."
May 11, 2019 | jacobinmag.com

Russiagate hysteria is already being used to push Trump into an act of armed aggression against Venezuela. It's a disastrous result of a pointless delusion.

One of the things Russiagate skeptics found unsettling about the frenzy over supposed "collusion" was that it made war more likely. Not only did the now-debunked conspiracy theories and resulting political climate push officials into a more aggressive posture toward Russia, but once the Kremlin was returned to its status as the foreign policy elite's Big Bad, it was easy to imagine a situation where the threat of a Russian bogeyman could be used to justify any number of unrelated foreign adventures. This appears to be exactly what's happening with Venezuela right now.

First there was Fareed Zakaria, who two months ago tried to goad Trump into attacking Venezuela by pointing to Russia's support for Maduro. "Putin's efforts seem designed to taunt the United States," he said (it might also have something to do with the billions of dollars Russia sank into the country), making reference to the Monroe Doctrine. He asked if Washington would "allow Moscow to make a mockery of another American red line," warning that "if Washington does not back its words with deeds" the country could become another Syria. Zakaria concluded: "will Venezuela finally be the moment when Trump finally ends his appeasement?"

More recently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged that Russia had "invaded" Venezuela before claiming the Kremlin had dissuaded Maduro from fleeing the country at the last moment, something Pompeo has provided no evidence for but much of the media has treated as fact since.

National Security Advisor John Bolton has said that "this is our hemisphere" and "not where the Russians ought to be interfering." Democratic Sen. Doug Jones echoed this sentiment on CNN, praising the Trump administration for saying "all options are on the table" to deal with Venezuela, something he suggested may have to be acted on "if there is some more intervention [by] Russia."

The national press, taking a break from warning about Trump being a dangerous authoritarian, has been demanding to know why he hasn't been more aggressive toward the country over this.

Particularly shameless was Florida Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, who went on Tucker Carlson's show to peddle half-baked innuendo as brazen as anything claimed in the lead up to the Iraq War. If Maduro's government survived, he claimed, it would be "a green light, an open door for the Russians and for the Chinese and for others to increase their activity against our national security interest right here in our hemisphere."

He went on to claim that Russia had already placed nuclear missiles in the country, and that it could lead to a Cuban missile crisis-like conflict. There is no evidence this is true, and Díaz-Balart didn't provide any.

Of course, no coverage of the Trump administration's relations with Russia would be complete without a trip into Rachel Maddow's fractured psyche. After Trump repeated Putin's personal assurances that he wasn't interested in getting involved in Venezuela -- contradicting Pompeo and Bolton -- Maddow addressed the two officials :

Hey John Bolton, hey Mike Pompeo, are you guys enjoying your jobs right now? You each thought your job this week was to name and shame and threaten and counter Russian government involvement in Venezuela while saber-rattling about how everybody else better get out of the way because the US is really mad about it. Guys, turns out your actual job is figuring out how and why you work for a president who says whatever Vladimir Putin tells him.

Maddow went on to express her sympathy for one of the most unhinged warmongers in a city teeming with them ("I mean, John Bolton, God bless you"), and again seemed to suggest that Bolton's "job" of "push[ing] Russia back because of what they're doing in Venezuela" was the correct course of action.

It's now clear there is nothing -- not Trump's years-long belligerence toward Russia's Venezuelan ally, not his near-constant bellicosity toward Russia since taking office, not Robert Mueller's failure to indict a single person for conspiring with Russia, not even his report's explicit and implicit denial that any such conspiracy existed -- that will make these people give up the talking point that Trump is secretly in bed with Putin. If Mueller himself denied it, they would claim he was a Russian in disguise. It's simply too convenient an attack line, and too professionally embarrassing to admit otherwise.

There is also an Orwellian level of doublethink going on here. Russia, a Venezuelan ally, has sent personnel and equipment to the country with the consent of its government at a time when it's being threatened by multiple hostile regional powers. Meanwhile the US, one of those hostile powers, has for years been laying siege to the country and killing its people, trying to destabilize and oust its leadership, and even threatening to invade it.

Yet according to the media and political class, it's Russia's actions that are an unacceptable intrusion into another country's affairs -- an "invasion," even. They are holding up four fingers to your face and telling you you're seeing five.

Meanwhile, these same quarters, after spending close to three years hyperventilating about Russia's meddling in domestic US affairs -- an "act of war," in some minds -- have now seamlessly pivoted to cheering Trump as he attempts to engineer a change of Venezuela's government, even calling for him to possibly attack the country. This is glaringly hypocritical, but the Russiagate frenzy was never about principled outrage or any sort of moral consistency.

Lastly and most significantly, the rhetoric around Venezuela is now taking on an explicitly imperialistic character, in the most literal sense of that word. Zakaria invoked the Monroe Doctrine to urge Trump to intervene in Venezuela; National Security Advisor John Bolton "proudly proclaim[ed]" upon launching a fresh round of sanctions that "the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well," and one MSNBC guest insisted the Trump administration was "right in being completely flabbergasted" at Russia's presence in the country because "this is our hemisphere," echoing Bolton .

When these figures talk about "our hemisphere," they don't mean the hemisphere in which the US happens to be located; they mean this is literally their hemisphere. The US is the imperial power with dominion over this part of the world, and only it has the right to interfere in the countries that populate it.

Their objection is not that an outside power is involving itself in a Latin American country's business, but that this outside power isn't the one in Washington. The fact that the US has been doing this very thing for years in Russia's part of the world -- expanding NATO right up to its border, sending weapons to Ukraine -- goes conveniently unmentioned.

Russiagate skeptics were criticized for being hyperbolic in comparing that scandal to the bogus WMD tale that led to the Iraq War; the latter, after all, killed hundreds of thousands and destabilized an entire region. But the full consequences of Russiagate will not be felt immediately; they will unfold over time. And while floating the specter of Russia might not work this time, expect it to be used over and over in the coming years to justify all manner of military aggression .

[May 11, 2019] Leaked USA s Feb 2018 Plan For A Coup In Venezuela

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It was comprehensive -- directing military, diplomatic, and propaganda, policies -- regarding the Trump Administration's planned "Overthrow" of Venezuela's Government. His plan has since guided the Administration's entire operation, including "the capacities of the psychological war," regarding Venezuela. ..."
"... Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises." ... ..."
"... intensifying the undercapitalization of the country, the leaking out of foreign currency and the deterioration of its monetary base, bringing about the application of new inflationary measures." ... ..."
"... Fully obstruct imports, and at the same time discouraging potential foreign investors in order to make the situation more critical for the population." ... compelling him to fall into mistakes that generate greater distrust and rejection domestically" ... ..."
"... To besiege him, to ridicule him and to pose him as symbol of awkwardness and incompetence. To expose him as a puppet of Cuba." ... ..."
"... Structuring a plan to get the profuse desertion of the most qualified professionals from the country, in order 'to leave it with no professionals at all', which will aggravate even more the internal situation and along these lines putting the blame on of Government." ..."
May 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Leaked: USA's Feb 2018 Plan For A Coup In Venezuela

by Tyler Durden Sun, 05/05/2019 - 11:20 2 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via Off-Guardian.org,

A detailed plan from "UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND" dated "23 FEBRUARY 2018" was issued with the title "PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE VENEZUELAN DICTATORSHIP 'MASTERSTROKE'" and is here presented complete.

This document was personally signed by Admiral Kurt W. Tidd , who was the Commander (the chief), at SOUTHCOM , and he was thus the top U.S. military official handling Venezuela. But this was far more than just a military plan.

It was comprehensive -- directing military, diplomatic, and propaganda, policies -- regarding the Trump Administration's planned "Overthrow" of Venezuela's Government. His plan has since guided the Administration's entire operation, including "the capacities of the psychological war," regarding Venezuela.

It instructed SOUTHCOM:

Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises." ...

intensifying the undercapitalization of the country, the leaking out of foreign currency and the deterioration of its monetary base, bringing about the application of new inflationary measures." ...

Fully obstruct imports, and at the same time discouraging potential foreign investors in order to make the situation more critical for the population." ... compelling him to fall into mistakes that generate greater distrust and rejection domestically" ...

To besiege him, to ridicule him and to pose him as symbol of awkwardness and incompetence. To expose him as a puppet of Cuba." ...

Appealing to domestic allies as well as other people inserted from abroad in the national scenario in order to generate protests, riots and insecurity, plunders, thefts, assaults and highjacking of vessels as well as other means of transportation, with the intention of deserting this country in crisis through all borderlands and other possible ways, jeopardizing in such a way the National Security of neighboring frontier nations. Causing victims and holding the Government responsible for them. Magnifying, in front of the world, the humanitarian crisis in which the country has been submitted to."

Structuring a plan to get the profuse desertion of the most qualified professionals from the country, in order 'to leave it with no professionals at all', which will aggravate even more the internal situation and along these lines putting the blame on of Government."

the presence of combat units from the United States of America and the other named countries, under the command of a Joint General Staff led by the USA."

It was posted online at the Voltairenet site , and was first copied to a web archive on 14 May 2018 . So, it has been online since at least that date. However, because the photo in it of the document wasn't made available via software which includes the individual symbols, but presented only the full visual image of the paper document, it still hasn't yet gone viral on the Web.

Here, therefore, is the first appearance, on the Web, of the full document, that's manually copied, character-by-character, so that each phrase in this document becomes, for the first time, web-searchable, and thereby conveniently available for journalists and historians to quote from.

This prophetic document -- the source for what has happened afterward in and to Venezuela -- might therefore finally receive the public attention that it so clearly merits.

The document starts with propaganda against Venezuela's existing Government (and it totally ignores the extent to which the pre-existing U.S. economic sanctions against Venezuela had actually caused these problems ), and it then proceeds to present the U.S. plan to overthrow the 'dictatorship'. (Tidd refers to Maduro only as "the Dictator," except at the very start and very end.

At the end, he commands "the denouncement toward Maduro's regimen" and he also uses the phrase "the enemy" to refer to him -- as if there had been the U.S. Constitutionally required authorization, by the U.S. Congress, of this "war." The close urges "the dispatch of a UNO military force for the imposition of peace, once Nicolas Maduro's corrupt dictatorship is defeated." The U.N. is militarily to "impose" "peace," after the U.S. and its allies have conquered Venezuela.)

Although Tidd placed 100% of the blame for Venezuela's problems upon Maduro, and ignored the crucial extent to which U.S. economic sanctions had caused them, his plan emphasized that the U.S. must actively make things even worse for the Venezuelan public than America's economic sanctions had yet done.

His coup-plan is loaded with such statements, and, in fact, opens with one:

"Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises."

So: he wasn't naive. America's induced suffering upon Venezuelans was part of his plan for Venezuelans, in order to get them to do what the U.S. regime wants them to do -- overthrow Maduro. Furthermore, the United States Government has had extensive successes in previous such operations. One example is that this was how Chile's Salvador Allende was brought down in 1973 (at a time when the U.S. Government's claims to have done it for 'national security' reasons had much more credibility than its current excuse of helping the Venezuelan people does, because the supposedly ideological Cold War was still on).

The only excuse that the perpetrators can come up with, this time around, is "to put an end to the Venezuelan nightmare and the awakening of theirs beloved nation at a luminous dawn, in which the vision of fortune, true peace and tranquility predominate for their fellow citizens."

Impoverish the nation, in order to help Venezuelans attain "true peace and tranquility." That's the plan.

Here is the document's entire text:

SOUTHCOM
TOP SECRET
23 FEB 2018

PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE VENEZUELAN DICTATORSHIP "MASTERSTROKE"

UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND 23 FEBRUARY 2018

TOP SECRET/20180223

CURRENT SITUATION

The Venezuelan Chavista dictatorship staggers as a result of its frequent internal problems; there is a great shortage of foodstuffs, an exhaustion of the sources of foreign currency and a rampant corruption. The international support, won with petrodollars, becomes scarcer each time and the purchasing power of its national currency is in a constant downfall.

Such scenario is not supposed to change, but the Venezuelan present-day leaders, as they usually do, in their despair to preserve their power, are capable to appeal to new populist measures that perpetuate their positions of privilege; the only mechanism that sustains them obstinate to the struggle to hold on their positions.

Maduro's corrupt regimen will collapse but regrettably, the divided opposing forces, legitimate defenders of democracy and the well-being of their people, do not have power enough to put an end to the Venezuelan nightmare and the awakening of theirs beloved nation at a luminous dawn, in which the vision of fortune, true peace and tranquility predominate for their fellow citizens.

The internal disputes, the supreme particular likings, the corruption similar to the one of their rivals, as well as the scarcity of rooting, do not grant them the opportunity to make the most of this situation and to give the necessary step to overturn the state of penury and precariousness in which the pressure group, that exercises the leftist dictatorship, has submerged the country. We are at the presence of an unprecedented criminal action in Latin America.

This affects the entire region, there is no respect to international right and local political alternatives are unacceptable.

Democracy spreads out in America, continent in which radical populism was intended to take over. Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil are examples of it. The rebirth of democracy has the support of the most valuable determinations, and the conditions in the regions run in its favour.

It is the time for the United States to prove, with concrete actions, that they are implicated in that process, where overthrowing Venezuelan dictatorship will surely mean a continental turning point.

It is the first opportunity of the Trump Administration to bring forward the vision in reference to security and democracy. Showing its active commitment is crucial, not only for the administration, but also for the continent and for the world.

The time has come to

Step to speed up the definite overthrow of Chavismo and the expulsion of its representative:

Undermining the decadent popular support to Government. Securing he the present-day dictator's irreversible deterioration Increasing the internal instability to a critical level. Using the army officers as an alternative of definite solution. Information Strategie

[signature]

K.W. TIDD

Admiral, USN

COMMANDER


WorkingClassMan , 9 minutes ago link

The US military learned their international terrorism activities from the best, the Mossad. This country is run (since at least Lincoln) by terrorists. Money stolen from us every year in the form of taxes used for ******** that destabilizes nations, destroys heritage and expands greater isn'treal.

All this and **** none of us even heard of yet...while our own borders remain wide open and our infrastructure crumbles.

Good use of money you ******* scum.

frankthecrank , 17 minutes ago link

It's fake. The military doesn't engage in such things, the spooks at the CIA do-along with the NSA. Just looking at that pic is humorous -- as if that's what they would title the document.

Gullible people.

fezline , 13 minutes ago link

Who is Gulible now??

https://documents.theblackvault.com/documents/jfk/northwoods.pdf

PeterLong , 9 minutes ago link

https://www.southcom.mil/Portals/7/Documents/Posture%20Statements/SOUTHCOM_2017_posture_statement_FINAL.pdf?ver=2017-04-06-105819-923

Joiningupthedots , 8 minutes ago link

The golden rule of finding yourself in a hole.......

STOP DIGGING!

gdpetti , 26 minutes ago link

BLah, blah, blah... in other words, the usual.... same as always... CIA's Crowley complained about these idiots after he retired... one example is the difference in Bush 1 and Bush Jr....

This plan is just the usual regime change script written about in many books... the only difference is how 'western' it is in targeting the mind of the masses... which only happens in 'democracies'.... real ones make you do that....

Wait till the puppets in DC really get frustrated... .and then see how frustrated their puppet masters get when their plans go awry as well... time is running out for both puppet and its master... Imagine being Putin and having to deal with these freaks.

mailll , 30 minutes ago link

I have a conspiracy theory. Since one of my theories is this: We want to gain control of Venezuela oil in order to secure oil imports coming into the US for when we attack Iran for the sake of Israel. The 22% of imports we get from the middle east, much of which comes from the Persian Gulf region, will be disrupted due to this war. And we would have a shortage here in the US along with skyrocketing oil prices. And we would surely bitch about it. But Venezuela oil will keep the oil coming into the US uninterrupted. And for those of you who believe we are energy independent, we are not. We use about 19 million barrels of oil per day, we produce about 12 million barrels per day, and we import about 6-7 million barrels of oil per day to help feed our craving for oil.

But to add to this conspiracy theory, I believe the window of opportunity is closing and the Zionists have to act quickly. So they will just say, OK, lets take Venezuela with our military and see how the world responds. We will never know until we try, so let's do it. And if it was a bad idea, don't worry boys, we are untouchable. We got away with it in Iraq, so let's do it again. Venezuela today, Iran tomorrow, and Israel always. They pay very well.

But this is just a conspiracy theory of mine, perhaps even a foolish one.

[May 08, 2019] Reporter INSIDE Venezuelan Embassy Under Siege! w/Anya Parampil

May 08, 2019 | www.youtube.com

The Invisible Man , 18 hours ago

Funny how a comedian is the truth teller here. This is literally clown world

samslog , 17 hours ago

Brave woman. Solidarity from France. Thank you Jimmy!

crownretro , 17 hours ago (edited)

"They want to play government they way I used to play house as a little girl" Brilliant description of these puppets Stay strong Anya!

david august , 18 hours ago

Another day, another coup. Keep up the good work Jimmy.

Steve Warwick , 16 hours ago (edited)

Anya you're doing great journalism work on Venezuela, stay safe!

SFx , 17 hours ago

Uprising? The only uprising is the small one in Marco Rubio's pants.

MexicanosDelMundo , 17 hours ago

This is getting out of hand and increasingly dangerous...

Dave Saenz , 17 hours ago

They are trying to "WMD's" us into another war with their blatant lies.

RP McMurphy , 18 hours ago

50+ years of Allegiance to the Petrodollar...

luke maxwell , 16 hours ago

In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act - George Orwell.

Katalin McCune , 18 hours ago

I think your videos are remarkable.

Otaku Senpai , 17 hours ago

Good job Dore. MSM sucks. Dont expect them to rreport this.

Gail Doyle , 16 hours ago

Not one other news source is reporting this! Thank you, Jimmy and Anya.

Z ZZ , 16 hours ago

Mike Pompeo. The fat and sweaty face of US faux humanitarianism.

vinm300 , 17 hours ago

23:21 look at Jimmy's face, he is 100% sympathetic to the protestors. That face is the definition of empathy.

R. Scott MacLeod , 17 hours ago

There is only one reason the media goes along with the military lap dogs....$$$$

Chris Petryk , 17 hours ago

can you have Anya on once a week, please? thank you

Johnny Espinal , 15 hours ago

its truly disgraceful how evil our government IS

Esen B. , 17 hours ago

US did the same to Russian consulate and embassies since launch of Russiagate.

Frank Cardoza , 17 hours ago

They wrote the book on corporate media lapdog-ism. in Venezuela years ago!

SNAKEPIT359 , 18 hours ago

As usual. When it suits, the rule book goes out the window. But equally when it suits they will quote rule after rule from the very same book when it suits their agenda.

david Urrea , 18 hours ago

Blowhorns can cause seizures the people inside need ear protection asap

[May 07, 2019] Venezuela and Binary Choice - Craig Murray

May 07, 2019 | craigmurray.org.uk

When a CIA-backed military coup is attempted by a long term CIA puppet, roared on by John Bolton and backed with the offer of Blackwater mercenaries, in the country with the world's largest oil reserves, I have no difficulty whatsoever in knowing which side I am on.

Juan Guaido has been groomed for 15 years as a long-term CIA project. His coup attempt yesterday, which so far appears to have stalled, was the culmination of these efforts to return Venezuela's oil reserves to US hegemony.

It is strange how the urgent installation of liberal democracy by force correlates so often with oil reserves not aligned to the USA, as in Libya, Iraq or Venezuela, while countries with massive oil reserves which permit US military domination and align with the West and Israel can be as undemocratic as they wish, eg Saudi Arabia. Venezuela is an imperfect democracy but it is far, far more of a democracy than Saudi Arabia and with a much better human rights record. The hypocrisy of Western media and politicians is breathtaking.

Hypocrisy and irony are soulmates, and there are multiple levels of irony in seeing the "liberal" commentators who were cheering on an undisguised military coup, then complaining loudly that people are being injured or killed now their side is losing. Yesterday the MSM had no difficulty in calling the attempted coup what anybody with eyes and ears could see it plainly was, an attempted military coup. Today, miraculously, the MSM line is no coup attempt happened at all, it was just a spontaneous unarmed protest, and it is the evil government of Venezuela which attempts to portray it as a coup. BBC Breakfast this morning had the headline "President Maduro has accused the opposition of mounting a coup attempt" Yet there is no doubt at all that, as a matter of plain fact, that is what happened.

The MSM today is full of video of water cannons against "protestors" and a horrible video of a military vehicle ramming a group. But it has all been very carefully edited to exclude hours of footage of the same military vehicles being pelted and set alight with molotov cocktails, and shot at. The presentation has been truly shocking.

In any civilised country, attempting to mount a military coup would lead to incarceration for life, and that is what should now happen to Juan Guaido. The attempt by the West to protect their puppet by pretending the failed military coup never happened, must be resisted, if only in the cause of intellectual honesty.

The resort to violence forces binary choice. I have been and am a critic of Maduro in many respects. I believe the constitutional changes to bypass Parliament were wrong, and the indirectly elected Constituent Assembly is not a good form of democracy. Venezuela does have a rampant corruption problem. US sanctions exacerbate but are not the root cause of economic mismanagement. There are human rights failings. But Chavez made revolutionary changes in educating and empowering the poor, and it is a far better governed country for the mass of its population than it would ever be under a US installed CIA puppet regime. Maduro was legitimately elected. The attempt at violence forces a binary choice.

I know which side I am on. It is not Guaido and the CIA.

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[May 05, 2019] Another Jolly Little War by Eric Margolis

Notable quotes:
"... We absolutely have won most of those little wars it's just that majority of the population doesn't have the same definition of victory that our Neocon masters do. As long as we leave a county in ruins so it's development is set back for decades and there are multiple factions fighting for power, the Neocons cobble together a wonderful democratic election and call it a victory. ..."
"... Stay as long as it takes to make sure no major faction is strong enough to set nationwide policy, bomb everything that's required for a 20th Century society, then leave. If one faction plays nice by scraping and bowing to the US, fine, let them have a bit of electricity and running water. Otherwise, leave the factions to fight one another in the rubble and enjoying their new found freedom and democracy. ..."
"... Considering all the oil Venezuela has, they're just begging for some freedom and democracy. ..."
May 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sure. Let's invade Venezuela. Another jolly little war. It's full of commies and has a sea of oil. The only thing those Cuban-loving Venezuelans lack are weapons of mass destruction.

This week, leading US neocons openly threatened that if the CIA's latest attempts to stage a coup to overthrow Venezuela's Maduro government failed, Washington might send in the Marines.

Well, the coup was a big fiasco and the Venezuelan army didn't overthrow President Maduro. The CIA also failed to overthrow governments in Moscow, Tehran and Damascus. Its only 'success' to date has been in overthrowing Ukraine's pro-Moscow government and putting a bunch of corrupt clowns in its place at a cost near $10 billion.

The US has not waged a major successful war since World War II – unless you count invading Grenada, Panama and Haiti, or bombing the hell out of Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Libya. That's a sobering thought given the Pentagon's recent announcement that it is cutting back on little colonial wars (aka 'the war on terror') to get ready for real big wars against Russia and China, or even North Korea.

Venezuela is in a huge economic mess thanks to the crackpot economic policies of the Chavez and Maduro governments – and US economic sabotage. But my first law of international affairs is: 'Every nation has the absolute god-given right to mismanage its own affairs and elect its own crooks or idiots.'

Now, however, the administration's frenzied neocons want to start a war against Venezuela, a large, developed nation of 32.7 million, at the same time we are threatening war against Iran, interfering all around Africa, and confronting Russia, China and perhaps North Korea. Large parts of the Mideast and Afghanistan lie in ruins thanks to our 'liberation' campaigns.

Invading Venezuela would not be much of a problem for the US military: half the population hates the current government and might welcome the Americans. Venezuela's military has only limited combat value. Right-wing regimes in neighboring Colombia and Brazil might join the invasion.

But what then? Recall Iraq. The US punched through the feeble Iraqi Army whose strength had been wildly exaggerated by the media. Once US and British forces settled in to occupation duties, guerilla forces made their life difficult and bloody. Iraqi resistance continues today, sixteen years later. The same would likely happen in Venezuela.

There is deep anti-American sentiment in Latin America that existed long before Col. Chavez. Recall, for example, the large anti-American riots that greeted Vice President Nixon's visit to Caracas in 1958.

'Yankees Go Home' is a rallying cry for much of Latin America. Blundering into Venezuela, another nation about which the Trump administration knows or understands little, would stir up a hornet's next. Their ham-handed efforts to punish Cuba and whip up the far right Cuban-American vote in Florida would galvanize anti-American anger across Latin America. Beware the ghost of Fidel.

ORDER IT NOW

Talks over Venezuela are underway between Washington and Moscow. Neither country has any major interest in Venezuela. Moscow is stirring the pot there to retaliate for growing US involvement in Russia's backyard and Syria. Both the US and Russia should get the hell out of Venezuela and mind their own business.

Instead, we hear crazy proposals to send 5,000 mercenaries to overthrow the Maduro regime. How well did the wide-scale use of US-financed mercenaries work in Iraq and Afghanistan? A complete flop. The only thing they did competently was wash dishes at our bases, murder civilians, and play junior Rambos.

For those who don't like the American Raj, a US invasion of Venezuela would mark a step forward in the crumbling of the empire. More aimless imperial over-reach, more lack of strategy, more enemies generated.
The big winner would, of course, be the Pentagon and military industrial complex. More billions spent on a nation most Americans could not find on a map if their lives depended on it, more orders for 'counter-insurgency' weapons, more military promotions, and cheers from Fox News and wrestling fans.

Worst of all, the US could end up feeding and caring for wrecked Venezuela. How did we do with storm-ravaged Puerto Rico? It's still in semi-ruin. Few want Venezuela's thick, heavy oil these days.

Venezuela could turn out to be a big, fat Tar Baby.


mijj , says: May 4, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT

> "half the population hates the current government and might welcome the Americans"

.. what? .. like in Lybia and Syria?

Verity , says: May 4, 2019 at 4:15 pm GMT
The "crackpot economic policies" of Chavez and Madero increased the health of the people through access to medical care, improved housing, brought the literacy rate to one of the highest in Latin Americs, added years to average lifespan among other things by emphasizing that the country's resources should improve the lives of Venezuela's citizens. This was accomplished by selling resources in the capitalistic market -crackpot I grant you. The American sanctions and the seizure of Venezuelan assets are all illegal under American law and Constitution given the treaties we have signed, but then if you want to know what those laws mean all you have to do is ask any Native American tribe.
Walter Duranty , says: May 4, 2019 at 4:23 pm GMT
Venezuela is a trillion dollar low-hanging fruit which the neo-cons lust after. It would finance another entire war in the middle east.
Walter Duranty , says: May 4, 2019 at 4:27 pm GMT
Who would pay Eric Prince's 5000 Blackwater hired assassins? Would the cash come from the pirate booty war chest or would the citizens of America be stuck with the tab, once again?
The Scalpel , says: Website May 4, 2019 at 6:39 pm GMT
@Walter Duranty Something seems different. With Russian and Chinese intelligence help, the Guaido coup was a laughable joke. It made the US look like bozos. I think Venezuela and allies tipped their hand there, and it is a strong one. I fear the US may be walking into a trap
Galearis , says: May 4, 2019 at 7:50 pm GMT
It is interesting but several Pentagon/military officers are saying the Pentagon is not enthusiastic about invading Venezuela. It is a rugged, jungle cloaked, country that is quite large and an American effort may end up being like the one in Vietnam.

Even Trump is not enthusiastic.
L.

peterAUS , says: May 4, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT
@Walter Duranty You could be onto something here.

Or controlling Venezuela oil would help in a scenario where Teheran closes Hormuz.

It appears that for the current TPTBs in West Iran is what Carthage was to Rome.

Which points, again, to "them".

Weird times.

Bill Pilgrim , says: May 5, 2019 at 6:31 am GMT
I wonder how many are aware that Venezuela owns a majority of the oil company Citgo?
I wonder how many Americans know that for many years during Winter Citgo gave free heating oil to a large number of low income households in the US northeast? while our own government was cutting back on low income heating oil subsidies.
Dwayne Thundergrit , says: May 5, 2019 at 6:37 am GMT
We absolutely have won most of those little wars it's just that majority of the population doesn't have the same definition of victory that our Neocon masters do. As long as we leave a county in ruins so it's development is set back for decades and there are multiple factions fighting for power, the Neocons cobble together a wonderful democratic election and call it a victory. Stay as long as it takes to make sure no major faction is strong enough to set nationwide policy, bomb everything that's required for a 20th Century society, then leave. If one faction plays nice by scraping and bowing to the US, fine, let them have a bit of electricity and running water. Otherwise, leave the factions to fight one another in the rubble and enjoying their new found freedom and democracy. Considering all the oil Venezuela has, they're just begging for some freedom and democracy.
peter mcloughlin , says: May 5, 2019 at 9:53 am GMT
It may be true that neither the US or Russia 'has any major interest in Venezuela', and that Putin may be 'stirring the pot'. The real danger is, and globally the evidence points to this, an eventual clash between the major nuclear powers (world war). It is ominous if Washington is getting for 'ready for real big wars against Russia and China, or even North Korea.'
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

[May 05, 2019] Viva to another jolly little war by Eric Margolis

May 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sure. Let's invade Venezuela. Another jolly little war. It's full of commies and has a sea of oil. The only thing those Cuban-loving Venezuelans lack are weapons of mass destruction.

... ... ...

Venezuela is in a huge economic mess thanks to the crackpot economic policies of the Chavez and Maduro governments – and US economic sabotage. But my first law of international affairs is: 'Every nation has the absolute god-given right to mismanage its own affairs and elect its own crooks or idiots.'

[May 04, 2019] The art of provocation and Sacral victims of Maidan

Color revolution is a military operation in which protesters are just a tip of the iceberg. the key players are Embassy staff, three letter agencies, NGOs, bought and foreign owned neoliberal press, some oligarchs (who might be pressed into submission with the threat of confiscating their assets), compradors and bought players within the government.
The initial crash with police was organized by one of such players (supposedly Lyovochkin). One of the key instruments were huge cash flows in diplomatic mail that feed the protest ("bombing country with dollars"). In a sense in any neoliberal republic color revolution is designed to be a success, the fact which EuroMaidan proved quite convincingly.
Ukraine actually was a very easy target. Yanukovich was essentially neutralized and paralyzed by threats from Biden. Security services were infiltrated and partially work for Americans. Several bought members of the government (Lyovochkon?) did their dirty job in organizing the necessity clashes with policy to feed the protest.
Notable quotes:
"... The script writers of the Maidan, in his opinion, were Americans. ..."
Feb 21, 2015 | vesti-ukr.com

Former Prime Minister Azarov explained his version of events on the Maidan. The script writers of the Maidan, in his opinion, were Americans.

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told the NTV about how coup d'état of February of the last year was organized. According to him, the script of the coup d'état was written at the U.S. Embassy.

"The main puppeteers were not on the Maidan," Azarov said. The protests started because of the decision of Ukrainian authorities to suspend the signing of the Association agreement with the EU.

"There was, of course, the enormous pressure from the leaders of the European Union, from several European countries. The meaning of this pressure was the fact that we must put aside all doubts and to sign this agreement," said the former Prime Minister. "They just needed an excuse, a reason to overthrow our government. Because we were frankly told: "If you do not you sign this agreement, it will sign another government, another President,"

In this regard, according to Azarov, they needed a provocation to start protest and such a provocation became the use of force on Independence square in Kiev, where supporters of European integration were staying for several nights. "The action was slow. The organizers understood that without the sacred victims they will be unable to ignite the crowd. Suddenly around 3 am several TV crews arrive, set lights, camera. What to shoot? This ordinary situation, when people spend the night at the square?" - said Azarov.

Ukrainian people were cynically played. According to Azarov at this moment "prepared by gunmen in masks" arrived to the square. They started beating on duty policemen with metal sticks. When police called reinforcements instigators quickly disappeared. And when riot police began detention, "they detain generally innocent people who spend night at the square as a part of peaceful protest."

Speaking about the negotiations Yanukovich with the opposition, Azarov noted that the current Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk "every day spend most of his time in the American Embassy and following their instructions to the letter."

In the end, an agreement was signed between the President and opposition leaders on the peaceful resolution of the conflict, the guarantor which were several European countries, but no one except the Yanukovich, fulfilled their obligations. "I still do not understand, how foreign Ministers of Poland, Germany, France, which signed an agreement on February 21 feel themselves. In the history of diplomacy this agreement will be included as an example of the utmost degree of cynicism and deceit," said Azarov.

See also

[May 04, 2019] That nonsense about a plane waiting to shuffle him off to Cuba was complete American lie.

Notable quotes:
"... "What I am saying is that I am confident that the people of Venezuela know a thing or two about what happened in Chile." ..."
"... They also know what happened when the "militares" took over in Argentina (Videla), Paraguay (Stroessner), Brazil (1964-1985), Nicaragua (Somoza), Dominican Republic (Trujillo), Guatemala (1954), Honduras (2009) Panama 1983 (Noriega – see Confessions of an Economic Hit Man on plane crash of Omar Torrijos), and on and on. ..."
"... If there is a US military attack on Venezuela one thing's for sure; many, many young men and women will be making their way from all over Latin America to take on the Gringos. ..."
"... I'm sure the Venezuelan govt knows all about Operation Condor and how that lost the entire South American continent a generation of its best people and degraded its progress and development. ..."
"... Bolton and Abraham are senile. They are totally out of touch with the new realities of the new millenium. they stupidly think that their old tricks still work... in my view both and also Pompeo are near the door out of the White House for good... they won't survive the summer. ..."
"... Clearly, Venezuelans take their oaths of allegiance far more seriously. By comparison, the Outlaw US Empire's entire Neocon and Neoliberal cabal are traitors to their nation and their oaths of office. And it's that very major distinction that's known by the vast majority of Venezuelans that's the real difference maker whereas the US public's mostly illiterate. ..."
"... One curious aspect of the recent events in Venezuela is the lack of signs of wider support for Guaido compared with "energetic" demonstrations and riots few years ago. ..."
"... Initially, some thugs were mobilized to support "humanitarian relief", but it was a smallish crowd and their most spectacular achievement was torching a "relief truck". ..."
"... Then there were "electricity protests", I have no data about their scope. I would theorize that electricity issue decreased the support for Guaido ..."
"... Seems that Russia acted in a characteristically minimalist fashion. Security of power system was improved, gasoline supplies* were improved, and a subtle security operation was launched. Bear in mind that when dealing with domestic opposition Putin is highly flexible, no "one hammer fits all", similarly with "near abroad". Letting Guaido walk around and repetitively make idiot of himself has a resemblance of handling Navalny and similar folks in Russia. ..."
May 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jane , May 3, 2019 6:22:50 PM | link

Maduro needs to man up. He needs to recognize that this is ideological battle, not just a battle for his personal survival.


arby , May 3, 2019 6:31:16 PM | link

Jane @45

Where do you come up with the idea that Maduro is about his personal survival?

IMO, Maduro is quite genuine in taking his position and job very seriously and in no way is this about him.

That nonsense about a plane waiting to shuffle him off to Cuba was complete American lie.

Lochearn , May 3, 2019 6:35:01 PM | link
@ 36 William Gruff
"What I am saying is that I am confident that the people of Venezuela know a thing or two about what happened in Chile."

They also know what happened when the "militares" took over in Argentina (Videla), Paraguay (Stroessner), Brazil (1964-1985), Nicaragua (Somoza), Dominican Republic (Trujillo), Guatemala (1954), Honduras (2009) Panama 1983 (Noriega – see Confessions of an Economic Hit Man on plane crash of Omar Torrijos), and on and on.

If there is a US military attack on Venezuela one thing's for sure; many, many young men and women will be making their way from all over Latin America to take on the Gringos.

Jane , May 3, 2019 6:41:36 PM | link
@arby 46

I really do not know Maduro. I do not know how ideologically grounded he is. But I heard stories about corruption and connections with drug syndicates. I hope that is not true. Otherwise, his apparent weakness will be exploited to the hilt by his ideological enemies.

Jen , May 3, 2019 6:50:02 PM | link
William Gruff @ 36, Lochearn @ 47:

I'm sure the Venezuelan govt knows all about Operation Condor and how that lost the entire South American continent a generation of its best people and degraded its progress and development.

virgile , May 3, 2019 6:51:23 PM | link
Bolton and Abraham are senile. They are totally out of touch with the new realities of the new millenium. they stupidly think that their old tricks still work...
in my view both and also Pompeo are near the door out of the White House for good... they won't survive the summer.
karlof1 , May 3, 2019 7:26:19 PM | link
Jen @49--

Yes, most certainly wasn't lost on Chavez. The changes he made after 2002 to the military and other security-related areas of government are now serving Maduro well. If there was the sort of 5th Column anti-government feelings required of a coup, they would have manifested themselves when the armed demonstrations first began to beset Maduro in 2014, a year after Chavez's passing, which in essence is when the slow moving coup began. Condor and other operations were certainly used in educating higher level officers about the importance of loyalty to Constitutional methods and that one owes their allegiance to the Constitution not the individual just as it's supposed to be within the USA

Clearly, Venezuelans take their oaths of allegiance far more seriously. By comparison, the Outlaw US Empire's entire Neocon and Neoliberal cabal are traitors to their nation and their oaths of office. And it's that very major distinction that's known by the vast majority of Venezuelans that's the real difference maker whereas the US public's mostly illiterate.

Piotr Berman , May 3, 2019 8:22:04 PM | link
One curious aspect of the recent events in Venezuela is the lack of signs of wider support for Guaido compared with "energetic" demonstrations and riots few years ago.

Initially, some thugs were mobilized to support "humanitarian relief", but it was a smallish crowd and their most spectacular achievement was torching a "relief truck".

Then there were "electricity protests", I have no data about their scope. I would theorize that electricity issue decreased the support for Guaido . First, the tales that the troubles were due to mismanagement and neglect look not so probable if you look at the timing of incidents: a wave of incidents at the time "convenient" for the "cause of Guaido" preceeded and followed by rather normal situation. Government surely spend effort to explain the incidents with transmission lines and transformer stations as vile sabotage, ruthlessly inflicting severe hardships on the entire population (including the middle class that should be the social base of Guaido).

Seems that Russia acted in a characteristically minimalist fashion. Security of power system was improved, gasoline supplies* were improved, and a subtle security operation was launched. Bear in mind that when dealing with domestic opposition Putin is highly flexible, no "one hammer fits all", similarly with "near abroad". Letting Guaido walk around and repetitively make idiot of himself has a resemblance of handling Navalny and similar folks in Russia.

Who supported 12 hours of revolution? Videos showed a motorcycle gang, few hundred of energetic young men who blocked a highway bridge and a smallish crowd of housewives and other non-violent type -- I must stress that I wholly approve non-violent types, but in part because this is not a coup material. Why so little? (a) Guaido was never popular, he was in a most histrionic of several opposition parties, popular mobilization without support of the rest of the opposition was a flop. (b) The first two episodes of his "revolution" did not approve his support, to the contrary. (c) On the gangland front that could provide armed muscle and provoke bloody incidents Maidan style, the government probably did some preparatory homework.

[May 04, 2019] Venezuela - Forensics Of A Clownish Coup

Notable quotes:
"... I know the Venezuelan military; I've trained some of them .... The majority of them, if the U.S. military arrives in Venezuela, will take to the hills – very formidable hills, with jungle-like backdrops – and they will harass, kill, take prisoner from time to time, and generally hold out forever or until the "gringos" leave. We might remember how the North Vietnamese and the Taliban accomplished this; well, so will the Venezuelans. ..."
May 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Venezuela is not an easy target. Colonel (ret.) Larry Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, writes :

I know the Venezuelan military; I've trained some of them .... The majority of them, if the U.S. military arrives in Venezuela, will take to the hills – very formidable hills, with jungle-like backdrops – and they will harass, kill, take prisoner from time to time, and generally hold out forever or until the "gringos" leave. We might remember how the North Vietnamese and the Taliban accomplished this; well, so will the Venezuelans.

The opposition is warry of a U.S. intervention :

Many believe U.S. troops could ignite internal conflicts within the military, irregular forces linked to Maduro and criminal cartels. Intervention would also undermine Guaidó's claim to be a grass roots Venezuelan leader by seeming to confirm that he's exactly what Maduro has claimed: A puppet of the United States.

A U.S. military intervention would "bring more problems than solutions, " said Carlos Valero, a Guaidó supporter in the National Assembly.
...
Political analyst Felix Seijas, director of the Delphos polling agency in Caracas, says fewer than a fifth of the Venezuelans he has surveyed this year support a military intervention. The numbers have gone up only slightly since the beginning of the year.

There were more warnings from Russia during a Trump-Putin phone call today :

While exchanging views on the situation around Venezuela, the President of Russia underscored that only the Venezuelans themselves have the right to determine the future of their country, whereas outside interference in the country's internal affairs and attempts to change the government in Caracas by force undermine prospects for a political settlement of the crisis.

The planning and decision making for the next phase of the U.S. attack on Venezuela will take time.

Meanwhile we can continue to analyze why the U.S. coup plan failed so devastatingly.

Cont. reading: Venezuela - Forensics Of A Clownish Coup

[May 03, 2019] Trump lost anti-war right. Forever.

Notable quotes:
"... Trump *escalated* US-Iran and US-Venezuela conflicts and intensified the sabre rattling towards both countries, according to all analysts. For the first time a POTUS openly said direct US invasion to Venezuela "is on the table" and his Adelson bought appointment for USNSA Bolton publicly showed in a notebook the writing "5000 troops to Colombia" openly suggesting a direct invasion was imminent. For the first time the White House asked the Pentagon to draw up options for military strikes against Iran. ..."
"... Trump's administration declared a whole branch of the Iran armed forces (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. This is an escalation and according to most analysts, considered an act of war. ..."
"... Trump administration heavily increased sanctions to Iran, Russia and Venezuela and in the latter case even instigated a failed uprising and coup d'etat, going as far as to declare a virtual political Venezuelan nobody the "official" president of the country, which is in itself unbelievable and has no historic precedent. Another act of war actually. ..."
"... Trump administration also escalated the tensions with China, ordered the arrest and de facto kidnapping of Chinese corporate executives and openly used the US legal apparatus to attack and hinder a foreign corporation. ..."
"... Trump has been, objectively, the most neocon Israel-firster POTUS in US history. ..."
"... Friendly reminder that voting for Republicans and expecting US Jewish lobby/Corporate America promoted policies such as open borders and US imperialist interventions to stop is moronic beyond belief. Republicans are the most pro corporate pro US Jewish lobby of the two parties by far. At least there is talk and critique about how the Israel Lobby owns the USG in the Dem party. Nothing of the sort going on in the GOP. ..."
May 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

Scalper , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT

@A123 You Trump shills are chutzpah personified:

The U.S. missile strike on Shayrat Airbase on 7 April 2017 was the first time the U.S. became a deliberate, direct combatant against the Syrian government and marked the start of a series of deliberate direct military actions by U.S. forces against the Syrian government and its allies in May -- June 2017 and February 2018.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/06/trump-syria-missiles-assad-chemical-weapons

Trump *escalated* the war from covert support to insurgents to direct intervention and official *invasion* in Syria. This is the equivalent of going from financing and supporting a faction in a so called proxy war in say Vietnam to leading the US to go full Iraq WMD and become a warring and invading faction in the conflict. Again, this is an escalation.

The number of boots on the ground vs Obama's is data you just took out of your bottom. Sources for your cheap PR shilling? You don't have any because this statement of yours is a blatant lie.

Trump *escalated* US-Iran and US-Venezuela conflicts and intensified the sabre rattling towards both countries, according to all analysts. For the first time a POTUS openly said direct US invasion to Venezuela "is on the table" and his Adelson bought appointment for USNSA Bolton publicly showed in a notebook the writing "5000 troops to Colombia" openly suggesting a direct invasion was imminent. For the first time the White House asked the Pentagon to draw up options for military strikes against Iran.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/13/white-house-asked-pentagon-plans-strike-iran

Trump's administration declared a whole branch of the Iran armed forces (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. This is an escalation and according to most analysts, considered an act of war.

Trump's administration ended the Iran deal without any objective reasons, ie Obama's effort to deescalate the Israel firsters driven Iran-US conflict

Trump administration heavily increased sanctions to Iran, Russia and Venezuela and in the latter case even instigated a failed uprising and coup d'etat, going as far as to declare a virtual political Venezuelan nobody the "official" president of the country, which is in itself unbelievable and has no historic precedent. Another act of war actually.

Trump administration declared Golan Heights part of Israel brought US embassy to Jerusalem, increasing the tensions and animosity towards the US in the ME.

Trump administration will declare Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, increasing the animosity from Arab countries in the ME to unbelievable levels. This includes non Arab country Turkey also, a traditional ally until neocon Trump took power.

Trump administration also escalated the tensions with China, ordered the arrest and de facto kidnapping of Chinese corporate executives and openly used the US legal apparatus to attack and hinder a foreign corporation.

Trump has been, objectively, the most neocon Israel-firster POTUS in US history.

Friendly reminder that voting for Republicans and expecting US Jewish lobby/Corporate America promoted policies such as open borders and US imperialist interventions to stop is moronic beyond belief. Republicans are the most pro corporate pro US Jewish lobby of the two parties by far. At least there is talk and critique about how the Israel Lobby owns the USG in the Dem party. Nothing of the sort going on in the GOP.

Immigration restrictionism is a traditional pro working class, leftist policy.

Non intervention and "pacifist" policies the same. How many GOP supporters were against the Vietnam and Iraq war? Not many yeah.

Johnny Walker Read , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:20 pm GMT
@A123 Here's your numbers TROLL.

Trump has dropped more bombs and missiles on Middle Eastern countries in a comparable period of time than any modern U.S. President. Presidents Bush, Obama and now [2017] Trump have dropped nearly 200,000 bombs and missiles on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Trump's rate of bombing eclipses both Bush and Obama; and Trump is on a pace to drop over 100,000 [180,000 to be precise] bombs and missiles on Middle Eastern countries during his first term of office -- which would equal the number of bombs and missiles dropped by Obama during his entire eight-year presidency.

Here's more perspective:

The United States Government, under the Trump administration, reportedly drops a bomb every 12 minutes, which means that 121 bombs are dropped in a day, and 44,096 bombs per year. The Pentagon's data show that during George W. Bush's eight years he averaged 24 bombs dropped per day, that is, 8,750 per year. Over the course of Obama's time in office, his military dropped 34 bombs per day, 12,500 per year. This shows that even though American presidents are all war criminals, Trump is the most vicious of them all.

Yes, Trump is dropping almost FOUR TIMES MORE BOMBS than Barack Obama and over FIVE TIMES MORE BOMBS than G.W. Bush -- which included military invasions of two countries.

We also know that Trump expanded America's wars in Afghanistan and Syria (and, no, he is NOT bringing U.S. troops home from Syria) and is ramping up America's war machine against Venezuela, Iran, China and Russia. And this does not even take into account the way Trump has given Benjamin Netanyahu's raunchy racist regime the green light to expand its wars against the Palestinians, Lebanon, Syria and Iran or the U.S./Israeli proxy war (with Saudi Arabia taking the lead) in Yemen.

Then there is Somalia:

In the age of Donald Trump, wasn't that [the Battle of Mogadishu -- Black Hawk Down] a million presidencies ago? Honestly, can you even tell me anymore what in the world it was all about? I couldn't have, not without looking it up again. A warlord, starvation, U.S. intervention, 18 dead American soldiers (and hundreds of dead Somalis, but that hardly mattered) in a country that was shattering. President Clinton did, however, pull out those troops and end the disastrous mission -- and that was that, right? I mean, lessons learned. Somalia? Africa? What in the world did it all have to do with us? So Washington washed its hands of the whole thing.

And now, on a planet of outrageous tweets and murderously angry white men, you probably didn't even notice, but more than two years into the era of Donald Trump, a quarter-century after that incident, American airstrikes in yep, Somalia, are precipitously on the rise.

Last year's 47 strikes, aimed at the leaders and fighters of al-Shabaab, an Islamist terror outfit, more than tripled the ones carried out by the Obama administration in 2016 (themselves a modest increase from previous years). And in 2019, they're already on pace to double again, while Somali civilians -- not that anyone (other than Somali civilians) notices or cares -- are dying in significant and rising numbers.

And with 500 troops back on the ground there and Pentagon estimates that they will remain for at least another seven years, the U.S. military is increasingly Somalia-bound, Congress hasn't uttered a peep on the subject, and few in this country are paying the slightest attention.

So consider this a simple fact of the never-ending Global War on Terror (as it was once called): the U.S. military just can't get enough of Somalia. And if that isn't off the charts, what is? Maybe it's even worth a future book (with a very small print run) called not Black Hawk Down II but U.S. Down Forever and a Day.

And now that I've started on the subject (if you still happen to be reading), when it comes to the U.S. military, it's not faintly just Somalia. It's all of Africa.

After all, this country's military uniquely has a continent-wide Africa Command (aka AFRICOM), founded in 2007. As Nick Turse has often written for TomDispatch, that command now has its troops, thousands of them, its planes, and other equipment spread across the continent, north to south, east to west -- air bases, drone bases, garrisons, outposts, staging areas, you name it. Meanwhile, AFRICOM's outgoing commanding general, Thomas Waldhauser, only recently told Congress why it's bound to be a forever outfit -- because, shades of the Cold War, the Ruskies are coming! ("Russia is also a growing challenge and has taken a more militaristic approach in Africa.")

And honestly, 600-odd words in, this wasn't meant to be a piece about either Somalia or Africa. It was meant to be about those U.S. wars being off the charts, about how the Pentagon now feeds eternally at the terror trough, al-Shabaab being only a tiny part of the slop it regularly digests.

And, while America's wars are way up, according to Gallup, church attendance in America is way down:

As Christian and Jewish Americans prepare to celebrate Easter and Passover, respectively, Gallup finds the percentage of Americans who report belonging to a church, synagogue or mosque at an all-time low, averaging 50% in 2018.

U.S. church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s. The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade.

Most interesting is this Gallup observation:

Although the United States is one of the more religious countries, particularly among Western nations, it is far less religious than it used to be. Barely three-quarters of Americans now identify with a religion and only about half claim membership in a church, synagogue or mosque.

The rate of U.S. church membership has declined sharply in the past two decades after being relatively stable in the six decades before that. A sharp increase in the proportion of the population with no religious affiliation, a decline in church membership among those who do have a religious preference, and low levels of church membership among millennials are all contributing to the accelerating trend.

Obviously, America's Jewish and Muslim populations pale compared to its Christian population. The vast decline of attendance to religious services, therefore, primarily means church attendance. Notice, also, that this steep decline commenced at the beginning of this century (2000) -- when G.W. Bush became President of the United States.

I tried to warn readers -- and listeners to my nationwide radio talk show -- that due to his insatiable war fever, G.W. Bush was going to forever warp the perception in people's minds of Christianity. And, sadly, I was absolutely right. After eight years of the warmongering G.W. Bush in the White House, millions of Americans came to associate Christianity with wars of aggression. As a result, the exodus out of America's churches began in earnest.

Enter Donald Trump.

As noted above, Trump has expanded Bush's war fever exponentially. But Trump has done more than that: He has aggressively put the United States smack dab in the middle of Israel's wars. It could even be argued that Donald Trump has turned the U.S. military into a proxy army for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Don't get me wrong: I am very cognizant of the fact that G.W. Bush's "war on terror" was nothing more than a proxy war for Israel. But the Israeli connection was covert and completely covered up. Not anymore. Donald Trump is unabashedly and explicitly partnering the mission of the U.S. military with that of the IDF. No wonder Benjamin Netanyahu promises to name a community in the Israel-seized, Israel-occupied Golan Heights after Donald Trump. (Trumplinka would fit Netanyahu's concentration-style occupation nicely.)

So, not only are millions of Americans now associating Christianity with G.W. Bush's wars of aggression, they are associating Christianity with Donald Trump's wars of aggression for the racist apartheid State of Israel. The result: the steepest decline in church attendance and church affiliation in U.S. history.

The longer evangelical Christians continue to support Donald Trump's radical pro-Israel, pro-war agenda, the deeper America will plunge into an anti-Christian country.

The good news is that all over America, people are waking up to the Israel deception. Support for the erroneous doctrine of dispensational eschatology is in a giant free fall; the myth of Zionist Israel being a resurrected Old Testament Israel is being repeatedly exposed; the attempts by Israel's toadies to characterize people whose eyes are open to the truth of Zionism as being "anti-Semitic" is losing more and more credibility by the day; and more and more people are becoming aware of the utter wickedness of the Zionist government in Israel. Plus, more and more people are beginning to understand the plight of the persecuted people (including Christian people) in the Israeli-occupied territories of Palestine.

Ron, maybe your shipmates on the USS LIBERTY didn't die in vain after all.

From an historical perspective, overextended wars are the downfall of any empire; from a financial perspective, warfarism is the precursor to an economically depressed middle class; and from a Scriptural/spiritual perspective, God cannot and will not bless a warmongering nation.

Let's be clear: God is not building a "Greater Israel." God is not building a third Jewish temple. God is not speaking through phony prophets who are attributing some sort of divine calling to Trump's pro-Israel warmongering. God is not blessing America because we are blessing Zionist Israel. Just the opposite: The more America aligns itself with Israel's belligerence, bullying and bombing of innocent people, the more God will deliver us over to becoming an antichrist country. After all, one cannot idolize and partner with antichrists without becoming one himself.

After Trump finishes this term in office, two-thirds of this young century will have seen a "Christian" warmonger in the White House. It is no coincidence that during this same period of time, wars are way up and church attendance is way down.
https://chuckbaldwinlive.com/Articles/tabid/109/ID/3866/Americas-Wars-Are-Way-Up-Church-Attendance-Is-Way-Down.aspx

Anonymous [102] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:23 pm GMT
Burning down the house. Driving like a madman on the road to nowhere has put the nation on a path to its own demise. Our foreign policy is a disaster that does nothing to promote democracy anywhere in the world. Our military has provided nothing but instability in the world since the end of world war 2. Ask yourself, why are we involved in so many useless wars that don't make the world a better place?
Don't you feel like we are being used by war hawks who see every skirmish as a threat to our national security? Why can't we cut out all the military BS and just trade with with nations that want to trade, and ignore those who want to kill each other. Let them figure it out on their own. Social Capitalism is the only policy we should be supporting.
Johnny Walker Read , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:36 pm GMT
America's foreign policy since the end of WWII. End of story.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/O66UKjCwmTw?feature=oembed

EliteCommInc. , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT
"All statements of Trump do not count. All Trump statements are results from stress of torture by Democrats, and deep state."

When this president stated during the campaign,

that christians don't have to forgive their enemies, I rolled my eyes stated he wrong, and understood well he doesn't know what christianity means and supported him anyway

that he supported same sex marriage, I rolled my eyes, rebuffed the the silliness of his comments and understood, he is not a conservative and beyond that he doesn't know what christianity means

when it was uncovered that he had in fact had relations outside of marriage, I rolled my eyes, and understood that alone could be a disqualifying factor in light of the competition and supported him anyway

when some of the most respected departments of government leaders said he colluded with Russians, based on the evidence, I said "poppycock" and supported him anyway

when media swirled with tales of Russian bath houses and carousings abounded, I thought nonsense and supported hum anyway

when the rumors of underage girls and same sex parties and orgies seped into the main, I rolled my eyes and supported him anyway . . .

when he spouted off about Charlottesville prematurely, I supported him anyway . . .

when became clear he actually advocated torture, I choked, spat and supported him anyway, afterall he's not schooled in international relations and the consequences for our service personnel, much less apparently the basics of tortures effectiveness, especially in large scale strategies such as the US is engaged in

when it came to light he was completely ignorant of how our criminal justice system gets it wrong as exampled by the Cen 5 case, I supported him anyway . . .

I supported him in spite of his comments about the poor and people like me who supported him

There's a long list of tolerance is support of this president based on his advocacy regarding turning the attention to the US welfare . . .

And when he actually agreed that the Russians had sabotaged the US elections and even engaged in murder in the states of our European allies -- I knew, that in all liklihood the turn inward was dead.

Here' a man who beat all the odds because of stalwart support of people like me, who repeatedly bit the sides of our cheeks in the understanding that the returns would exceed the price only to discover that the man who beat the odds doesn't seem to have a spine to stand on ideologically which were the foundations of my advocacy: national security, less reckless spending, holding business and financial organizations accountable for misbehavior, investing in the US citizen, restructuring our trade deals to benefit the US, not merely shooting up tarrifs that would in turn be priced to the citizens the supposed tarrifs were intended to protect, tax cuts that actually gave middle americans less, no evidence of a draw down in our careless ME behaviors, i even gave him some room to deal with israel as perhaps a new way forward -- it's a new way alright – no pretense of acting as honest brokers – that's new, Immigration is worse and by worse he might as well be serving tea and crumpets at the border welcoming illegals . . .

If the man you elected to turn the corner actually becomes the vehicle for of what you elected him to reject and change, eventually one has to acknowledge that fact. he beat the deep state, he just either had not the courage, the integrity, or the ability, perhaps all three to withstand the victory and do the work. Of course he had opposition and not much of it very fair and nearly all of it damaging to the country. But he had support to stand against it -- he chose an easier path.

And while I support him still, I have no intention of pretending that he is fulfilling the mandate for which he was elected. I would be lying to myself and doing a disservice to him.

I have not changed, I knew he was a situational leader, I knew what that meant, but I voted for a particular agenda, he left the reservation on his own accord and the "deep state", the establishment", the democrats, the liberals, the libertarians, can only be held to blame for so much --

But several weeks ago, on top of a complete failure to ensure US order security, the armed forces paid homage to Mexicans on US territory by relinquishing their weapons and surrendering -- and given the tenure thus far -- - it devastatingly fitting that this occurred under this admin.

And in the midst of all this, he is pandering to those engaged in same sex behavior -- – deep state my eye . . .

the path of least resistance. I cling to the belief that having voting for any of the other candidates -- matters would have been far worse.

I make no apologies for being a conservative and Christian and holding a loyalty to the US.

I reject your whine, it had legs and even some salience still, but at this stage, very little.

Now he is bed with Sen. Rubio, Sen. Cruz and others on mucking around in SA -- I can only consider your comments as an attempt at humor.

[May 03, 2019] Tucker Carlson Takes On Venezuela Intervention by Brad Griffin

Notable quotes:
"... As much as Trump has proven to be a disaster with his appointments of Bolton/Pompeo/E Abrams, things could still be worse. We could have wound up with Little Marco, the John McCain of his generation. All praise to Tucker for having the guts to go against the grain. ..."
"... The answer here is simple. When the President of of the US stated that he believed Russia under the instructions of Pres. Putin attempted to sabotage the democratic process, and from the mouths many of our leadership -- was successful he made a major power on the world stage a targeted enemy of the US. When that same president accused Pres. Putin of plotting the same in Europe and ordered the murders inside those sovereign states -- ..."
"... He essentially stated that our global strategic interests include challenging the Russian influence anywhere and everywhere on the planet as they are active enemies of the US and our European allies. What ever democratic global strategic ambitions previous to the least election were stifled until that moment. ..."
"... Sanctions and blockades are acts of war. Try doing it to Washington or one of its vassals, and watch the guns come out. ..."
"... Historically, sanctions are not an alternative to war; they are a prelude to it. Sanctions are how Uncle Scam generally softens up foreign countries in preparation for an invasion or some sort of 'régime-change' operation. ..."
"... All of this is smoke in mirrors. The real story is that Washington is headed for default on it's 22 trillion dollar debt and the Beltway Elites are losing it. They are desperate to start a conflict anywhere, but especially with an oil rich nation like Venezuela or Iran install their own puppets and keep this petro-dollar scam running a little while longer. ..."
"... Syria, Iraq and Libya were not destroyed for oil. Oil provided cover for the real reason. In fact, oil companies opposed war for oil. It doesn't benefit the US or those companies. Those three countries were and are Israel's primary enemies and neighbors and that is why they were destroyed. Only if you stick your head in the sand and ignore the enormous power of Israel and their Jewish supporters which is constantly on full display constantly can someone not see that. ..."
"... Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world. I'm pretty sure there are still lots of guns around. They're not using rocks to kill one another. The U.S. military richly deserves to get itself trapped in a Gaza type situation of house to house fighting in the favellas above Caracas. ..."
"... Trump is a Trojan horse under zionist control who had 5 draft deferments but now is the zionists war lord sending Americans to fight and die in the mideast for Israel just like obama and bush jr. , same bullshit different puppet! ..."
"... America is Oceania , war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength and I would add to what Orwell said, war in the zio/US is perpetual for our zionist overlords. ..."
"... Imperialists always see themselves as spreading good things to people who will benefit from them. And imperialists necessarily always dilute their own culture. ..."
"... If the imperialist culture is already rootless cosmopolitan, it will see no downside to the above. If the Elites of a culture have become cosmopolitans divorced from any meaningful contact with their own people (i.e. those of their own blood and history), then they will lead their people into ever more cultural pollution and perversion. ..."
"... Remember. The choice was between Trump and Clinton. Not Trump and Jesus. ..."
"... The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars. ..."
"... I'm not sure what "Alt-Right" or "2.0 movement" really means in the current shills-vs-people wars but all the best and the brightest in our ranks are clearly against the globalists. ..."
May 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

H/T Daily Stormer

Venezuela illustrates why a 3.0 movement is necessary.

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars.

The Trump administration's interventions in Syria and Venezuela are victimizing mainly poor brown people in Third World countries. And yet, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is extremely animated and stirred up in a rage at the neocons who are currently running Blompf's foreign policy. Similarly, it has cheered on the peace talks between North Korea and South Korea.

Isn't it the supreme irony that the "racists" in American politics are the real humanitarians while the so-called "humanitarians" like Sen. Marco Rubio and Bill Kristol are less adverse to bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die than the "racists"?


Endgame Napoleon , says: May 2, 2019 at 4:48 am GMT

It is ironic. There is also the issue of economic-based US interventionism, particularly in the oil-gifted nations mentioned. It's their oil. Since the US economy is oil-dependent -- and since fracking is a short-lived "miracle" of unprofitable companies that have already extracted the easy pickings -- it is the role of US leaders to make sure that we can buy oil from nations like Venezuela, keeping relations as good as possible for those means. But US leaders have no business telling them who should rule their country, much less stirring up trouble that can end up in bloodshed.

There's a comment on here about US forces and the Kurds in Syria, helping themselves to oil, while Syrians wait in long lines for gas in a country that is an oil fountain. I have no idea whether or not it is true, and since the US press would rather gossip than report, we'll probably never know. But since oil prices have gone up recently in the USA, it might be true, especially since politicians always want to pacify the serfs facing other unaffordable expenses, like rent. If true you can see how that would make the people in an oil-rich country mad.

lavoisier , says: Website May 2, 2019 at 12:44 pm GMT

Isn't it the supreme irony that the "racists" in American politics are the real humanitarians while the so-called "humanitarians" like Sen. Marco Rubio and Bill Kristol are less adverse to bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die than the "racists"?

There is nothing ironic about your simple statement of fact. The humanitarians you mention are about as much interested in human rights as John Wayne Gacy. There is gold in them there hills, and their "friends" no longer control that gold. So we must go to war.

Rubio is running neck and neck in my mind as one of the most disgusting political whores of all time.

No simple accomplishment that.

follyofwar , says: May 2, 2019 at 2:01 pm GMT
@lavoisier

As much as Trump has proven to be a disaster with his appointments of Bolton/Pompeo/E Abrams, things could still be worse. We could have wound up with Little Marco, the John McCain of his generation. All praise to Tucker for having the guts to go against the grain.

Joe Stalin , says: May 2, 2019 at 4:31 pm GMT
V.I. Kydor Kropotkin: "Look, you want to save the world? You're the great humanitarian? Take the gun!"

[Hands James Coburn full-auto AR-15]

Dr. Sidney Schaefer: [firing machine gun] " Take that you hostile son of a bitch! " " The President's Analyst" (1967)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062153/

https://www.youtube.com/embed/mHQYPZqZ_kI?feature=oembed

conatus , says: May 2, 2019 at 5:21 pm GMT
Why not ship some AR-15s and and few million rounds with some 20 round clips?.Venezuela seized all private guns in 2012 to 'keep the people safe'
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-18288430

How is that working out now? Those are rocks those guys are throwing..right? Why not let THEM do the fighting and keep the guys from Ohio and Alabama here?

lavoisier , says: Website May 2, 2019 at 6:34 pm GMT
@follyofwar Yeah, McCain immediately comes to mind as the front runner.
A123 , says: May 2, 2019 at 8:37 pm GMT

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela

What Trump administration military intervention? Number of Boots on the ground:

It is quite amazing that Trump Derangement Syndrome [TDS] can take ZERO troops and falsely portray that as military intervention. In the real, non-deranged world -- Rational thought shows ZERO troops as the absence of military intervention.

Trying to use non-military sanctions to convince nations to behave better is indeed the exact opposite of military intervention. If the NeoConDem Hillary Clinton was President. Would the U.S. have boots on the ground in Iran And Venezuela?

Why is the Trump Derangement Syndrome [TDS] crowd so willing to go to war for Hillary while misrepresenting TRUMP's non-intervention?

Those who pathologicially hate Trump are simply not rational.

PEACE

EliteCommInc. , says: May 2, 2019 at 9:05 pm GMT
The answer here is simple. When the President of of the US stated that he believed Russia under the instructions of Pres. Putin attempted to sabotage the democratic process, and from the mouths many of our leadership -- was successful he made a major power on the world stage a targeted enemy of the US. When that same president accused Pres. Putin of plotting the same in Europe and ordered the murders inside those sovereign states --

He essentially stated that our global strategic interests include challenging the Russian influence anywhere and everywhere on the planet as they are active enemies of the US and our European allies. What ever democratic global strategic ambitions previous to the least election were stifled until that moment.

Until that moment foreign policy could have been shifted, but after that moment

-- fo'ge'd abou'd it.

Fidelios Automata , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:50 am GMT
Don't forget the genocide in Yemen. Wanting to exclude Yemenis from the USA means you're an evil racist, but turning a blind eye to mass murder is A-OK.
Biff , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:14 am GMT
@A123 Sanctions and blockades are acts of war. Try doing it to Washington or one of its vassals, and watch the guns come out.
wayfarer , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:28 am GMT
"Guiado Attempts a Coup in Venezuela."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WAvbX3A7igk?feature=oembed

"Venezuela Uprising Day Two."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/edvjV0HfRRo?feature=oembed

xwray-specs , says: May 3, 2019 at 5:52 am GMT
Gold, Black Gold and Pirates : all about wealth and people getting in the way of the 21st Century Privateers who will stop at nothing including overthrowing governments in Syria, Libya, Iraq and elsewhere.
Anon [358] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:11 am GMT
Our deep state sure hates losing elections don't they? The lengths they will go to nullify voter will is a sight.
Digital Samizdat , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:32 am GMT
@A123 Historically, sanctions are not an alternative to war; they are a prelude to it. Sanctions are how Uncle Scam generally softens up foreign countries in preparation for an invasion or some sort of 'régime-change' operation.

I appreciate the fact that Team Trump has not actually sent in the tanks yet, whereas Hellary probably would have by now. Believe me, that is probably one of the very few good arguments in favor of Trump at this point. But if we want to make sure that he never does attack, then now is the time to make some noise– before the war starts.

Paul , says: May 3, 2019 at 8:20 am GMT
We do not need yet another U.S. imperialist adventure in Latin America.
JEinCA , says: May 3, 2019 at 8:26 am GMT
All of this is smoke in mirrors. The real story is that Washington is headed for default on it's 22 trillion dollar debt and the Beltway Elites are losing it. They are desperate to start a conflict anywhere, but especially with an oil rich nation like Venezuela or Iran install their own puppets and keep this petro-dollar scam running a little while longer.

If we weren't on the brink of economic collapse I could never see the Washington Elites risking it all with a game of nuclear chicken with Russia and China over Ukraine and Taiwan.

Anonymous [578] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 8:49 am GMT
This commentator lost me when he decided Guaido was as socialist as Maduro. Nope. He would not have US backing were that the case. I checked out Telesur on Youtube on April 30 – its continued functioning was one sign the coup attempt had failed. The comments section was full of Guaido supporters ranting about how much they hated Chavistas and socialists and some were asking where Maduro was, probably trying to sustain the myth that he had fled.
PeterMX , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:05 am GMT
"When was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country" The answer to that, Tucker, depends on who you ask. While Syria, Iraq and Libya were "failures" because we were told we would bring peace and prosperity to those countries, that was not the goal of the architects of those wars, neither was it oil. The primary goal was to pacify these countries and neuter them so they would not stand up to their neighbor and enemy Israel. And if they had to be destroyed to accomplish that, that's fine. Minus Egypt, those three countries were Israel's primary enemies in the three Arab-Israeli wars. Venezuela is not "another" war for oil, but it might be the first.
PeterMX , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:19 am GMT
@Endgame Napoleon

Syria, Iraq and Libya were not destroyed for oil. Oil provided cover for the real reason. In fact, oil companies opposed war for oil. It doesn't benefit the US or those companies. Those three countries were and are Israel's primary enemies and neighbors and that is why they were destroyed. Only if you stick your head in the sand and ignore the enormous power of Israel and their Jewish supporters which is constantly on full display constantly can someone not see that.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:20 am GMT
@EliteCommInc. The russians are not the ennemies of the europeans , the russians are europeans , the yankees are nor european .

If the yankees were the allies of the europeans , why they should need hundreds of military occupation bases in Europe ? why they should impose on europeans self defeating trade sanctions against Russia ? , strange " allies " .

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:28 am GMT
@conatus you are late conatus , the russians are building in Venezuela a factory of Kalasnikov rifles , and Maduro is traing a militia of two million men , to help the army .

https://www.defensa.com/venezuela/fabricacion-venezuela-fusil-ruso-ak-103-comenzara-2019

War for Blair Mountain , says: May 3, 2019 at 11:52 am GMT
If JFK were alive ..and POTUS in 2019 he would give the order to overthrow the Maduro Goverment .
Johnny Smoggins , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:13 pm GMT
@conatus Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world. I'm pretty sure there are still lots of guns around. They're not using rocks to kill one another. The U.S. military richly deserves to get itself trapped in a Gaza type situation of house to house fighting in the favellas above Caracas.
Avery , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:25 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain {If JFK were alive ..and POTUS in 2019 he would give the order to overthrow the Maduro Goverment .}

JFK was alive way back then, when he gave the order to overthrow Castro and the result was the Bay of Pigs disaster. And – for better or worse – Cubans are still running their own country, not some foreign installed puppet.

'The order to overthrow Maduro' today would have the same disasterous end.
It should be obvious by now, that despite all the hardships, majority of Venezuelans don't want a foreign installed puppet.

Z-man , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:28 pm GMT
Tucker ' Iz Da Man' ! Unfortunately he has to skate a fine line to dodge the arrows* of the Cabal of the right and the Cabal of the left .

*Arrows? No, BULLETS.

War for Blair Mountain , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:37 pm GMT
US Military Intervention in Venazuela .
Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
What is really going on in Venezuela was anticipated long ago

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z1QVthvDhPo?feature=oembed

DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
Carlson is right on Venezuela but was wrong on 911 truthers which he said back in September 2017, that 911 truthers were nuts! 911 which was done by Israel and the zionist controlled deep state lead to the destruction of the mideast for Israel and the zionist NWO!

Trump is a Trojan horse under zionist control who had 5 draft deferments but now is the zionists war lord sending Americans to fight and die in the mideast for Israel just like obama and bush jr. , same bullshit different puppet!

America is Oceania , war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength and I would add to what Orwell said, war in the zio/US is perpetual for our zionist overlords.

One more thing, if Venezuela did not have oil the zio/US would not give a damn about it!

Jake , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:15 pm GMT
Imperialists always see themselves as spreading good things to people who will benefit from them. And imperialists necessarily always dilute their own culture.

If the imperialist culture is already rootless cosmopolitan, it will see no downside to the above. If the Elites of a culture have become cosmopolitans divorced from any meaningful contact with their own people (i.e. those of their own blood and history), then they will lead their people into ever more cultural pollution and perversion.

Jews are a people who fit the opening sentence of the preceding paragraph. The WASP Elites fit the second sentence.

Fool's Paradise , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:19 pm GMT
If "no one is more opposed to destructive regime-change wars than the Alt-Right", it means that the Alt-Right are traditional conservatives, paleo-(as opposed to neo)conservatives. Real conservatives have always opposed getting into foreign wars that posed no threat to the U.S. They opposed Wilson lying us into WW1, Roosevelt lying us into WW2. When the neo-conservatives (American Jews loyal to Israel) got Washington under their thumb, we started our decades of disastrous regime-change wars based on lies, starting with the invasion of Iraq. Those neocon mf ers are still in charge.
DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:46 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read Agree, the great zio/warlord got 5 deferments, but he will bomb any country the zionists put the hit on at the drop of a maga hat!

Trump is a zionist judas goat leading America to destruction for his zionist masters, and by the way his son-inlaw is mossad!

War is peace, ie the peace of the dead!

friendofanimals , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:52 pm GMT
Maduro was trading oil in non-Fed Reserve, Jew-Dollar just like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria. can't have that .
Anonymous [392] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:02 pm GMT
An Alt Right 2.0 concept that is compassionate with the damage done by US war and economic exploitation against the poorest people of the world who are mostly brown people is an interesting concept.

But I think it will ultimately fail, since so many of the white people who make up the Alt Right are angry with minorities and see them as a lower race. And these white people are more interested in playing the victim card anyways.

TKK , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT
@A123 You speak truth and cite facts, these loons go bananas.

Thank God they have no real power.

Hopefully they don't even own a hamster . probably would make the little fella read Mien Kempf.

Because a hamster reading is just as cogent and linear as their arguments.

They are frustrated they cannot find a way to blame the Jews! for Maduro being a greedy murdering sweathog who lets zoo animals starve while he looks like animated male cellulite.

Funny- in their prostrations to dictators ( these retards actually defend and admire Jong-Un) they conveniently have omitted Putin is cutting Russia from the WWW- the Internet.

They will have a Russia intranet.

Pointing out to the obtuse daily commenters that under the tyrants that practically fellate- they would be arrested and tortured for their Unz hissy fits and word diarrhea

-Does not compute.

TKK , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:16 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read All those words, and nary a coherent point made.

Nationwide radio talk show? Wow! What's the station name, number and air time?

If you listen to people with actual media shows, they don't call people TROLL just because they have a different opinion. They don't engage in female hysterical ranting because someone has a different idea about the mechanics of the world.

Who are your sponsors? I can't imagine you would not want the free publicity .

wayfarer , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:22 pm GMT
"Venezuela 'Coup Attempt' Footage They Don't Want You to See." https://www.youtube.com/embed/6OzF5ktFiCk?feature=oembed

"Massive Deception Coming From Corporate Media on Venezuela." https://www.youtube.com/embed/JjXzw51GZtc?feature=oembed

peter mcloughlin , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:37 pm GMT
I agree, there is irony in labels, in trying to tell who is more disposed towards 'bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die'. Why do we fight? It is for power. Power (manifested as interest) has been present in every conflict of the past – no exception. It is the underlying motivation for war. Other cultural factors might change, but not power. Interest cuts across all apparently unifying principles: family, kin, nation, religion, ideology, politics – everything. We unite with the enemies of our principles, because that is what serves our interest. It is power, not any of the above concepts, that is the cause of war. And that is what is leading the world to nuclear Armageddon.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
Johnny Walker Read , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:42 pm GMT
@TKK My sponsors are truth and America first. All Zionist hucksters are on my hit list. Again, I suggest you and yours consider "making aliyah".
https://www.nbn.org.il/
HallParvey , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:47 pm GMT
@A123

What Trump administration military intervention?

Number of Boots on the ground:
-- Syria -- Reduced vs. Obama, at most a few thousand
-- Iran -- ZERO
-- Venezuela -- Again ZERO

We will see in the future. Trump has to stir the pot. The foaming at the mouth media and his political opposition, in both parties, need something to blather on about. Jus like rasslin'. Remember. The choice was between Trump and Clinton. Not Trump and Jesus.

Gapeseed , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT
@TKK Oh, I see a point there, and it's an interesting one – openly Christian presidents discredit their Christianity by engaging in non-righteous wars. After contemplating the point, I don't think the foreign policy of W or Trump is anywhere close to being the primary factor in the decline in church attendance. After all, the Catholic Church and other denominations are mired in myriad sex scandals, the internet pulls people from God with private depravity, science offers compelling hows if not whys, entertainment options abound, and so on. Nonetheless, an orthodox and faithful Christian president committed to peace and not fighting for oil or foreign interests would be a thing to behold. With caveats relating to perceived sanity, that person would get my vote.
Anon [398] Disclaimer , says: Website May 3, 2019 at 2:52 pm GMT
But nothing seems to happen to the scumbags.
EliteCommInc. , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:00 pm GMT
"The russians are not the ennemies of the europeans , the russians are europeans , the yankees are nor european . "

These comments don't make any sense to me based on what I wrote. My comments have no bearing on whether the Russians are an actual threat or not. I see them as competitors with whom there are some places to come to some agreements. They doesn't mean I truth them.

Furthermore, my comments have no bearing on the territorial nature of Russian ethos. That's not the point. Europeans have been at each other since there were Europeans. From the Vikings and before to Serbia and Georgian conflicts. But none of that has anything to do with my comments.

You might want to read them for what they do say as opposed to what you would like them to say.

Agent76 , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:04 pm GMT
Jul 26, 2017 CIA director hints US is working to topple Venezuela's elected government

CIA Director Mike Pompeo indirectly admitted that the US is pushing for a new government in Venezuela, in collaboration with Colombia and Mexico.

Feb 22, 2019 An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela: Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose Coup

On the eve of another US war for oil, Abby Martin debunks the most repeated myths about Venezuela and uncovers how US sanctions are crimes against humanity with UN investigator and human rights Rapporteur Alfred De Zayas.

EliteCommInc. , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:09 pm GMT
"After all, the Catholic Church and other denominations are mired in myriad sex scandals . . ."

Not even to the tune of 4%, and I am being generous. The liberals have managed to make the Church look a den of NAMBLA worshipers -- hardly. In the west the Churches are under pressure from the same sex practitioners to reject scriptural teachings on the behavior, but elsewhere around the world, Catholic institutions, such as in Africa -- reject the notion.

The scandal is more fiction that reality --

A123 , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:11 pm GMT
@TKK Thanks. Ignoring mindless trolls is a necessary skill for the site.
____

Given the end of the Mueller exoneration, both Trump and Putin are looking to strengthen ties. Thus it is:

-- Unlikely that Putin is heavily committed to helping Maduro. The numbers are too small for that. Also, what would Putin do with Maduro? The last thing Putin needs is a spoiler to the developing detente.

-- Much more likely the troops have a straightforward purpose. Brazilian military/aerospace technology would jump ahead 20 years if they could grab an intact S-300 system. Russia doesn't want a competitor in that market, so they have a deep interest in reclaiming or destroying S-300 equipment as Maduro goes down.

PEACE

Gapeseed , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:40 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc. You are certainly right. I have no doubt that the vast majority of priests are good men innocent of these charges, and that there are more public school sex scandals (by both raw numbers and percentage) then similar Church scandals. The scandals do have public currency and legs, though, and are one reason often cited as to why the pews are empty. I am at fault for helping to keep this ruinous perception alive with my online rhetoric, and thank you for pointing it out.
Wally , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:47 pm GMT
@PeterMX Bingo!

' It's the oil ' canard has always been the excuse cultivated for suckers, and boy do suckers fall for it.

US oil companies have not received the big oil deals in countries where the US, at the behest of "that shitty little country", have interfered militarily. However, Russia, China, & to a limited degree, a few European companies have.

follyofwar , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
@PeterMX Bibi's biggest enemy, his main prize, has always been Iran. He is afraid that, if Trump refuses to do his bidding now, it may well be too late in an election year. One way or another Bolton and Pompeo are going to convince their token boss to green light a massive bombing campaign, especially if Iran attempts to shut down the Straits of Hormuz. It will happen this year if Trump fails to come to his senses.
Digital Samizdat , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:33 pm GMT
@Scalper In the first place, your bizarre partisan rant is a little out of place. There aren't too many QAnons here at Unz, and there are probably a fair number of regulars here who wouldn't even identify as Republicans or 'conservatives' (whatever that term means today).

Secondly, some of your talking points aren't even accurate:

Trump administration will declare Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, increasing the animosity from Arab countries in the ME to unbelievable levels. This includes non Arab country Turkey also, a traditional ally until neocon Trump took power.

If Trump were truly to declare the Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization, a lot of Arab rulers would actually thank him. You see, the Brotherhood is actually illegal in most Arab countries today, precisely because it has a history of collaborating with foreign intelligence services such as MI6, the CIA and Mossad. More recently, it was strongly associated with failed régime-change projects in countries like Egypt and Syria; so with a few exceptions (like Qatar), the Brotherhood is not well liked by Arab rulers.

Immigration restrictionism is a traditional pro working class, leftist policy.

Traditionally leftist? Sure up until the Hart-Celler Act of 1965! The sad fact is, we don't an anti-immigration party in the US at all today. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have any interest whatsoever in halting–or even just slowing down–immigration.

follyofwar , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:34 pm GMT
@PeterMX It's obvious that FOX is giving Tucker a lot of latitude. They continued to support him when advertisers left, and when accusations of racism emerged from a radio interview he'd done years ago with a shock jock. They dare not fire him as he has the largest and most fervent base of supporters on cable news. But Tucker knows that there is one big issue, the Elephant in the room, of which he dare not speak. It's that shitty little country calling the shots, whose name begins with an I.
Digital Samizdat , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Anonymous I think there may be more alt-righters opposed to foreign wars and exploitative 'free' trade treaties than you assume. Most of the alt-righters I know oppose the current régime's "invade the world, invite the world" policies (to borrow a phrase from our own Steve Sailer). But unlike the anti-imperialist left (with whom they often do ally), they usually argue against such policies based on popular self-interest rather than abstract universal morality. They usually choose to argue that being a mighty world empire has worked to the detriment of the majority of people in America; that the whole thing is just a scam to enrich and empower a small, corrupt élite.
joe webb , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:45 pm GMT
what goes unremarked here and elsewhere is the ethnic composition of Venezuela. From a few searches, Whites are only about one-third of V.

The Tipping Point for chaos is clear. Brazil is half White, Argentina is near 100 % White, ditto Chile. (Argentina ca. 1900 exterminated a large number its "Indigenous." ) The most stable of Latin America is Costa Rica, which is apparently about three quarters White.

Meanwhile the jewyorktimes reports the narco-traffickers in the Maduro administration.

Hopeless. Any Brown or Black Country is doomed. Brazil works cuz Whites know how to control the 45% mulattos and 5 % Blacks. For now anyway. Mexico is a narco-state with the only 9% Whites able to control the half breeds and Indigenous thru co-option. Wait for Mexico to blow up.

Joe Webb

Republic , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:46 pm GMT
Tucker's viewpoints seem to indicate a split in the US ruling class. US Bipartisan Unity on Venezuela Starting to Crumble. which is very good news!
DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:02 pm GMT
@joe webb The major drug runners in the world are the cia and the mossad and mi6.
twocalves , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:31 pm GMT
@Endgame Napoleon https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-30/us-troops-syria-long-haul-atop-lot-oil-resources-top-pentagon-official
tldr ; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East says us occupying syria, because we much stronger
DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:49 pm GMT
@anonymous Agree, and the same can be said of Hannity, who is another warmonger for his zionist masters.
Mike P , says: May 3, 2019 at 7:11 pm GMT
@follyofwar

It's that shitty little country calling the shots, whose name begins with an I.

Yes, those gosh-darn Icelanders.

Anonymous [173] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 7:35 pm GMT

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars.

That's an amazing point. I'm not sure what "Alt-Right" or "2.0 movement" really means in the current shills-vs-people wars but all the best and the brightest in our ranks are clearly against the globalists.

Robjil , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:59 pm GMT
@Avery The Deep state/CIA did the Bay of Pigs. JFK was not informed about it before it happened. JFK was fighting the CIA and deep state throughout his presidency. He wanted to shatter the CIA into a million pieces. Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass. His peace speech on June 10, 1963 was too much for our deep state. That speech was the biggest triggers that set the motion for his assassination.
Realist , says: May 3, 2019 at 10:24 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

US Military Intervention in Venazuela .

=

Unending Wounded Warrior Project Infomercials

Why do the naive people have to beg for donations ..make the warmongers pay.

Realist , says: May 3, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
@Jake

Imperialists always see themselves as spreading good things to people who will benefit from them.

No they don't .They see power and wealth.

Acknowledging Gravity , says: May 3, 2019 at 10:45 pm GMT
Whatever anyone thinks about the Alt-Right it did expose a lot of things about our current era, our history, our politics, and power paradigms that once seen can not be unseen.

And what are you going to do about it? What can anyone really do, honestly?

Not too much at least in America. Eastern Europe still has a good chance.

In America, the trajectory and machinations of power have been set for a long time and revolutionary romanticism tends to work better for the Left than the Right. A quick look at the data easily reveals this.

So what do you do when you realize how so much of everything that's presented as real and true isn't real or true? And there are so many truly bad human beings with major power over our culture, politics, and society?

Well, when has that not been the case in human history? At some point, acknowledging all the black pills is sort of like accepting your human limits, your finitude, your genetics, the unanswered mysteries of existence, the nothingness of Earth in the grand scheme, and just basic gravity.

You could become a courageous online revolutionary and eventually trigger some unstable person to get things shut down and deplatformed.

Or you could organize with socially and psychologically healthy and mature adults who try to prioritize attainable and realistic goals and gain some moralizing victories that can buffer against the demoralizing defeats.

Luckily, out of the winter of our discontent have emerged many healthy tendrils of new growth.

[May 03, 2019] Tucker Carlson: Before The Bombers Take Off, Let's Ask A Few Questions About Venezuela

Notable quotes:
"... Will the overthrow of disputed President Nicolas Maduro make Venezuela a more stable and prosperous country? More to the point, would it be good for the United States? Lots of people claim to know the answer to that, but they don't. They have no idea. If recent history is any guide, nothing will turn out as expected. Few things ever do. ..."
"... Are we prepared for the refugees a Venezuelan war would inevitably produce? A study by the Brookings Institution found that the collapse of the Venezuelan government could force eight million people to leave the country. Many of them would come here. Lawmakers in this country propose giving them temporary protected status that would let even illegal arrivals live and work here, in effect, permanently, as many have before, with no fear of deportation. Are we prepared for that? ..."
May 02, 2019 | www.realclearpolitics.com

TUCKER CARLSON: There is much we don't know about the situation in Venezuela. What we do know is that Venezuela's current government has done a poor job of providing for its own people. Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves, yet it remains one of the most impoverished and the most dangerous places on the planet. That is beyond dispute.

Everything else is up for debate. Will the overthrow of disputed President Nicolas Maduro make Venezuela a more stable and prosperous country? More to the point, would it be good for the United States? Lots of people claim to know the answer to that, but they don't. They have no idea. If recent history is any guide, nothing will turn out as expected. Few things ever do.

But that has not stopped the geniuses in Washington. It has not even slowed them down. On Tuesday afternoon, on a bipartisan basis, they agreed that the United States ought to jump immediately, face-first, into the Venezuelan mess. When asked whether U.S. presence in Venezuela would make any difference, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida told Neil Cavuto the following: "Absolutely. I was down at the Venezuelan border last Wednesday. This is just pure genocide. Maduro is killing his own citizens."

When asked whether Venezuela was worth risking American troops' lives, Scott said, "Here is what is going to happen. We are in the process, if we don't win today, we are going to have Syria in this hemisphere. So, we can make sure something happens now, or we can deal with this for decades to come. If we care about families, if we care about the human race, if we care about fellow worldwide citizens, then we've got to step up and stop this genocide."

All right, I just want to make sure that it is clear. If you care about families and you care about the human race -- if you want to stop genocide -- you will send your children to Venezuela to fight right now, without even thinking about it, without even weighing the consequences. You will just do it. Assuming you are a good person, of course.

If you don't care about families or the human race -- if for some reason you despise human happiness and support genocide -- then you will want to join Satan's team and embrace isolationism, the single most immoral of all worldviews. That is what they're telling you. That is what they are demanding you believe.

Message received. We've heard it before. But before the bombers take off, let's just answer a few quick questions, starting with the most obvious: When was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country? Has it ever worked? How are the democracies we set up in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, and Afghanistan right now? How would Venezuela be different? Please explain -- and take your time.

Are we prepared for the refugees a Venezuelan war would inevitably produce? A study by the Brookings Institution found that the collapse of the Venezuelan government could force eight million people to leave the country. Many of them would come here. Lawmakers in this country propose giving them temporary protected status that would let even illegal arrivals live and work here, in effect, permanently, as many have before, with no fear of deportation. Are we prepared for that?

Are we prepared to absorb millions of new Venezuelan migrants? All of them great people, no question, But many would have little education or skills or would not speak English.

Finally, how, exactly, is any of this good for the United States? Our sanctions on Venezuela have already spiked our gas prices. That hurts our struggling middle class more than virtually anything we could do. So what's is the point of doing that? So our lawmakers can feel like good people?

And if they are, indeed, good people, why do they care more about Venezuela than they care about this country, the one that they run? They are happy to send our military to South America at the first sign of chaos. But send U.S. troops to our own border to stem the tide of a hundred thousand uninvited arrivals a month? "No way," they tell us. "That is crazy talk!"

So, what is the thinking here?

[May 01, 2019] India and Europe stopped buying iranian oil. 1 billion $ of iranian oil stays blocked in China, no one wants to touch it. Even Khamenei admitted that Europe left the JCPOA in practise.

Notable quotes:
"... The Empire is not weak, this is poor analysis. India and Europe stopped buying Iranian oil. 1 billion $ of Iranian oil stays blocked in China, no one wants to touch it. Even Khamenei admitted that Europe left the JCPOA in practice. ..."
"... Iran is in deep recession. Venezuela is in deep recession and is surrounded. ..."
"... Iraq? US troops are staying there. Syria? US troops are staying there long term. 1 third of the country containing the biggest oil fields is under US control. There is fuel shortage crisis due to sanctions. Europe is not stopping its sanctions either. ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , May 1, 2019 8:19:31 PM | link

"The Empire only appears to be strong. In reality it is weak, confused, clueless"

The Empire is not weak, this is poor analysis. India and Europe stopped buying Iranian oil. 1 billion $ of Iranian oil stays blocked in China, no one wants to touch it. Even Khamenei admitted that Europe left the JCPOA in practice.

Iran is in deep recession. Venezuela is in deep recession and is surrounded. Almost all of Latin America now has pro-US governments. CIA linked Bolsonaro took over in Brazil. Turkey is in deep recession and Erdogan lost the big cities.

India is moving closer to the US. Europe remains a vassal. Russian economic growth is weak. The US won the trade war against China as Andrei Martyanov himself admitted.

Iraq? US troops are staying there. Syria? US troops are staying there long term. 1 third of the country containing the biggest oil fields is under US control. There is fuel shortage crisis due to sanctions. Europe is not stopping its sanctions either.

There is no doubt that they will be weaker in the future, but they will fight hard to stop this and gain time.

[May 01, 2019] Does Juan Guaido realize what comes next

Notable quotes:
"... The opposition's hoped-for split in the military didn't emerge, a plane that the United States claimed was standing by to ferry Maduro into exile never took off and by nightfall one of the government's bravest opponents, who defied house arrest to join the insurrection, had quietly sought refuge with his family in a foreign embassy. ..."
"... Those that didn't take explicit positions nonetheless wrote articles blaming all or most of Venezuela's woes on Maduro and Chávez. Economics wiz Paul Krugman (New York Times, 1/29/19) gave his spiel: ..."
"... Hugo Chávez got into power because of rage against the nation's elite, but used the power badly. He seized the oil sector, which you only do if you can run it honestly and efficiently; instead, he turned it over to corrupt cronies, who degraded its performance. Then, when oil prices fell, his successor tried to cover the income gap by printing money. Hence the crisis. ..."
"... Note that Krugman failed to mention the 57 percent reduction in extreme poverty that followed Chávez's replacement of management of the state-owned oil industry ..."
"... The total failure of the coup is obvious when one looks at what happened to Leopoldo López, the mentor of Juan Guaidó. He was under house arrest for leading the violent demonstrations and deadly riots in 2014 ..."
"... The generals in the Pentagon will not like the rhetorical build-up at all. They will look at their maps and find that Venezuela is twice the size of Iraq and 30% larger than Afghanistan. ..."
"... It is unlikely that Trump wants to launch a war on Venezuela. He likely knows that it would not be a cake walk, and that it would be a severe risk for his reelection. But who knows what Bolton or Pompeo might tell him to get their way. They just got snookered by the Maduro government. Why would they not snooker Trump? ..."
May 01, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 12:50pm Juan Guaido's U.S.-backed coup failed pitifully yesterday.

He called it the moment for Venezuelans to reclaim their democracy once and for all. But as the hours dragged on, opposition leader Juan Guaidó stood alone on a highway overpass with the same small cadre of soldiers with whom he launched a bold effort to spark a military uprising and settle Venezuela's agonizing power struggle...

The opposition's hoped-for split in the military didn't emerge, a plane that the United States claimed was standing by to ferry Maduro into exile never took off and by nightfall one of the government's bravest opponents, who defied house arrest to join the insurrection, had quietly sought refuge with his family in a foreign embassy.

Guaido's mentor Leopoldo Lopez sought refuge in Chile's embassy in Caracas, while at least 25 pro-Juan Guaido troops asked Brazil for refuge. President Nicolas Maduro is actually in a stronger position now than a week ago. So does the U.S. give up this imperialist project? Nope.

We simply take it to the next level. Juan Guaido must die .

He has been a kind of a hapless figure so far. He calls for mass protests and no one shows up. I don't think he realizes right now that he is actually now worth more dead than alive not only to the CIA, but also to his own opposition people. A shot in the crowd or something like that to take Guaido out. It might shock you, Dr. Paul, but the CIA is pretty good at this kind of things.

Juan Guaido probably only has days or weeks to live.
I wonder if he realizes the danger he is in?

It's unlikely that the Trump Administration will wait long before putting a bullet in their CIA puppet.

"The President has been crystal clear and incredibly consistent. Military action is possible. If that's what's required, that's what the United States will do," Pompeo said on Fox Business Network. "We're trying to do everything we can to avoid violence. We've asked all the parties involved not to engage in the kind of activity. We'd prefer a peaceful transition of government there, where Maduro leaves and a new election is held.

But the President has made clear, in the event that there comes a moment -- and we'll all have to make decisions about when that moment is -- and the President will have to ultimately make that decision. He is prepared to do that if that's what's required."

You don't think that

Maduro would imprison Guaido first?

Is Maduro not able to capture Guaido? Or is he protected by the US and unreachable?

Lookout on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 1:08pm
My guess is Maduro

@dfarrah
Thinks arresting Guaido triggers a US military invasion. Eric Prince is trying to put together a mercenary force if the US troops don't go in.

aliasalias on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 1:48pm
Right wing nuts are joined by faux 'liberals'

calling for the same results that Pompous, Bolton, tRump etc. advocate, the 'liberals' just use nicer language. (highlights are mine)

"...Francisco Rodríguez and Jeffrey D. Sachs (New York Times, 2/2/19) envision similar efforts for a "peaceful and negotiated transition of power," and (Ro) Khanna made sure to characterize Maduro as "an authoritarian leader who has presided over unfair elections, failed economic policies, extrajudicial killings by police, food shortages and cronyism with military leaders."

In other words, Maduro the Dictator must be overthrown -- but don't worry, the US would be diplomatic about it.

Those that didn't take explicit positions nonetheless wrote articles blaming all or most of Venezuela's woes on Maduro and Chávez. Economics wiz Paul Krugman (New York Times, 1/29/19) gave his spiel:

Hugo Chávez got into power because of rage against the nation's elite, but used the power badly. He seized the oil sector, which you only do if you can run it honestly and efficiently; instead, he turned it over to corrupt cronies, who degraded its performance. Then, when oil prices fell, his successor tried to cover the income gap by printing money. Hence the crisis.

Note that Krugman failed to mention the 57 percent reduction in extreme poverty that followed Chávez's replacement of management of the state-owned oil industry (.

I picked the examples above from the article above but it would be a mistake to not point out that this is about all of the media but the NY Tool really stands out, of course Wapoop is never far behind.

However to not make this post too long I'll put up just two of the opening paragraphs and it gets a lot better...

"A FAIR survey of US opinion journalism on Venezuela found no voices in elite corporate media that opposed regime change in that country. Over a three-month period (1/15/19–4/15/19), zero opinion pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post took an anti–regime change or pro-Maduro/Chavista position. Not a single commentator on the big three Sunday morning talkshows or PBS NewsHour came out against President Nicolás Maduro stepping down from the Venezuelan government.

Of the 76 total articles, opinion videos or TV commentator segments that centered on or gave more than passing attention to Venezuela, 54 (72 percent) expressed explicit support for the Maduro administration's ouster. Eleven (14 percent) were ambiguous, but were only classified as such for lack of explicit language. Reading between the lines, most of these were clearly also pro–regime change. Another 11 (14 percent) took no position, but many similarly offered ideological ammo for those in support.

"

https://fair.org/home/zero-percent-of-elite-commentators-oppose-regime-c...

dfarrah on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 2:59pm
So people are stuck with

@aliasalias a choice between corrupt socialists and corrupt capitalists. Yay.

So now I'm watching tv, and oh noes, some guy says that Caracas is a war zone! But all I see is a bunch of people and some sort of smoke bombs going off. But no one yet is shooting. People are throwing rocks at some military vehicles.

The Aspie Corner on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 3:06pm
Krugman is a capitalist stooge.

@aliasalias I'm also willing to bet he was perfectly fine with the US ordering its client states in the Middle East to ramp up oil production to manipulate prices.

What I find particularly laughable is the fact that so many idiots on and offline think Venezuela is socialist despite the fact that their economy is 70 percent private, or mixed, like ours used to be before the capitalist pigs sold off the commons to the highest bidders piece by god damn piece.

Liberals and conservatives are just 2 sides of the same fascist coin at this point.

Battle of Blair... on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 2:04pm
Fight fire with fire

Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

leveymg on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 3:35pm
Most pathetic CIA coup attempt, yet.

Even after an effective multi-year economic embargo that's caused hyperinflation in Venezuela, and despite a plague of Stuxnet-like viruses that took down most of the country's electrical and communications grid, all the CIA has managed to do is make itself look ineffectual at what really matters. Same in Iran.

All we really still do well is wreck stuff, cause starvation, and cut down the supply of oil going to the world market.

The Agency doesn't really confuse and intimidate anyone, anymore, except The New York Times.

Cassiodorus on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 3:47pm
Is it just me?

Or is the American public missing the obvious? All I see from the folks advocating for a coup in Venezuela is that

1) people are starving,

2) Maduro is a "dictator" (supported by what evidence I don't know) and

3) something must be done. They have no evidence for the counter argument that

4) they are comprador elites who want nothing more than

5) to get their hands on PdVSA's oil after 6) their American sponsors take the lion's share and that

7) it's perfectly obvious that, apart from the end of the US-led embargo, nothing is going to get any better for the vast majority of Venezuelans if the comprador elites are allowed to take over the country. This is because their methods are

9) at least as dictatorial as those they accuse Maduro of employing. And then we have the undemocratic idea that

10) the United States government should somehow have a "say" in who rules Venezuela, a proposition that appears to have the open assent of most of the world's governments.

DonMidwest on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 3:43pm
Guaido got snookered

Venezuela - Guaidó Got Snookered - White House Starts Beating War Drums

Moon of Alabama has an excellent article.

Generals promised him that they were with him, but they were not.

US failed again. And the world knows it.

The total failure of the coup is obvious when one looks at what happened to Leopoldo López, the mentor of Juan Guaidó. He was under house arrest for leading the violent demonstrations and deadly riots in 2014. Yesterday morning the guards let him go. While the circumstances are not clear, the police chief responsible for the guards has been fired. López promised his followers that he would go to the Miraflores Presidential Palace. But he wasn't even able to leave eastern Caracas.

Yesterday evening López, with his wife and daughter, fled into the Chilean embassy. They seem to have disliked the accommodations. Two hours later they moved into the Spanish embassy.

While the embassy food may be good, it will be a quite different life than in their own comfortable mansion. A few of the soldiers who supported Guaidó took refuge in the Brazilian embassy. Guaidó is still free.

The generals in the Pentagon will not like the rhetorical build-up at all. They will look at their maps and find that Venezuela is twice the size of Iraq and 30% larger than Afghanistan. It has impenetrable jungles, mountains and slums that even Venezuelan troops do not dare to enter. It has a functioning army and halfway decent air defenses which were recently upgraded by Russian specialists.

It is unlikely that Trump wants to launch a war on Venezuela. He likely knows that it would not be a cake walk, and that it would be a severe risk for his reelection. But who knows what Bolton or Pompeo might tell him to get their way. They just got snookered by the Maduro government. Why would they not snooker Trump?

[May 01, 2019] War with Venezuela Is Unnecessary, Illegal, and Wrong by Daniel Larison

May 01, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

There are absolutely no vital U.S. interests at stake in Venezuela, and the Venezuelan government poses no threat to the United States. There is no way under these circumstances that military action could be "required," so when Pompeo suggests that it could happen we are clearly talking about a war of choice divorced from any U.S. security interests. It would be a war fought solely for the purpose of achieving regime change, and the only reason why the U.S. would do that is to vindicate the Trump administration's reckless blunder of taking sides in an internal political dispute. No Americans should die for the sake of Trump's ego or for the ambitions of hawkish senators.

Attacking the Venezuelan government would be a terrible error and a violation of international law. It would be a calamity for the people of Venezuela, who would bear many of the costs of turning their internal crisis into an international war, and it would likely cause more displacement and increase the number of people fleeing the country in the short term. I suspect it would also be a more difficult and costly war than most of us expect, and it would be a massive waste of U.S. resources and American lives in an unjustified and unnecessary war. If all that isn't enough, an unauthorized Venezuelan war would also be completely illegal under U.S. law. The American people have no appetite for a new war for regime change anywhere in the world, and there is not much support for it even in Congress. If Trump tries to take the U.S. to war in Venezuela, he will be in clear violation of the Constitution and should be impeached for it.


Collin , says: May 1, 2019 at 11:48 am

The thing I really don't understand about Venezuela here is why is this not China's problem while the US and Russia doing old cold war dance here? They are in debt to their eyeballs here with them.

At this point, Bolton and Pompeo are doing everything to suck President Trump into the battle for Venezuela and we must be not support military action. (I fear the talking heads at Fox News here.) Because it appears the people, or majority, of Venezuela are generally tiring of Maduro government but they do not want US military assistance. (Note any truth the CIA dropped weapons to the Guiadro forces? They do have US guns but this stuff get trade fairly easily without US government doing.)

Allen , says: May 1, 2019 at 12:34 pm
If America goes to war in Venezuela, Trump loses my vote in 2020. If we don't get out of at least one more unnecessary war like Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, etc, he's on thin ice. Getting OUT of foreign wars was one of his major campaign promises.
james , says: May 1, 2019 at 1:39 pm
It seems that wars of opportunity are the only kind we engage in over the past few decades. If we don't have a war with either Venezuela or Iran, I will be shocked and very relieved.
However, I am not optimistic. Our foreign policy seems to be completely controlled by NeoCons, arms merchants, and Saudi / Israeli interests, with no honest benefits to our own nation's security or strategic interests.

[May 01, 2019] Bay of piglets

May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 30, 2019 2:09:11 PM | link

Apologies to b, but today's Xymphora post really tickled my fancy.>

Bay of piglets, Tuesday, April 30, 2019

"Venezuelan coup attempt 'directly planned in Washington' – FM". Guido's cute little coup-let. If you stage a coup and nobody notices as it is so half-assed, is it really a coup? "Venezuela: Military Uprising in Caracas (in Development)".

"Venezuela - Bay of Pigs Redux?" (Lang). Obviously, the government can no longer tolerate Guido's shenanigans, which have become a public safety matter.

Emily Dickinson , Apr 30, 2019 4:53:38 PM | link

Apparently, both López and Guaidó have sought asylum in the Chilean embassy.

https://www.chiletoday.cl/breaking-venezuelan-opposition-leader-escapes-to-chilean-embassy/

I look forward to the embassy video showing them skateboarding in their quarters. I don't, however, believe any self-respecting cat will befriend either one of these tools.

Emily Dickinson , Apr 30, 2019 5:00:30 PM | link
Correction to 114 above. The Venezuela Analysis tweet linking to the Chile Today story claiming that both Guaidó and López had taken refuge in the Chilean embassy has been removed, and the story only claims that López is there. Miscommunication in a rapidly developing situation? In any case, surely Guaidó is seeking refuge SOMEplace.
wendy davis , Apr 30, 2019 5:10:07 PM | link
multiple sources are reporting similar information to telesur's update:

UPDATE: 3:11

pm Chile's Foreign Affairs Minister Roberto Ampuero confirmed that Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez and his family requested asylum at the Chilean embassy in Caracas.

"Lilian Tintori and her daughter entered as guests of our diplomatic mission in Caracas. A few minutes ago her spouse, Leopoldo Lopez, joined his family in that place. Chile reaffirms commitment with Venezuelan democrats," Minister Ampuero tweeted.

that seems that this iteration of the coup has fizzled. stay tuned for what comes next.

[May 01, 2019] It seems Guaido and even L pez were used as pawns in this scheme by US intelligence

The difference with EuroMaydan is that there is no distinct region of the country which supports the opposition.
Notable quotes:
"... US media will milk this to increase sanctions and economic blockade on the country. ..."
"... The show will go on produced and directed by US intelligence. They are using psychological warfare not only on Venezuelans but on American and European citizens. ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Comandante , May 1, 2019 8:46:35 PM | 67 ">link

So called "coup" attempt was just a show for American and European audience consumption. You can easily tell by watching the Western coverage the last couple of days(CNN, fox, European news) and compare it to actual reality on the ground seen through interviews with Venezuelans and social media videos.

US media will milk this to increase sanctions and economic blockade on the country.

It seems Guaido and even López were used as pawns in this scheme by US intelligence and/,or Venezuelan and Russian intelligence. You can tell by looking at their faces on photos taken that early morning and by the fact that López immediately ran to the Chilean embassy. They knew they'd been duped and used as pawns.

The show will go on produced and directed by US intelligence. They are using psychological warfare not only on Venezuelans but on American and European citizens.

Be aware US intelligence is running the show they don't spend 100 billion in Intelligence to let an idiot like Guaido run the show. Guaido is their dancing monkey. Watch the monkey dance. Dance monkey! Dance!

[May 01, 2019] Is the time for Washington-sponsored snipers on roooftops near?

Is Maduro put in Yanukovich situation by Washington. If so he is doomed...
Notable quotes:
"... Cue the snipers on rooftops. Not wishing for this, but that's what history suggests. Naturally, Maduro would then be blamed. ..."
"... The carnage was blamed on Yanukovich and the Berkut, but the actual killers were from the rebels. ..."
"... All that's needed are a few snipers killing some actually innocent protestors, and blame for the carnage would be pinned on Maduro. Like others in this blog, I think that Maduro should immediately arrest Guaido et al., and not allow the situation to progress further. He should be wary of repeating Yanukovich' mistake. ..."
"... That said, I agree with previous commenters that Guaidó and his clique have gone beyond seditious "baiting" and advocating violent rebellion to engaging in armed insurrection-- however staged and phony. ..."
"... My guess - the CIA want Guaido out of the way to start a serious run at Madura. Sacrifice Guaido and blame Madura (he'll be dead in a week I guess) ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Blue | Apr 30, 2019 3:16:56 PM | 89

Beware of snipers on the roof alla the Takism massacre in Turkey 1977 May Day with the Ecevit (leftist) gov't in power.
Of course Bengazi and Kiev come to mind as well.

Jackrabbit | Apr 30, 2019 12:00:05 PM | 37

Cue the snipers on rooftops. Not wishing for this, but that's what history suggests. Naturally, Maduro would then be blamed.
William Gruff , Apr 30, 2019 1:57:37 PM | link

Chevrus @44

Absolutely correct, Prince's mercs could not actually win territory and hold it. Their attack would just be a "bloody their nose" sort of thing that American psychos are so fond of. Basically Prince's attack dogs create chaos as long as they can get away with and when the Venezuelan military begins a methodical counterattack they retreat to Colombia. Beyond destabilizing the government somewhat I don't see what it could accomplish, though.

I think the concern raised by others is much more likely; that is snipers killing dozens or hundreds of people celebrating May Day in such a way that the mass media can spin it as the government's doing. Most Americans do not know what May Day is and will assume that any Venezuelan crowds their TVs show them will be Random Guaido's faithful flock protesting against Maduro. Guaranteed that's how the New York Langley Times will spin it tomorrow. If mystery snipers (CIA death squads) shoot up the festival-goers it will not be difficult to fool Americans into thinking that the mystery snipers are pro-Maduro forces trying to kill a few Guaidog supporters for some reason.

What further suggests this possibility is that the US State Department's astroturf Twitter army has been trying to force the meme that Random Guaido is actually a socialist and is more left than Maduro. This is to seed the idea among people who actually do know what May Day is about that Maduro would oppose May Day celebrations and thus reinforce the forced meme that Maduro loyalists are responsible for tomorrow's sniper attacks.

Still, selling it to the gullible American public is one thing. It is another entirely to fool the Venezuelans since many of them will be seeing this happen firsthand. If the Venezuelan people don't buy that the government is behind the sniper attacks then they will close up ranks around Maduro rather than throw their lot in with Guaidog's coup attempt.

Rob , Apr 30, 2019 2:05:04 PM | link

@jayc (68) Are the coup planners and advisors smart or dumb? In one sense, they are smart, because they can reason from some basic assumption and reach a conclusion that seemingly flows from the rules of logic. OTOH, they are dumb, because the basic assumption from which their reasoning begins is a steaming pile of crap. So, I vote for DUMB.
cassandra , Apr 30, 2019 2:17:21 PM | link
This is a very dangerous situation. Recall the leaked conversation between Cathering Ashton and Umas Paet, indicating that Maidan sniping was coming from the hotel occupied by the protestors.

https://thesantosrepublic.com/2014/03/06/kiev-snipers-estonia-confirms-leaked-nuland-call-yanukovych-innocent/

The carnage was blamed on Yanukovich and the Berkut, but the actual killers were from the rebels.

All that's needed are a few snipers killing some actually innocent protestors, and blame for the carnage would be pinned on Maduro. Like others in this blog, I think that Maduro should immediately arrest Guaido et al., and not allow the situation to progress further. He should be wary of repeating Yanukovich' mistake.

Ort , Apr 30, 2019 2:35:42 PM | link
This is just to further confirm that this stunt is being hyped by US mass-media as if it is "the big one", i.e. that Guaidó and his "revolutionary" forces are practically storming the presidential palace.

I listen to the local all-news radio station at the top of the hour. It's a reliable indicator of the tune du jour being played on the mass-media Mighty Wurlitzer.

This morning, as noted, it was the "top story"-- and presented as if the long-anticipated nation-wide coup was raging. Despite the usual overwrought sensationalism, I suspected that there was less than met the ear: this local station didn't throw over to their parent network for a Special Report, as it typically would if the conflict had actually escalated into open rebellion.

"Special Report" mode is announced with dramatic theme music, and Team Coverage featuring the Usual Suspect celebrity network correspondents and a gaggle of house "experts".

So I correctly concluded that despite the breathless tone, this was much ado about little.
____________________________________________________

That said, I agree with previous commenters that Guaidó and his clique have gone beyond seditious "baiting" and advocating violent rebellion to engaging in armed insurrection-- however staged and phony.

It seems to have intentionally crossed a line to further test the Maduro government's patience and resolve.

I'm not one of those who finds fault with embattled statesmen for refusing to act precipitously in response to obvious provocations. Maduro and loyal Venezuelans know perfectly well that even a reasonable response to blatant illegal and illicit provocations may be used by the golpistas (which includes the US/Western sponsors and enablers) as a pretext for foreign intervention.

But the prudent policy of tolerance and forbearance cannot continue indefinitely in the face of outright treasonous provocations, since this will eventually be perceived as the government turning a blind eye, or winking at, the rule of law upon which it relies for legitimacy.

It's a difficult dilemma.

William Gruff | Apr 30, 2019 3:25:23 PM | 93

psychohistorian @87 said

"...with very few shots being fired."

This is an important point. The Russians and Chinese seem to have the psycho empire psychoanalyzed and are offering good guidance to Venezuela, assuming Venezuelans themselves are not also clued into how the psycho empire works.

In essence, America needs a pretext to attack. Americans need to maintain the delusion that they are the victims, and that it was their victims who forced America to attack against America's bogus peace-loving will.

The pretext doesn't need to be very convincing, but it needs to exist. For this reason it could be wiser to just leave Random Guaido alone, but arrest and court martial the military personnel who took part in this little stunt. Lopez should also be re-arrested and tried for violating the terms of his detention.

This arresting should be done by regular police for Lopez and military police for the military personnel who violated the chain of command. No shooting or even guns drawn. Just calmly take them into custody and let the legal process work on them.

NOBTS | Apr 30, 2019 3:34:39 PM | 96

Now that CIA poster boy Leopoldo is available to take charge Juan Doe is prime sniper fodder!

Tobin Paz | Apr 30, 2019 3:58:20 PM | 101

US Unconventional Warfare Manual - Plain Text

The Unconventional Warfare Manual sets out the techniques of subversion the US uses in targeting nation states that don't toe the line.

Although the document is of recent date, the policy has clearly existed for a long time. Based on Church Committee hearings, it has been estimated that the US has carried out tens of thousands of covert operations since WW2.

Michael Droy | Apr 30, 2019 6:06:43 PM | 133

Guaido is just an opportunity for Bolton to stir up trouble.

He has never been part of a CIA long term regime change plan. If he was then his wikipedia page would not have been created just 2 weeks before Trump recognised him as President (or at least it would have been manipulated to appear a lot older).

And he would have been mentioned in WaPo a hundred times in the last 2 years instead of only a week before Trump recognition.

My guess - the CIA want Guaido out of the way to start a serious run at Madura. Sacrifice Guaido and blame Madura (he'll be dead in a week I guess).

[May 01, 2019] On Venezuela, America Should Check Its Regime Change Impulses at the Door

Notable quotes:
"... it was Russia that attacked Iraq on the basis of lies? ..."
"... It must have been Russia that turned Libya into a failed state, complete with slave markets? ..."
"... Instead of spinning fantasies about Maduro going into exile or being overthrown by some kind of joint (and illegal) Latin American task force, how's about we consider the very reasonable idea of Guaidó being arrested and tried for treason? ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Kurt Gayle, says: May 1, 2019 at 1:23 pm

"Tulsi Gabbard: Say NO to the costly interventionist wars that have cost us trillions of dollars" March 12, 2019:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/PziNiTsFByU

Kouros , says: May 1, 2019 at 1:51 pm
Please refrain in using the term "democracy" so easily. US is a republic with the surface of elected representative system, and we know exactly how that works. See the election of Truman as VP instead of Wallace in 1944 or so or very recently the election of Hillary Clinton as democratic representative.

A true democracy is done via a sortition system that selects randomly from the roster of eligible citizens to represent the will of the people.

Imagine that in the Second Amendment instead of "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" we would have: "A well educated Citizenry, being necessary to the security and well-being of a free, moral, and ethically sound State, the right of the people to get a sound Education in Philosophy, Ethics, Civics, Logic, Finance, and Health, shall not be infringed".

Bah, Utopia

Sid Finster , says: May 1, 2019 at 2:38 pm
Javier:

let me guess,

  1. it was Russia that attacked Iraq on the basis of lies?
  2. It is China that is gleefully assisting the Saudi tyrants to commit genocide?
  3. It must have been Russia that turned Libya into a failed state, complete with slave markets?
  4. Is China now that is frantically threatening war on Iran?
  5. Russia must have been responsible for supporting jihadists to turn Syria into another failed state, right?
  6. For that matter, is it Russia and China that are threatening war on the elected and UN recognized government of Venezuela?

Seriously, after America's long and bloody track record of failed and bloody interventions, it baffles me that anyone could say something so ridiculous.

cka2nd , says: May 1, 2019 at 3:57 pm
" fearmongering about the "Yankee" empire to the north."

What, this isn't justified?

Instead of spinning fantasies about Maduro going into exile or being overthrown by some kind of joint (and illegal) Latin American task force, how's about we consider the very reasonable idea of Guaidó being arrested and tried for treason?

[May 01, 2019] Random Guyaid 's New Coup Attempt Turns Out to Be A Dangerous Joke

May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Chevrus , Apr 30, 2019 8:53:36 AM | link

Guaidó seems to have neither a base nor large scale military support nor access to significant military equipment. If that does not change this coup attempt is likely to fail within a few hours.

We may have jumped the shark in to the realm of the monthly coup attempt. Mostly a media event to see if they can get a buy-in. Didn't work? Not to worry we will try again next month!

Can you imagine a force of 5000 or so mercs staging a combat assault on a large and reasonably well armed country?

If it didn't involve so much killing and dying it would be amusing to watch the "private army" get pinned down and butchered.

Seriously without air cover it would turn into bloody squalor. Meanwhile Russia and perhaps China are likely providing signal intel fo the Venezuelan military and keeping a close eye on what the gringoes are up to. Much like the RAND document on destabilizing other nations it will probably be a slow bleed by sabotage and scarcity.


Geoff , Apr 30, 2019 8:59:52 AM | link

I can't see either Guaido, the US, or any other of the coup fomentors ceasing their attempts until they've achieved some kind of result. Guaido running around, and I can see the rationale behind allowing him to do so, is an ongoing problem. Too much is at stake for the powerful interests to let go of any of their global plans. People everywhere do not really matter all that much.
Kadath , Apr 30, 2019 9:07:34 AM | link
Looks like the Neo-Cons just replied with their unavoidable escalation, this smacks of desperation. I wouldn't be surprised if Abrams told Random Guy to announce a coup and even if it fails the US will protect him or use it as an excuse to invade. Once this coup fails Maduro should stick both of these traitors in a "real" prison and see if that loosens their tongues a bit, neither of these fools have experienced real hardship so just taking away their sliver spoons and private aircraft would convince them to rat out their fellow traitors
Sally Snyder , Apr 30, 2019 9:11:47 AM | link
As shown in this article, the New York Times has been highly biased in its coverage of the situation in Venezuela:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-new-york-times-its-anti-maduro-bias.html

While everyone is aware of the existence of fake news, we are less aware of how editorial conflicts of interest can be used to sway public opinion, particularly in the case of a highly influential and widely read newspaper like the New York Times.

Steve Keith , Apr 30, 2019 9:26:21 AM | link
Harvard Law School
Barack Obama, an alumni of Harvard Law School, was the United States President who ordered the destruction of Africa's richest, most literate and developed country, Libya, and reduced that country to rubble and a state of lawlessness. Thousands died.

The sovereign wealth fund of the oil rich country has disappeared without trace. Libya's premier medical facilities that were the envy of it's continent and it's neighbours in the Middle East have been destroyed, precisely at the time that it's citizens required them. Many of the doctors, nurses and ancillary staff, as highly trained as their counterparts in Europe, have also disappeared without trace, many presumed drowned in the waters of the Mediterranean trying to flee to save their lives. Libya is now the poorest state in Africa. The leader who had united it and raised the infrastructural standards to be on a par with the first world, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, never had his day in a court of any description, he was beaten, tortured and sodomised with a knife, before being murdered on the blood soaked streets by a mob.

We have to wonder what it is that they are teaching at the Harvard Law School? In the 1980's the tiny countries of Central America, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua suffered from their own brutal civil wars. Extreme, right wing governments and militias were either trying to hold onto power or to seize it for themselves from the impoverished indigenous citizenries who sought democracy and guarantees of their fundamental civil and human rights. The United States sent in Elliot Abrams, now to be found lurking in the jungles of Venezuela, to support the fascistic regimes in the brutal battle against their own civilians. Mr Abrams was another product of the esteemed Harvard Law School. By the end of his time there, hundreds of thousands of some of the world's poorest people and been murdered, their bodies tossed into mass graves if they were lucky. There was no rule of law, in spite of the fact that there were constitutions and courts, judges and the concept of jurisprudence.

The current Secretary of State of the United States, Mr Mike Pompeo, recently addressed an audience of American students and told them that his former department, the Central Intelligence Agency, of which he was the Director from 2017 until 2018, routinely "lied, cheated and stole" as and when it suited or the occasion demanded. Mike Pompeo is another American official who studied at and graduated from the Harvard Law School.

This Massachusetts institution has had scores of it's students graduate and pass through, onwards and upwards into positions of authority in the halls of power. It is difficult to see what ethical foundations were laid down in those formative years of studying the law in the seminars of that Cambridge campus. Three alumni of Harvard Law School who have recently served and continue to serve in some of the highest offices of the United States, have done irreparable damage to a number of countries and have done so by breaking every international law that existed to protect them. They did this unapologetically, in order, as Secretary of State Pompeo admitted in a rare moment of candour, to "cheat and steal" from defenceless nation states and their helpless populations.

Perhaps Harvard Law School is not the best place to send one's kids to learn about ethics, democracy and the rule of law.

EricT , Apr 30, 2019 9:27:59 AM | link
@ #3, for a second I thought you were describing the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
Zico , Apr 30, 2019 9:43:41 AM | link
IF this coup succeeds, Moduro had it coming. He let the wannabe gangster roam free - bad move!

Seems the grandchildren of the plantation owners will get their plantations back after all.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 30, 2019 9:44:30 AM | link
Couldn't help noticing that Guyaido looks like a frightened little bunny which just soiled its underwear or is about to. Lopez seems to be in a similar state of near-panic. I don't know why the govt doesn't just disappear them. They could be stuffed and embalmed and put on display in the National Museum as a reminder that abject stupidity isn't a virtue in Venezuela.
BM , Apr 30, 2019 10:11:45 AM | link
OK, both Random Guy and Lopez are openly committing armed insurrection and high treason. Now is the time to arrest both, try in the courts (public and televised) for high treason. Unlimited military force (as required) is fully justified in making the arrests. Not to do so is appeasing the criminal actions of a foreign force attempting to use violence to usurp the legitimate and democratically elected government of a sovereign state.

Until now there have been legitimate strategic grounds for holding off from arresting Random Guy. No longer. They must be crushed with the full force of the law backed by military power if necessary, and immediately prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Limit the prosecution in the first instance to Random Guy and Lopez, and to High Treason and military insurrection. All other charges and defendents can be tried later in a separate trial, but these two need a straightforward and legally watertight conviction as quickly as possible, so that there is then no rotting carcase of ambiguity left.

Cesare , Apr 30, 2019 10:27:16 AM | link
Trump won't be gaining any "wave" from attacking Venezuela. In fact, it stands to alienate a large part of his base and energize the meekly antiwar Democrats.

It might be moot since it looks like this putsch has failed to get more support, and if so Guadó will spend the next months in a cage.

Alaric , Apr 30, 2019 10:35:25 AM | link
Maduro didn't arrest random guy to deny the US an excuse to invade. The US was bluffing I think but simply ignoring random dudecwas wise at that point.

But things have changed now. Lopez and Guaidó must be arrested and tried now. Failure to do so would encourage additional coups.

This does indeed smack of desperation as a previous poster observed.

Cesare , Apr 30, 2019 11:22:37 AM | link
Remember the (if I remember correctly) supposed 1800+ Venezuelan soldiers being kept in hotels in Cucuta, Colombia across the border? This and the white house rejection of the Prince scheme show that some combination of the US, the Colombians, and Guaidó's people have had little faith in the route of using that as the core of a contra force. Now they might have to.

As for our boy Juan, presidente encargado, unless something drastic happens very soon, he'll be wishing for some black helicopters to show up and pluck him off that bridge. Unless, of course, being arrested is the plan. This may be a case of believing your own propaganda - the opposition claims it's 90% of Venezuela. Maybe Guaidó truly believed all he needed to do was orchestrate something like Prince's "dynamic" event and the army would rally to Altamira with the masses in tow.

About a month ago, when his motorcade went outside of his east Caracas haunts and got pelted by rocks, you had all the internet trolls denouncing it as staged.

You see, there are mafialike Chavista bosses, Cubans all, forcing the barrios to act like they hate their beloved interim president. Maybe instead of taking the hint and changing strategy, Juan believed his own spin.

Or maybe he did take the hint, and figures the struggle against Cuban oppression is better waged from the dock than the streets, where he can force action from his allies and supporters by claiming abuse. Time will tell.

Jackrabbit , Apr 30, 2019 12:00:05 PM | link
Cue the snipers on rooftops.

Not wishing for this, but that's what history suggests. Naturally, Maduro would then be blamed.

Kadath , Apr 30, 2019 12:04:40 PM | link
The US media is really talking up this latest coup attempt by random guy, but I still don't see the meat on it. successful coups are fast moving and depend on quickly seizing key targets like media centers, power generators and most importantly of all seizing high value government officials. Currently, it looks like Random Guy just found some more random guys to stand around him and pose while he declares a coup. so this looks doomed to failure within a few more hours (6-8), what really matters is what does the US do once it fails, realistically, there aren't anymore sanctions they can put on Venezuela and Colombia has made it clear they won't send their own army in to fight the US's war.

That basically leaves just Erik Prince's planned mercenary army or a direct US invasion, previously Prince's plan had faced a lot of opposition so it is interesting that this failure of a coup is launched right now. If Trump was ever serious about not starting anymore stupid wars (and thus won't invade Venezuela before the 2020 elections) I imagine he'll now be more supportive of the idea of loaning money to Random Guy's backers so that they can buy Erik Prince's mercenaries and use them. Even if they use Prince's troops I doubt that they will succeed, Prince's mercenaries might be good at massacring civilians, but Venezuela has a massive civilian militia made up of the poorest citizens they will know right away what Random Guy's mercenaries will do to them and their families if their coup succeeds. So they will fight very, very hard. This could setup another Bay of Pigs type situation for the US and their mercenaries.

Red Ryder , Apr 30, 2019 12:26:14 PM | link
Several thoughts to keep in mind:

Trump will be lied to by CIA and NSC and State, so if he okays this or really wants this, it does not matter. He was couped and the Deep State uses him. He's happy being POTUS. That is all that matters to Trump.

The uprising will depend on hundreds of thousands in the streets, not several thousand.

The goal is hundreds of dead protesters.

Maduro has to snatch Guaido and put him on trial.

Looks like they are massing the people successfully.

The question for the moment is will the US agents and officers on the ground turn this into a Venezuelan Tiananmen 2. They certainly know how.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , Apr 30, 2019 12:28:27 PM | link
Imagine trying to overthrow your elected government at the behest of John Bolton?

If anyone in the United States pulled a stunt like this - and, remember, the US is packed with armed extremist loons like militias and survivalists and Aryan churches - they would be stormed with federal agents and soldiers and either dragged away to prison in chains or shot.

I am not exaggerating in the least. He would be charged with treason, and I think we all know, from our memories of how the United States has treated prisoners at Guantanamo what kind of treatment he would receive in prison for treason.

But the same United States not only thinks this is just fine to do in another country, they encourage it.

Simply the most lawless of all advanced nations, that's America. Utter contempt for rule of law and blind belief that American laws should overrule everything else everywhere.

So, what is Canada's Foreign Minister, Ms Chrystia Freeland - someone who has shamed Canada with her fervent support for Washington's illegal activities in Venezuela - doing today to assist Bolton and his unelected, self-appointed "president?"

Ripe Fruit , Apr 30, 2019 12:49:55 PM | link
If I were a Russian or Chinese strategist, I would be salivating at the thought of the US willfully creating another Vietnam right on its own doorstep and throwing the only Continent connected to it by a landbridge into complete upheaval and stark class warfare.

Class-based Civil War could easily spread to Brazil, Colombia, and beyond, throwing the lives of hundreds of millions of people into upheaval, all on Uncle Sam's dollar.

After the failures of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and the Ukraine, the several million Latino refugees and the expenditure of another 6 trillion or so over the next decade should be enough to throw the US itself into Civil War and Coup territory and finish off its hegemony over EurAsia for good.

Don't give Maduro too much aid just yet. Sucker the US to commit its hand and go in, then, as elsewhere, give just enough aid to keep the US in perpetual zugzwang as it slowly bleeds itself to death.

Austerity and War for the Americas, OBOR and peaceful development for EurAsia.

This is too easy a call.

WJ , Apr 30, 2019 12:59:20 PM | link
Red Ryder @47

"Maduro has to snatch Guaido and put him on trial."

This might be exactly what the U.S. wants Maduro to do. The arrest and/or imprisonment of Guaido by the "repressive regime" could be the pretext for a sudden "popular uprising" to which the "Venezuelan State" (ie. CIA operatives and hired assassins) responds "violently." A small gathering in any city square suddenly disrupted by the gunfire death of a dozen or so innocents--all miraculously captured "live" on cell-phone video and streamed direct to social media--is all that it would take to give the US sufficient domestic support for any further action. I suspect this action would not take the form of direct US military action but rather the freeing of Erik Prince and his mercenaries upon the dirty brown socialist peasants.

Maduro surely has anticipated that his arrest of Guaido is likely to play into US hands. Guaido may be too stupid to know he is being used as live bait, or he may be simply being coerced by his handlers to undertake increasingly reckless actions until Maduro bites.

I think the best thing Maduro might do would be to arrange for a public meetin and reconciliation between him and Guaido away from his U.S. handlers. The US is not expecting that and would then have to explain why they are opposed to the peaceable reconciliation of the conflict. If Guaido feels he has become disposable to the US, he may not be disagreeable to some kind of pardon and face-saving but largely superficial compromise.

Noirette , Apr 30, 2019 1:20:22 PM | link
The Rovian dictat We make our own reality (mutter it in growling mafia accent) is shredded to confetti, or almost.

Look at Ukraine, a comedian who acts the part of a nobody guy propelled to a presidential position in a TV show, is elected as president in RL!

Coluche was a French comedian who stood for president, 1980. Polls showed 16 to 25% of the vote. (He was supported by Charlie Hebdo.. them again..)

His manager was murdered and Coluche withdrew.

He was then himself killed (1985) in mysterious, highly suspicious, circumstances. Won awards for Best Actor and died because.. a truck..

Beppe Grillo is another comedian who created a Pol Party, the 5 Star, Cinque Stelle, party in Italy (with another guy.) Grillo could not be elected, by law, because he has a conviction on his blotter, for manslaughter.

Random Guy-do is within this landscape a feeble contender - a clown who pretends to be serious! He has no acting credentials, nada. No self proclamation presence. A confused, hapless, manipulated placeholder.

No way that is going to end well. For him. Maybe night - school acting classes? Ouch.. Idk. Operation Freedom, anyone who takes that on is pushed offstage..

Better to be a real clown! One can live on (Grillo) or die an honorable death (Coluche)!

:) :)

carroll , Apr 30, 2019 1:20:29 PM | link
oil
WJ , Apr 30, 2019 1:21:48 PM | link
Venezuela's FM is wisely playing down the guilt of the thirty or so military personnel involved in the coup. Such personnel were first described as likely deceived or misled by Guaido and now the FM is explicitly claiming plan and execution of coup came from Washington. The military personnel were not involved in its planning and so can be treated mercifully. (Who knows if some of them weren't blackmailed to join in? We are dealing with the CIA after all.)
bevin , Apr 30, 2019 1:22:03 PM | link
MediaLens has this story today:
"A new report on April 25 by a respected think tank has estimated that US sanctions imposed on Venezuela in August 2017 have caused around 40,000 deaths."
The question for Canadians is whether Freeland and Trudeau are ready to take ownership for, say, 5,000 of those deaths..and counting. Toss them in with the thousands killed thanks to Canadian assistance in Ukraine and a share of the daily carnage in Yemen and the bloody nature of the Ottawa cabal begins to become clear.
RJPJR , Apr 30, 2019 1:28:41 PM | link
Posted by: Circe | Apr 30, 2019 11:50:18 AM | 33 wrote: "It sounds like Abrams connivance."

Abrams is NOT conniving. He is dead in the middle of it all, the planner, the string-puller, the manipulator.

Ghost Ship , Apr 30, 2019 1:28:55 PM | link
>>>> jsb | Apr 30, 2019 11:26:52 AM | 27
According to reports, a group from Venezuela's Sebin intelligence service freed Leopoldo Lopez from house arrest early Tuesday morning.

Lopez and Guaido could have been set up in a stunning black op. Get Lopez and Guaido to come out openly and claim they're running a coup which is treason. If they stayed out of jail previously will they stay out of jail now? Probably not.

BTW, it's interesting that today's events are being called a coup. The coupist, Guaid and Lopez, have maintained the fiction that Guaido is president of Venezuela so in their narrative, how can this be a coup implying they're the usurpers. Surely it should be a counter-coup, which it obviously isn't so someone has fucked up big time. Perhaps John Bolton and/or Elliott Abrams as they're both stupid and arrogant enough to do so.

Miss Lacy , Apr 30, 2019 1:31:36 PM | link
Another vomitona from Guido Gusano and his boy friend. They're clearly out past curfew and should head back to the dorm. Idiots.
AriusArmenian , Apr 30, 2019 1:38:10 PM | link
Now, finally, after letting the clown run around creating a lot of noise, now that they tried a hapless attempt at a military uprising will the government of Venezuela arrest, imprison, and put on trial for treason the moron Guaido and the idiot Lopez?
Christian J Chuba , Apr 30, 2019 1:38:40 PM | link
Where is the money we stole from Venezuela?

We keep hearing the Neocons saying that Maduro and his 'thugs' are thieves and robbing the 'Venezuelan people'. The Administration has stolen many of their assets like Citgo and given them to Guaido.

So where is that money, his bank account? I'd love to hear someone in the MSM ask Pompeo that question.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 30, 2019 1:38:59 PM | link
DW is casting doubt on Guyaido's claim of "widespread support" based on DW's observation that there's very little visible evidence...
Domza , Apr 30, 2019 1:42:33 PM | link jayc , Apr 30, 2019 1:43:40 PM | link
Despite the sanctions, the Lima Group, the OAS, and the relentless public relations stunts, all the self-declared "government" has to show for itself is thirty recruits standing on a bridge. That's a poor result. Maybe all the smart think-tank people who dreamed up the Guaido charade aren't actually so smart, or place too much faith in PR optics as opposed to actual politics. The lack of smarts certainly characterizes the Venezuelan opposition - who would want these people to be in charge of anything?

Credit to Mexico for retaining clearly articulated principles, as displayed at OAS recently.

Miss Lacy , Apr 30, 2019 1:44:03 PM | link
to steve keith # 7 and anitspin # 12 - School of International Atrocities is just right. Remember Haaahvaaad gave us napalm which was field tested in North Korea, along with other such treats as Larry "Garbagemen" Summers, and MacGeorge "Green Ford Foundation" Bundy. " Fight fiercely Harvard, do...." ah yes, and Geo "Is Our Children Learning" Bushboy. Wonderful.

[Apr 30, 2019] What's Driving Bolton's Attacks on the "Troika of Tyranny"? by John Feffer

Apr 30, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

April 26, 2019

Photograph Source: US State Department – Public Domain

If you're in the market for a troika of tyranny, Donald Trump, John Bolton, and Mike Pompeo certainly fit the bill. Or, if you'd rather focus on countries not individuals, you might single out Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt as the three most likely candidates. Perhaps, if you're in a confessional mood, how about Christian fundamentalism, Jewish extremism, and Salafist Wahhabism?

A troika, for those who haven't read any 19th-century Russian novels recently, is a carriage drawn by three horses. So, the ultimate troika of tyranny, from the point of view of the planet as a whole, would feature the three horsemen of the ongoing apocalypse: climate change, nuclear proliferation, and global pandemic.

But no, that's not what National Security Advisor John Bolton had in mind when he talked last week of a "troika of tyranny." In a rehash of a speech he gave in November in Miami , Bolton declared last week that the "troika of tyranny -- Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua -- is beginning to crumble." Further laying on the insults, Bolton called Cuba's Miguel Díaz-Canel, Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro, and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega "the three stooges of socialism."

Ever since George W. Bush included Iraq, Iran, and North Korea in an "axis of evil," speechmakers have been in search of the holy grail of geopolitical matchmaking (for instance, Condoleezza Rice's "outposts of tyranny").

Bush's phrase, which proved so enduring, was an extraordinarily flawed piece of work. The three countries he grouped together had little to no relationship at the time. Iraq and Iran had fought a nearly decade-long war that left them bitter regional rivals. North Korea, which has no ideological affinity to either country, was probably included in the list so that it didn't appear anti-Islamic. This particular axis didn't have a leg to stand on.

Bolton's more alliterative phrase suffers from the same conceptual problems. Worse, it revives an anti-Communist crusade that could easily expand to include North Korea, China, and any left-leaning country (New Zealand?) that makes the mistake of looking at Bolton funny.

A New Monroe Doctrine?

Trump understands the world in terms of three types of leaders. There are the autocrats he like. There are the autocrats he doesn't like. And then there are all the rest: the democrats he doesn't respect.

Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel is one of those autocrats that Trump doesn't like. It's not Díaz-Canel's ideology that rubs the American president the wrong way. After all, Trump has no problem praising China's Xi Jinping or falling in love with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. Rather, Cuba made the unpardonable error of negotiating a détente with Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama. So, by the logic of the Trump administration, Cuba is guilty by association.

Over the last two-plus years, Trump has rolled back the elements of the agreements that the Obama administration negotiated with Cuba that culminated in diplomatic recognition in July 2015. The Trump administration has restricted travel to the country, the amount of money that Cubans in America can remit to their families back home, and the deals that U.S. businesses can negotiate with Cuban counterparts. Also, the administration will now allow U.S. entities to file lawsuits against foreign companies operating on property appropriated by the state after the 1959 revolution.

The Obama policy was all about nudging Cuba in a particular direction. More people-to-people contact would increase the free flow of information. More business deals would encourage the growth of market activities. Meanwhile, unrestricted remittances would help Cubans deal with the myriad difficulties of everyday life.

The Trump administration isn't interested in nudging Cuba in a particular direction. Its punitive measures are designed to encourage regime change, pure and simple. The decision to allow lawsuits to go forward is aimed at scaring off European investors in particular who've been operating in Cuba despite decades of U.S. sanctions and embargo. In response, Spain wants the EU to challenge the new U.S. policy at the World Trade Organization.

Bolton never liked Cuba. When he was undersecretary of state for arms control in the George W. Bush administration, Bolton accused the country of making biological weapons. This accusation came only two months after Bush had inaugurated the "axis of evil," and Bolton was eager to shoehorn Cuba into the new group. But his efforts to designate the Caribbean island a "terrorist threat" -- and prepare the ground for yet another U.S. invasion -- foundered when a congressional investigation turned up no evidence of a biological weapons program in the country.

Now Bolton is excited to have a second chance to group Cuba with two other countries that have fallen afoul of the United States: Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Like the original members of the "axis of evil," they don't have much in common with one another. Cuba is avowedly Marxist in orientation, with a Third World agrarian spin. Venezuela, on the other hand, is a corrupt petro-state led by a leader who calls himself socialist but is really just a klutzy kleptocrat. Then there's Daniel Ortega, who was once a socialist revolutionary but has transformed himself into a Catholic dictator along the lines of Francisco Franco.

None of these countries poses even the remotest threat to the United States. They have dismal human rights records, but that hasn't been a concern for the Trump administration anywhere else in the world.

So, why is Bolton bothering to waste his rhetorical flourishes on the trio? The national security advisor claims that Cuba is propping up Maduro. He hints that Ortega's days are numbered. Is Bolton campaigning to revive what had once been the traditional U.S. approach to Latin America: invasion, occupation, regime change?

After all, his most recent "troika of tyranny" speech was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba on April 17, 1961. And the audience for his speech was similarly chosen with care: the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association.

When it comes to Bolton, war is always a possibility pretty much anywhere in the world. But with the Trump administration focusing most of its wrath against Iran , the "troika of tyranny" speech is probably not the opening salvo of a new, hyper-militarist Monroe Doctrine.

Bolton likely has a longer game plan in mind.

Expanding the Troika

You can almost see the lips beneath the walrus moustache purse in displeasure when Donald Trump shakes hands with Xi Jinping, murmurs sweet nothings to Kim Jong Un, and has quiet confabs with Vladimir Putin.

John Bolton has never concealed his profound antipathy to the current government in North Korea. He wants to rewrite the one-China policy and is willing to use military force against Beijing as part of that effort. As for Russia, Bolton believes that Putin is a liar and Moscow represents a serious long-term strategic threat to the United States.

This, then, is the shadow "troika of tyranny" that John Bolton would roll out in a speech if only Donald Trump's personal predilections didn't get in the way.

But that isn't stopping the national security advisor from carefully preparing the ground to do just that as soon as Trump gets frustrated with Kim, Xi, and/or Putin.

Toward that end, Bolton carefully chose "troika" for his phrase: a Russian word that can later be repurposed to suggest that Moscow is in fact at the root of these problems. And Bolton is hammering away at the "socialist-communist" nature of the three Latin American countries, which will prove enormously useful later on when expanding the troika to include North Korea and China.

In the end, Bolton is after nothing short of a new Cold War.

Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are small countries with no desire or means to attack the United States. North Korea with its nuclear weapons, China with the world's second largest military, and Russia with its geopolitical ambitions, on the other hand, are much worthier adversaries.

Prolonged conflict with these three will keep militarists like Bolton in business for decades. As importantly, Bolton can use these larger confrontations to unravel all international institutions, all forms of international cooperation, in fact anything that smacks of an international community.

With all eyes focused these days on Trump and his myriad crimes, John Bolton's speeches are a reminder that even worse options are waiting in the wings. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: John Feffer

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus , where this article originally appeared.

[Apr 30, 2019] Is Auntie Gina just the titular head of Al-CIA?

Notable quotes:
"... It's the US ruling elite that are the true deplorables. ..."
"... The war on civilization is never a failure for as long as the invader wins. Winning in this case means toppling a government, destabilizing an economy and dividing a population then leaving a country in chaos. It's not a foreign policy failure for the U.S. That is the policy working exactly as intended. All the talk later, where they claim that they had "bad intel" or they "made mistakes" or "miscalculated" is complete bullshit. They know what they're doing. If they didn't, they wouldn't keep doing it over and over in the exact same way. ..."
"... {A titular ruler, or titular head, is a person in an official position of leadership who possesses few, if any, actual powers. Sometimes a person may inhabit a position of titular leadership and yet exercise more power than would normally be expected, as a result of their personality or experience} ? ..."
"... They'd follow the money if they really wanted to end the terrorism. In that regard, bombing Raqqa to hell was sure convenient as USA destroyed all the evidence - or at least they can make that claim. ..."
"... So he gets trotted out just in time to revive the "ISIS threat", and take the blame for various recent funny-smelling terrist attacks, people going to odd places like New Zealand and Sri Lanka to vent their spleens at Muslims and Christians, respectively. I have half-a-suspicion somebody is trying to get a religious war of some sort going. ..."
"... we're talking 1 and a half million dead so far in Iraq and Afghanistan...and that's being conservative. ..."
"... Where? Where was it published? On what platform? Is it really that hard to trace the IPs? Turkey is really determined to get those S-400s. The Empire first threatened to withhold F-35s, then to impose sanctions, then to expel Turkey from NATO, then to move its bases to Greece. Still, Turkey wouldn't budge. Time to deploy some good old terrorism, so that the Empire will be obliged to come in and "help". ..."
"... I have long believed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi actually is associated either with Moss ad or the CIA. That's why he's had so many miracle escapes. That's why they never catch him and often don't even know where he is. And we know that his ISIS never, never attacks Israeli targets or fat Saudi Prince targets. ..."
"... Those would in fact be the targets of choice for any genuine jihad movement. Not Syria or Iraq, which are two states Israel has wanted to harm or eliminate for years. ISIS has always been a fraud, a very complex and deadly one, but a fraud. ..."
"... Many years ago, even before this character posed as a "Syrian rebel" who was photographed meeting with John McCain, he was outed as a Mossad agent by the name of Simon Elliot. ..."
"... Al Jazeera "can't confirm the authenticity of the video." ..."
"... A history of Wahhabism which is a problem for the globe; https://ahtribune.com/religion/155-a-history-of-wahhabism.html The KSA, whose ass the empire kisses daily, is the main funder for these clowns. ..."
Apr 30, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

shaw , Apr 29, 2019 2:43:54 PM | link

What's the Wonder my dear?
Duh!
He is in CIA safe house in Al-Anbar.

ISI is looking for this CIA's "Patsy" hide out. Watch this space, he has blood of 14 Pakistani soldiers on his hands via Iran hit. We will end this MOSSAD Agent.

Sally Snyder , Apr 29, 2019 2:45:43 PM | link

As shown in this article, statistics show that the War on Terror has been a colossal failure:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/03/global-terrorism-and-failure-of-war-on.html

The one hundred thousand people that died in Iraq and Afghanistan due to terrorist activities would certainly agree that the trillions of dollars that have been spent on the War on Terror has done very little to remove the spectre of terrorist activities from their homes, cities and nations.

CD Waller , Apr 29, 2019 3:06:16 PM | link
Are we sure the man in the film is Bahgdadi?

Sally Snyder: The war on terror is a war of terror and in that sense, though morally reprehensible and costly, has been success. Regime change and the destabilization of the Middle East has been the goal.

It's the US ruling elite that are the true deplorables.

Fantome , Apr 29, 2019 3:09:31 PM | link
@Sally Snyder[2]:

War on terror was the war on an entire civilization. Association/Replacement of the word terror was just for the public consumption. It's a simple strategy that makes the aggressors appear like the good guys who are there to defend themselves or the values they hold.

The war on civilization is never a failure for as long as the invader wins. Winning in this case means toppling a government, destabilizing an economy and dividing a population then leaving a country in chaos. It's not a foreign policy failure for the U.S. That is the policy working exactly as intended. All the talk later, where they claim that they had "bad intel" or they "made mistakes" or "miscalculated" is complete bullshit. They know what they're doing. If they didn't, they wouldn't keep doing it over and over in the exact same way.

War on the civilizations yields massive benefits. It's the shortcoming of the model of the western civilization that it continuously requires massive input that can't be achieved by the legal means of business and trade.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 29, 2019 3:19:34 PM | link
One wonders whose guest he is

Auntie Gina the tit ular head of Al-CIA-duh/ Al Qaeda/ ISIS?

{A titular ruler, or titular head, is a person in an official position of leadership who possesses few, if any, actual powers. Sometimes a person may inhabit a position of titular leadership and yet exercise more power than would normally be expected, as a result of their personality or experience} ?

Jackrabbit , Apr 29, 2019 3:26:14 PM | link
They'd follow the money if they really wanted to end the terrorism. In that regard, bombing Raqqa to hell was sure convenient as USA destroyed all the evidence - or at least they can make that claim.
Bemildred , Apr 29, 2019 3:35:23 PM | link
So he gets trotted out just in time to revive the "ISIS threat", and take the blame for various recent funny-smelling terrist attacks, people going to odd places like New Zealand and Sri Lanka to vent their spleens at Muslims and Christians, respectively. I have half-a-suspicion somebody is trying to get a religious war of some sort going.

They don't seem to be having that much success with getting that war going, so I expect the attacks will go on.

john , Apr 29, 2019 4:20:19 PM | link
Sally Snyder says:

The one hundred thousand people that died in Iraq and Afghanistan due to terrorist activities...

look sister, we can't do much about the state of things, but we can at least relay a realistic account of the extent of the atrocity

we're talking 1 and a half million dead so far in Iraq and Afghanistan...and that's being conservative.

S , Apr 29, 2019 4:22:24 PM | link
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, self declared caliph of ISIS, appeared in new video published today.

Where? Where was it published? On what platform? Is it really that hard to trace the IPs? Turkey is really determined to get those S-400s. The Empire first threatened to withhold F-35s, then to impose sanctions, then to expel Turkey from NATO, then to move its bases to Greece. Still, Turkey wouldn't budge. Time to deploy some good old terrorism, so that the Empire will be obliged to come in and "help".

frances , Apr 29, 2019 4:30:55 PM | link
From zerohedge's comments, both links worth a read:

preying mantis posted

who's your real daddy, Baghdadi?

Jackrabbit , Apr 29, 2019 5:06:26 PM | link
S @17: Time to deploy some good old terrorism ...

Erdogan knows what he's dealing with, his government used to be a member of the conspiracy.

This move by Baghdadi could backfire in a big way.

Got my popcorn ready.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , Apr 29, 2019 5:09:27 PM | link

I have long believed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi actually is associated either with Moss ad or the CIA. That's why he's had so many miracle escapes. That's why they never catch him and often don't even know where he is. And we know that his ISIS never, never attacks Israeli targets or fat Saudi Prince targets.

Those would in fact be the targets of choice for any genuine jihad movement. Not Syria or Iraq, which are two states Israel has wanted to harm or eliminate for years. ISIS has always been a fraud, a very complex and deadly one, but a fraud.

Laskarina , Apr 29, 2019 5:13:11 PM | link
Many years ago, even before this character posed as a "Syrian rebel" who was photographed meeting with John McCain, he was outed as a Mossad agent by the name of Simon Elliot.

The guy in recent picture looks like one of Rita Katz's actors.

Walter , Apr 29, 2019 6:01:01 PM | link
It is a show to threaten Turkey with the same as Sri Lanka (where they refine lots of Iranian crude...and more...look it up). Many ties to Iran/Sri Lanka....and to Turkey. Typical nazi thugs....bribes, arson, dynamite...and patsies...in this case maybe mossad actor? Why not> Cui Bono?

As to the locus of the actor? Paramount? Warner Bros? Probably not. Does it matter?

They're parading a ringer...don't fall for the gag. Erdo won't fall for it either.

Curtis , Apr 29, 2019 6:08:06 PM | link
Baghdadi has nice toys by his side and not just the AK-47 with the camo bit over the barrel. It looks like a camo case on night vision gear (or vidcam?) just below that, too. To quote the Joker: "Where does he get those wonderful toys?"

Ahh a new game of "where in the world is ..." except instead of bin Laden (or his stand-in) the guest in Pakistan living near a military base we have Baghdadi. Maybe Baghdadi lives in that area, too. (awaiting his execution for the media and masses). I doubt it though. I'm thinking Turkey or even Saudi Arabia.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 29, 2019 6:08:52 PM | link
...
This move by Baghdadi could backfire in a big way.
Got my popcorn ready.
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 29, 2019 5:06:26 PM | 19

It does seem unnecessarily cheeky/ fishy. If 'they' had fiendishly brilliant plan, why wouldn't they'd just do it and leave it to the intel wonks to figure out what went wrong? It's big news in the J-C International media. Al Jazeera "can't confirm the authenticity of the video."

ben , Apr 29, 2019 9:18:09 PM | link
A history of Wahhabism which is a problem for the globe; https://ahtribune.com/religion/155-a-history-of-wahhabism.html The KSA, whose ass the empire kisses daily, is the main funder for these clowns.

[Apr 28, 2019] The Real Men Go to Tehran delusion

Apr 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 28, 2019 3:54:57 AM | link

Considering that this 'study' is an overblown version of the Real Men Go to Tehran delusion (which is STILL in the pondering phase) it's hard to ignore the trepidation revealed in an assessment divided into pseudo business-like categories of...

1. Likelihood of Success
2. Benefits
3. Costs & Risks

...when there are sufficient unresolved uncertainties to be fine-tuned to keep this plan bogged down in the pondering phase for even longer than the unconsummated Real Men Go To Iran nothing-burger.

[Apr 28, 2019] The top five special interests groups and institutions that seek to benefit from a coup in Venezuela

Apr 28, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

April 16, 2019 globinfo freexchange

As the US continues to attack the Maduro government, keep these special interests in mind. Think about who gets rich off of the regime-change agenda. It's the same people that said we had to invade Iraq in order to prevent nuclear apocalypse. It's the same people who said the world would stop turning on its axis if we didn't carpet bomb Libya and Syria.

Now they're trying to get us to support war in Venezuela. You won't be any freer or more prosperous after the Maduro government is toppled. It's just war propaganda.

Saddle the Venezuelan people with enormous debt to the IMF

The trojan horse for the return of neoliberalism in Venezuela, Juan Guaido, stated that he's going to borrow money from the IMF to fund his government, which would make all Venezuelans indebted to this predatory institution. Guaido spends the money and the poor and working people work to pay taxes that pay off the principal and the interest.

The IMF was created in New Hampshire in 1945 to internationalize and standardize capitalism and its rules in an increasingly globalized and US-dominated world.

Its primary function is acting as an international lender-of-last-resort to indebted countries. IMF member states decide which countries will receive loans, but the member states with the largest say are the ones with the largest share of the IMF's funds, which have always been the United States and its allies.

This is why the IMF's standard "structural adjustment program" is based on the so-called Washington Consensus. A set of 10 economic policies entirely concocted by US think tanks, the IMF, the World Bank and the Treasury Department.

The Washington Consensus is as follows:

In exchange for a loan, often with a high-interest rate that many would call predatory, the IMF overhauls the protective and redistributive policies of a country for neoliberal policies, making the target country ripe for finance capital investment and profit-making.

Control the oil reserves

There's little doubt that the oil industry is pushing the US to overthrow the Maduro government, especially when John Bolton openly states this on national television.

Bolton was himself once part of the oil industry, serving as the director of Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. in 2007. So, he is no stranger to advocating for the interests of the fossil-fuel industry.

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world by far and Washington won't let that wealth go unexploited, or worse, be shared among its enemies like the Maduro government, Russia, China, or Iran.

And with so many politicians, Republican and Democratic, bought off by industry players -- companies like ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and Chevron -- it's impossible to imagine anyone in Washington advocating for Venezuela maintaining ownership over its own sovereign natural resources.

Establish military dominance and arm your puppet

One of the most bizarre things about America is that it created one of the world's largest private industries around arms dealing. And like any industry, whether it be JDAM bombs or beef, private businesses often resort to lobbying Congress to squeeze political favors out of the government in the form of subsidies. Or, in the case of the military industrial complex, a foreign policy of endless war, one based on elusive ideas like combating terrorism or defending democracy.

You can see that wherever the US goes, expensive construction projects follow. Behind every multi-billion dollar base construction, some private contractor is there reaping the profits.

Once the US military presence is firmly established, the weapons sales begin. And we all know no US ally, or puppet state, is complete without a full fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s. Then they'll be able to fend off all of those pesky leftist rebels with freedom missiles.

With Venezuela's neighbors, Colombia and Brazil, growing closer to NATO and accepting US military presence in their countries, we can only assume Venezuela is Washington's next target.

As the strategic approach of regime change evolves, new industries arise to meet these needs.

After the massive anti-war protests following the invasion of Iraq, outright invasion and occupation were no longer viable strategies due to negative public opinion. Washington sought to disguise war propaganda using humanitarian rhetoric.

Create the humanitarian alibi

Privately owned NGOs dedicated to human rights and promoting "American style" democracy have played a much larger role in regime-change operations in recent years. They serve as soft-power institutions, which attempt to subtly sway a population against its own government through propaganda laced with words like 'freedom', 'democracy', and 'human rights'.

These NGOs are given the full blessing of the US government and the two often work in tandem.

The US Agency for International Development's regime-change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), funded opposition groups in Nicaragua, Venezuela (during the 2002 coup), Haiti, Ukraine, and most recently China and North Korea. And whenever US foreign policy sets its sights on a certain target, private industries usually develop to help meet that goal as well as make a quick buck along the way.

For example, Thor Halvorssen -- the first cousin of Leopoldo Lopez, the founder of Juan Guaido's party, Popular Will -- calls himself a human-rights activist. He founded the notorious Human Rights Foundation (HRF) and makes a living giving speeches and TV appearances, talking about why the governments of Venezuela or North Korea are not legitimate and need to be overthrown.

Unsurprisingly, the HRF is funded by the conservative Sarah Scaife Foundation, which is itself funded by think tanks like the top neoconservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, as well as the Heritage Foundation. HRF is also funded by the Donors Capital Fund and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, which are also funded by the American Enterprise Institute. It's one big web of moving money that all leads back to the same cast of characters.

The crisis in Venezuela has been a huge gift for people like Halvorssen, who use the US's war on Venezuela to promote themselves and their organizations.

Buy the facts from the think tanks funded by the Military Industrial Complex

Like NGOs, think tanks also play an important role in giving regime change a sense of legitimacy -- in their case, intellectual legitimacy. Think tanks rely on donations to operate and many find willing donors among the capitalist class. These fat cats pay for fancy looking reports meant to justify their desired goal: the delegitimization of socialist governments and the legitimization of coup governments that uphold the Washington Consensus.

The Cato Institute has been deeply involved in the attempted overthrow of the Venezuelan government. In 2008, Cato awarded Venezuelan opposition leader, Yon Goicoechea, the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty and $500,000 for his role in disrupting a constitutional referendum in Venezuela. That money was used to finance the political rise of Juan Guaido, and his clique known as Generation 2007.

These seemingly independent research groups have intimate networks that they leverage to amplify the message their donors have given them.

Whether it was the bank bailouts following the 2008 crisis, or the lack of action on climate disaster, in America it seems the government always puts the interests of the rich ahead of the poor and working class, and the situation in Venezuela is no different.

More:

http://content.jwplatform.com/players/ufxBptWt-YuKiCfZc.html

[Apr 24, 2019] It's complete fiction that the US is going after Venezuelan oil so as to confront Iran.

Notable quotes:
"... Plenty of people still fool themselves into believing Trump has been captured by the deep state and is only going along with them to stay alive. Bunk. Ever since Trump sat in the power chair he willingly joined the deep state. He's even going one further and his goal is a one world government led by the US. He knows the American populace won't condone a new war so his weapons are sanctions, the dollar, and trade wars. All viable tools as long as the US continues to control the financial system. ..."
Apr 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

snedly arkus , Apr 24, 2019 4:06:05 PM | link

It's complete fiction that the US is going after Venezuelan oil so as to confront Iran. If Maduro goes so does Venezuela as civil war erupts and spreads to other countries. No oil company is going to put itself and it's employees in such a danger zone.

It is also complete fiction that Trump was against going after Venezuela as he has been on them almost from day one and every time Trump announces more sanctions or makes threats he's as giddy as a kid in a candy store and relishes handing out the pain. In one of his latest speeches to a gathering of the faithful he not only gleefully stomped on Venezuela but also announced the US is going to overthrow the governments of Cuba and Nicaragua.

Trump was barely in office when the US undid the efforts by Obama to normalize relations with Cuba and as of the first of the year put sanctions on Nicaragua.

This after NED and USAID last summer brought radicals from Nicaragua to DC for training in riots and rabble rousing. Which they did after returning home. In his speech Trump claimed that by overthrowing those governments this hemisphere will be the "only totally free hemisphere in the world". If the plan was to get Venezuelan oil so as to shut off Iran the US would have supported Maduro, Venezuela is no danger to US security, and offered to send in the best engineers to get the oil industry rolling. The US is now sanctioning the tankers so as to cut off even more revenue to Venezuela and deprive Cuba of oil.

Plenty of people still fool themselves into believing Trump has been captured by the deep state and is only going along with them to stay alive. Bunk. Ever since Trump sat in the power chair he willingly joined the deep state. He's even going one further and his goal is a one world government led by the US. He knows the American populace won't condone a new war so his weapons are sanctions, the dollar, and trade wars. All viable tools as long as the US continues to control the financial system.

If the US does attack Iran it will be a Libya affair using only air power to cripple them and cause internal chaos.

[Apr 23, 2019] Mapping The Countries With The Most Oil Reserves

Apr 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Benito_Camela , 33 minutes ago link

" Venezuela tops the list with 300.9 billion barrels of oil in reserve – but even this vast wealth in natural resources has not been enough to save the country from its recent economic and humanitarian crisis."

LOL, good one. It's BECAUSE of their vast wealth that they cannot operate a country free of external interference, internal sabotage and the world's biggest bully attacking its electrical generation and grid. We can't have a successful socialist economy with THAT much oil, now, can we? And while Maduro did make some mistakes with the economy, it wasn't enough to bring about this "economic and humanitarian crisis." No, that level of shitstorm requires the intervention of the Yoo Nited States of America and "experts" on the region like Elliot Abrams (why isn't he in jail again? Oh yeah never mind, two systems of law in this country) and Mike Pom-Pom-Peon.

If the U.S. hadn't attempted coup after coup after coup, and actually let Venezuela's little experiment in Chavismo socialism play out on its own, we'd probably be seeing a South American version of Libya - at one time the richest country in Africa with healthcare for everyone - before France and the Yooo Nited States decided to destroy it. Of course it's too much to ask for a blog called "Visual Capitalist" to acknowledge this, and it's also pretty much par for the course with the sour right who comes to ZH for their daily fix of liberal bashing and rah, rah America is great! And so are (((they))). Of course.

https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14263

Benito_Camela , 20 minutes ago link

You're way out of your depth on this topic. You wouldn't be able to point to a single thing that Maduro did which would have had long-lasting consequences such as what we are seeing now. Total moron - the Venezuelan masses wealth was stolen by the landed former Spanish colonialists and their offspring, who then were given all the good oil leases, and bailed on the country (sabotaged it on their way out - along with the food supply) as Chavez started giving wealth BACK to the masses. You know NOTHING about Venezuela and like many other things you parade around pretending to be some kind of expert while you're just a typical zionist moron.

The US and our buddies have been cutting VZ off from any external capital, but more importantly FREEZING their assets and preventing them from accessing THEIR OWN gold. If that was happening to one of our so-called allies, we'd be calling it THEFT. You idiot.

But let's play - find me a source that backs your assertions. Point to paragraph and sentence where your claims are laid out clearly for all to see. How did Maduro COMPLETELY **** up Venezuela? Your turn...

Benito_Camela , 19 minutes ago link

The Bolivarian Revolution, a series of economic and social reforms that dramatically reduced poverty and illiteracy while greatly improving health and other living conditions for millions of Venezuelans, drew worldwide acclaim. The reforms, which included nationalizing key components of the nation's economy as part of an agenda of socialist uplift, made Chávez a hero to millions of people and the enemy of Venezuela's oligarchs. The exportation of the Bolivarian Revolution, which included forging stronger, more peaceful inter-American relations and even the provision of free home heating oil for hundreds of thousands of needy people in the United States, made Chávez a marked man in Washington.

The administration of George W. Bush -- whom Chávez infamously called "the devil" in a speech before the United Nations -- backed a failed military coup against Chávez in 2002. The attempted coup was closely linked to prominent neoconservatives including Elliott Abrams , the disgraced Iran-Contra criminal who played a key role in covering up massacres committed by US-backed death squads in Central America and Otto Reich, a staunch supporter of Cuban exile terrorists who have killed at least hundreds of innocent men, women and children throughout the Americas. Two key coup plotters, Army commander Efraín Vasquez and Gen. Ramirez Poveda, were trained at the US Army School of the Americas. The coup briefly ousted Chávez but loyalist forces and popular support restored his rule 47 hours later.

Barack Obama continued Bush's policy of demonizing Chávez, whose government he called "authoritarian." This, despite the fact that former president Jimmy Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work at the election-monitoring Carter Center, called Venezuela's election process "the best in the world." In 2015, Obama declared Venezuela an "extraordinary threat to national security," a bewildering assertion considering the country has never started a war in its history. The United States, on the other hand, has intervened in, attacked, invaded or occupied Latin American and Caribbean nations more than 50 times and, as Obama spoke, the US military was busy bombing seven countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. For decades, successive US administrations have also lavished Venezuela's neighbor Colombia -- which has been condemned for its government and paramilitary death squad massacres and deadly corporate-backed crackdowns on indigenous peoples and workers -- with billions upon billions of dollars in military and economic aid.

Benito_Camela , 17 minutes ago link

How would they reinstate that "talent" if it was being blocked and bribed not to go to Venezuela by....you know who?

Chavez purged the firm because it was the same rich elites running it and threatening to use it as a form of blackmail.

Failure to regrow human capital base? Is that a repeat of what you just said about PDVSA? What does that even mean?

What about the US sanctions, freezing of their access to their own money, coup attempts, sabotage, the rich cutting off the food supply chain, etc? Which of these things contributed more to the current state of VZ?

Benito_Camela , 15 minutes ago link

Here's a good resource to counter the lies/propaganda you've read:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/01/sorting-through-the-lies-about-venezuela/

President Chávez had to withstand three successive attempts to remove him -- the 2002 coup, 2002-03 bosses' lockout and the 2004 recall referendum. Five times he was elected president, never with less than 55 percent of the vote, and overall he won 16 of 17 elections and referendums in which his movement participated. The election system put in place by the Chávez government was declared by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's Carter Center to be " the best in the world ." None of this prevented the late president from being furiously denounced as a "dictator."

and

Government officials have repeatedly discovered vast quantities of consumer goods hidden in warehouses by local capitalists who are artificially causing shortages.

re: PDVSA

The latest, issued on January 28, freezes all property and interests of PDVSA subject to U.S. jurisdiction -- in other words, blocking Venezuela from any access to the profits generated by PDVSA's U.S. subsidiary, Citgo, or any PDVSA activities in the United States. The Trump administration expects Venezuela to lose US$11 billion this year, The New York Times reports.

and Maduro being a "dictator"

President Maduro is repeatedly called a "dictator," an epithet endless repeated across the corporate media. But when a portion of the opposition boycotts, can it be a surprise that the incumbent wins? The opposition actually asked the United Nations to not send observers , a sure sign that they expected to lose a fair election despite their claims that the election would be rigged. Nonetheless, a coalition of Canadian unions, church leaders and other officials declared the election to be "a transparent, secure, democratic and orderly electoral and voting process."

So yeah, you're on the same side of this issue as Barack Obama, George Soros and Hillary Kkklinton. Hope you're happy with that company.

[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