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Trump version of gangster capitalism in foreign policy: Shoot-first-ask-questions-later

Tomahawk salvo in Syria, deployment of anti-missile system in South Korea directed against China (under smoke screen of hysteria about North Korea rocket launches), and deployment of additional troops in Afghanistan is a strange start for former (at least during Presidential campaign)  isolationist;
Trump looks more and and more like Hillary in disguise...

News American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Recommended Links Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Syria civil war Korea saber-rattling Reversal of planned detente with Russia Trump after his Colin Powell moment
New American Militarism Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism History of American False Flag Operations Betrayal_of_Michael Flynn Ambush of Russian Su-24 over Syria Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Hillary role in Syria bloodbath and first "sarin based" false flag attack
 Obama: a yet another Neocon Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Machiavellism False flag operations as important part of demonization of the enemy strategy Civil war in Ukraine Leo Straus as the godfather of neocons Nulandgate Hillary role in Libya disaster
Torture as an instrument of social control US Presidential Elections of 2016  Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Anti-Russian hysteria Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Etc
  Trump isn’t just flirting with World War III, he’s inviting it. He wants everyone to know that he’s crazy enough to pull the trigger; thinks it’ll help him twist some arms, thinks he can force the big boys to negotiate.

Trump I told Chinese president about Syria airstrikes over dessert TheHill

"Making America first" without isolationalism is essentially the same as US-style "Deutschland Uber Alles" -- a neocon foreign policy with extreme version of nationalism instead of the idea of building global neoliberal empire led by the USA as the only difference. Even though the 1871 meaning of  "Deutschland Uber Alles" was of "Unity, not division, of German states" when the Nazi used it, they gave it the meaning of world domination by military conquest.   Similar things are now happening with "make America Great again" slogan.

The actual content of Trump foreign policy became the same as the dream of US neocons - an unending  and expensive fight for the global empire dominated by the USA as the sole superpower.  With the only difference that in Nazi interpretation that included exterminating certain Undermensch people because of their nationality (Slavs, Jews, Gypsies).  Add  to this Nikki Haley at UN (she is a typical neocon, no questions about it) and the differences with Obama administration by-and-large disappear. Moreover some minor differences that exist are in favor of Obama administrations.

After Trump's 180 degrees reversal and launching Syria rocket attack (which is attack of sovereign nation and as such represents a war crime) Trump positioned himself as typical neocon. The same is true about Trump position on Yemen, so this is not an accidental change of policy.  Not that different from Hillary Clinton.  trump actions were instantly lauded as bipartisan! The Neoliberal, Neocon, corporate alliance has come out of the closet, in a  show of war mongering solidarity.

Before he was elected, he has only one war hawk "point": Saber rattling against Iran. May be two (Iran+Korea). Now he is all over the place with essentially the same level of bellicosity as Hillary Clinton.  Here are signs of his 180  degrees  turn in foreign policy:

  1. Appeasing Israel
  2. Attack of Assad forces in Syria. There was no investigation, not even a hack job to frame Assad up like Bush II did in 2003 with Colin Powell UN address. Trump himself spoke out against the airstrikes in 2013. He demanded a formal declaration of war by congress “unconstitutional if not”. Pointed out just how stupid and destructive such a decision would be…
  3. Cooperation with KSA in Yemen war
  4. Implicit cooperation with al Qaeda in Syria.
  5. Saber rattling with North Korea.
  6. Troops increase of Afghanistan without clear policy goal ("kick the can down the road"). Rumors are that Trump wants to exploit Afghanistan mineral riches to offset the costs, but  rocks are heavy and roads are bad and controlled by  Taliban.
  7. Elimination from the administration people who were countervailing force against neocon influence (such as Bannon).

Here are a couple of comments from Asia Times

Maziar Khoshsima Apr 13, 2017 3:14pm
There are so many "petty dictators" in the Middle-East, I wander why all the concentration is on the removal of Assad by US and its allies. Is it not because:
  1. Although Saudi and (Persian) Gulf Arab dictators are worse than Assad in all aspects, it is of the interest of US to protect these dictators.
  2. US policy solidified by Bush II was articulated beautifully and honestly as “either you are with us or against us.” That means either you serve my interest or the consequence will be your destruction and removal.
  3. Arab dictators serve US interest so in return there will be a guarantee that they will be protected by mafia boss, namely US.
  4. Main US partner, Western Europe is also the share holder in this so called humanitarian endeavor to bring peace and stability in the Middle East. Whereas the truth is mafia boss and its Western gang are after exploitation of the neighborhood while they have traitors who work for them (Turkey and Arab dictators)
  5. Why Assad? Well, Assad is Nuisance to Israel’s expansion. He opposed Israel contrary to Turkish and Arab beggars who constantly lick the rear end’s hole of the Jewish State.
  6. Assad helped Iran to block Israel from further atrocities in Lebanon and hopefully in Palestine.
  7.  could go on and on. It is the story of Western domination and exploitation were it is being collaborated by Turk and Arab traitors so that like dogs, a loaf of bread somehow will be thrown at them by their master and owner, USA.
Mofakkerul Islam · Police Lines School & College, Rangpur
This bastard dog is one-eyed.He can only see the crime of ASAD not others in the ME.

The best analysis of Trump betrayal ("tuning of dime") in foreign policy  (which means betrayal of his voters in best style of the "king of bait and switch" Obama) was done by Justin Raymondo:

Behind Trump’s Syria Turnabout

Trump came into office touting his “America First agenda,” disdaining NATO, and asking “Why is it a bad thing to get along with Russia?” He told us he abjured “regime change” and held up Libya as an example of bad policy. Now he’s turned on a dime, bombing Syria, and welcoming tiny (and troubled) Montenegro into NATO. His intelligence agencies are even accusing Russia of having advance knowledge of the alleged chemical attack in Syria (although the White House disputed that after it got out). And all this in the first one hundred days!

How did this happen? It’s easy to explain, once you understand that there is no such thing as foreign policy: all policy is domestic.

That’s the core principle at the heart of what I call “libertarian realism,” the overarching theory – if such a grandiose term can be applied to what is simply common sense – that explains what is happening on the world stage at any particular moment. And there is no better confirmation of this principle than the recent statement by Eric Trump, the President’s son, who said: “If there was anything that Syria [strike] did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie.”

Oh yes, and Ivanka was “heartbroken” – and so it was incumbent upon the President to change course, break a major campaign promise, and declare via his Secretary of State that “Assad must go.”

Got it.

Trump’s Syrian turnabout is clearly a response to the coordinated attack launched on his presidency by the combined efforts of the Deep State, the media, the Democrats, and the McCain-Graham-neocon wing of the GOP – a campaign that still might destroy him, despite his capitulation to the War Party.

Vladimir Putin has likened the current Syria imbroglio to what happened in Iraq, with claims of “weapons of mass destruction” and a war fought on the basis of false intelligence, but there is one major difference: this time, the bombing came first, with the “evidence” an afterthought. You’ll recall that in the run up to the invasion of Iraq there was an extended and quite elaborate propaganda campaign designed to make the case for war. Now, however, that process has been reversed: bombing first, “evidence” later.

Speaking of which, Bloomberg national security reporter Eli Lake tells us that the US is about to release a “dossier” explaining the rationale for the Syria strike: it is “short on specific intelligence” but long on “its refutation of Russian disinformation.” As in the case of the “Russian interference in the election” narrative, we’ll doubtless be told that protecting “sources and methods” precludes us peons from seeing the actual “intelligence.” Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do and die, as the old saw goes: but is that – not to mention the moral imperative of safeguarding Ivanka’s fragile emotional state – really enough to justify a 180-degree shift in US foreign policy?

The real significance of this “dossier” has little to do with justifying the Syria strike insofar as actual evidence of Assad’s alleged crime is concerned, and more with signaling to the heretofore hostile “intelligence community’ and political actors in the US that the days of President Trump trying to achieve détente with Russia are over. As Lake points out:

“But it is really the report’s condemnation of the Russian response that is most striking. Trump has sought to reset the relationship with Moscow, as President Barack Obama hoped to do in 2009 and 2010. Now, one U.S. official tells me, Russian officials in phone calls with their Trump administration counterparts repeated in private the same propaganda lines their government was issuing in public. ‘That has led to a lot of frustration at the highest levels of the government,’ this official said.“

Translation: Forget getting along with Russia – just call off your bloodhounds.

We now have Putin warning that more “provocations” are in store, with some pretty specific details supplied. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least, but we’ll have to wait and see if that pans out. In the meantime, however, three factors are percolating in the mix:

  1. Our spooks, not content with having turn around of  the Trump administration on Syria policy, won’t let up on the alleged “Russian foreknowledge” angle. These guys mean business.
  2. The previously stalled effort to overthrow Assad by funding and arming the Islamist savages championed by McCain, Graham, & Co. will recommence, with some success, and
  3. The campaign to smear Trump as a Kremlin tool will continue, unabated, with both the House and Senate investigations barreling full speed ahead, with plenty of help from the “former intelligence officials.” They aren’t about to let Trump off the hook quite so easily.

What all this shows is how far removed the making of US foreign policy is from actual facts on the ground, and the rational calculation of American interests. What it all comes back to is how it serves the political interests of those in power – and those who aspire after power. Facts have nothing to do with it except insofar as they can be manipulated – or created – so as to fit a preexisting agenda.

There are very few good arguments for striking out at the Syrian government. One of the pseudo-credible ones is that the use of sarin and other similar weapons, if allowed to go unpunished, would hurt our legitimate interests, since their use would then become pandemic. The riposte is that anyone who would even consider using such weapons is not likely to be deterred by US retaliation, no matter how swift.

In any case, this raises the question: did Bashar al-Assad drop sarin gas on a bunch of civilians at Idlib? Despite the rush to judgment, we don’t know the answer to that question, but several factors make it unlikely. He was winning the civil war, and this, if you’ll pardon the expression, seems like overkill. Furthermore, for years the Syrian rebels have been doing their damnedest to frame Assad for just such a heinous crime in order to provoke US intervention on their behalf, to little avail – until now. Their record speaks for itself.

If indeed Assad is guilty, then it’s conceivable – although I would disagree – that one could make an argument for a one-off warning strike. Yet that is not what we’re seeing at all: already, Secretary of State Tillerson is echoing that old Obama-Clinton slogan, “Assad must go.” This isn’t a one-off: it’s a complete reversal of what candidate Trump said he’d do once in office.

As I said in my last column, the silver lining is that many of Trump’s prominent supporters – and former supporters – are waking up to the importance of non-interventionism as one of the pillars of “Trump_vs_deep_state.” Their former hero’s betrayal is putting them on a learning curve – and the best of them will come out the other side with a new awareness of what “America First” really means.

On the other hand, we are going to have to live with the consequences of this terrible turnabout – not all of which are readily apparent, and none of which redound to the benefit of the United States and its citizens. 

Here is a couple of comments from Guardian:

Robert Rudolph 12 Apr 2017 17:40

Instead, the western powers have followed the example cited by Machiavelli: "in order to prove their liberality, they allowed Pistoia to be destroyed."

... ... ...

Cedar

In late 2015, Eren Erdem, a Turkish MP, said in Parliament that the Turkish state was permitting Da'esh to send sarin precursors to Syria. He had a file of evidence, so was accused of treason for accessing and publicising confidential material. The investigation into the people responsible for the transfer of toxic chemicals was shut down.

That surely ought to make us at least ask evidence-seeking questions about the Idlib gas attack before yet again demanding regime change.

Al-Assad is certainly capable of murdering opponents, and not bothering too much about collateral damage, but strategically it makes no sense for him to do this now, when peace talks under the aegis of Russia and Iran have begun, and the world is watching. Also, Assad has been engaged in a reconciliation process, allowing members of the FSA to return to the Syrian army, and Aleppans remain in Damascus if they didn't wish to go to Idlib. At such a juncture, using chemical weapons would be counter-productive. If Sarin was used at his command, he should be properly prosecuted: but bombing a Syrian air base merely assists Da'esh and its cronies.

unsouthbank

I have just watched the press conference in which Trump labelled Assad a butcher, and went on again about dead babies. I just wish that someone at one of these conferences would have the guts to point out to Trump his own butchery. Anyone watching this performance would think that US forces had never been responsible for killing innocent civilians, men, women, children and babies. To listen to Trump, you wouldn't think that US forces had ever killed over 150 civilians in Mosul, dozens in Raqqa, or had bombed hospitals in Afghanistan, or schools in Iraq, or were supporting the Saudi blockade of Yemen resulting in the starvation of children and babies, or had destroyed wedding parties with drones,.....I could go on. If Assad is a butcher, he is only a junior, apprentice, corner-shop butcher. Trump is the real thing, the large-scale, wholesale, expert butcher.

The attack on Syrian airbase without any serious investigation, done purely as PR stunt (as somebody called it "military twit"). Which was probably dictated by desperation from unrelenting attacks of neocons and globalists along the lines "Trump is the Russian agent".  Trump witch hung became the pasture of Democratic Party, which during Hillary Clinton campaign successfully converted itself into the second War Party, competing with Republicans in jingoism "on equals"..

Now after Syria was hit with tomahawks neocons and subservant to them MSM like CNN and MCNBC (with this despicable military-industrial complex pressitute Rachel Maddow really excited about this attack) are happy and are less Trump problem.  But political calculation directed on making peace with neocon "at any cost" have consequences for Trump.

It is clear to everybody that Trump bowed to NeoCon pressure. He was supposed to be different. But then so was Obama. 300,000 people have died in Syria during Obama presidency. Were deaths of those killed by bombs and bullets any less tragic? Who is funding, arming and supporting ISIS? Are not those countries America allies?

So it is logical to assume that Trump "retaliation" was not about dead children. It was a signal to allies such as Turkey and KSA that the course is unchanged and  the USA will continue to pursue anti Assad/Iran/Russia policy in the region, no matter what will be the costs.  Again, 300,000 have died already under Novel Peace winner who initiated this Syrian quagmire and destabilized yet another ME country. All according to PNAC plan. 

First of all Trump voters have memory. On April 6 he might completely lost anti-war right, which was an important part of his base. As well as a large part of paleoconservatives. To say nothing that his administration demonstrated absolute, utter incompetence dealing with Obamacare. 

Russians also have memory. They still remember the stunts the US pulled under Reagan, Bush I and Clinton. Especially attempts to dismember the country and convert it into vassal state under Clinton,  using corrupt puppet regime of drunken Yeltsin and his neoliberal "advisors" from Harvard  as a tool (aka economic rape of Russia).  Of course after being weakened to the standard of living dropped to $1 a day per person -- the level of object poverty.  all due to Harvard "friends" like Sachs ( see Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia.)  Russia needs time to recuperate and restore its economics. So it is not interested is premature skirmishes with Uncle Sam.

This is the age of disinformation. Even facts prevented via video can be false as vidio now id often staged. As in all similar recent events there are more questions then answers in this story. http://www.dw.com/en/is-assad-to-blame-for-the-chemical-weapons-attack-in-syria/a-38330217

General context:

Only few undisputed facts are know about Khan Sheikhoun attack

The "known unknown" area is much larger.  Even basic facts are disputed  (was it "sarin"; was it air attack of munitions depot explosion? what is staged event (aka false flag operation) or a blunder by Assad forces which accidentally hit chemical depot in a school or close to a school.  Here is attempt to collect the most interesting questions about this event that I have found in various forums (collected from foreign sources, mostly from British and German): 

  1. Is not unilateral military intervention in a sovereign country that does not threaten the USA constituting an act of aggression, a war crime by the UN statute? Or, as an exceptional nation, the USA is above the UN...

  2. How can journalists and Western diplomats be so lacking in the desire or ability to question what they are told? http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2017/04/its-wmd-all-over-again-why-dont-you-see-it-.html, The Kremlin issued a statement saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin found it "unacceptable to make groundless accusations against anyone without conducting a detailed and unbiased investigation."

  3. Cue bono?  Effectively the USA acted as Al Nustra (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Nusra_Front) air force. Which promptly initiated an attack on government forces in Palmira.  Does this means that the USA foreign policy in Syria is now aligned with Gulf monarchies policy and Israeli policies of dismembering this country and establishing a permanent Al Nusra Caliphate on the part of the territory as well as  possibly Kurdish enclave ?  The Syrian regime may not have had a compelling motive, believes Günther Meyer, the director of the Research Center for the Arab World at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. "Only armed opposition groups could profit from an attack with chemical weapons," he told DW. "With their backs against the wall, they have next to no chance of opposing the regime militarily. As President [Donald] Trump's recent statements show, such actions make it possible for anti-Assad groups to receive further support."http://www.dw.com/en/is-assad-to-blame-for-the-chemical-weapons-attack-in-syria/a-38330217 Is not Israel the major beneficiary of this bombing? Syrians shot down an Israeli jet a week before using this airbase. Now this airbase is destroyed.

  4. On April 3, the USA government announced that the US is no longer insisting that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has to step aside. The attack happened on April 4th, a day after.  On April 6 after the attack, but before any investigation, the USA goverment  changed its mind. Did Trump reneg on his promises to fight ISIS and establishing détente with Russia after unprecedented attack by neocons in Washington and folded?   Removal of Bannon might be connected. Does this mean that Trump metamorphosed into Hillary Clinton in around 100 days in office? Or does that mean that the president does not matter and deep state rules the country?

  5. Previous sarin attack was a false flag: The attack took place while UN weapons inspectors were in the country, on Assad's invitation, said Meyer. Assad had asked them to investigate a chemical weapons attack from March 2013 outside Aleppo, which killed Syrian soldiers. Former weapons inspector Richard Lloyd and MIT professor Theodore Postol cast further doubt on Assad's role in the Ghouta attack. They reported in 2014 that the chemical weapons could have only been fired from rebel-held territory, with a range of up to 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles).

  6. The Nusra Front's weapons include chemical weapons and they inflicted casualties on Syrian army.  This Al Qaeda affiliate is today the most significant rebel group in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. Along with other jihadi groups, it has turned itself into the "de facto ruler of Idlib." Syrian government reiterated the claim, echoed by Moscow, that the tragedy occurred because the rebels had been stockpiling sarin gas, and the Syrian army had no way of knowing it was there.

  7. What will be consequences (other then deserved Nobel Peace Price for Trump) for the USA if the investigation implicated the rebels? BTW none of "volunteers" treating victims died from poisoning, despite working without HASMAT suits, which suggest that at least "sarin" version is bogus. 

  8. What was the function of the buildings hit by air strike (hitting a depot of chemical weapons is the Russian version of events)?  it is clear they they were in or close to residential area were those private residences or not is unclear. What was exact time of Assad forces attack? Rebels are known to store munitions in schools and mosques to protect them from air strikes. Why so many children were affected if only two houses were hit. Outside school,  in Syria  children are usually accompanied by women. There were  less victims among adults.

  9. Are we one step closer to the hot conventional war with Russia instead of promised by Trump to voters "détente"? Will Russia retaliates or not ?  It did not retaliated military when Turkish air forces shot down its bomber which was on mission without fighters escort, so let’s hope it will not this time too.  Russia did suspend 2015 memorandum of understanding on the air operations ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-condemns-us-missile-strike-on-syria/2017/04/07/c81ea12a-1b4e-11e7-8003-f55b4c1cfae2_story.html )

    Under the pact, the two countries have traded information about flights by a U.S.-led coalition targeting the Islamic State and Russian planes operating in Syria in support of the Assad government. Moscow was taking its action, the Defense Ministry said, because it sees the U.S. strike “as a grave violation of the memorandum.”


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[Mar 20, 2019] Trump Sticks To Sanctions - U.S., North Korea Summit Fails - Updated

Incompetent, cowboy style foreign policy is the hallmark of Trump administration. they can only bully, they can't hold a constructive negotiations. As one commenter observed "American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die."
His appointment of Bolton and Pompeo means that Trump is a neocon in foreign policy and/or does not control foreign policy of his administration. .
Notable quotes:
"... This is just a hunch but I have a feeling it was undermined by Bolton and Pompeo from the start. ..."
"... Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want to strangle the host for not asking any follow up question as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S. given up. ..."
"... Why does the USA keep economic sanctions on DPRK? This article helps to explain it: Despite himself Trump admits the superiority of China's socialist economy to capitalism ..."
"... Jong-un Kim has an advantage his predecessor didn't: he has China. He doesn't need to invent nothing: he already has the long-term solution next door. ..."
"... My guess is the USA and South Korea know if the sanctions are lifted, North Korea will become a mini-powerhouse under China's sphere of influence. They have to create a situation equal to Libya's, where they can invade the North militarily and quickly occupy its territory, thus using its population as cheap labor force for the American multinationals and South Korean chaebols. ..."
"... The US military/foreign policy establishment wants North Korea to disarm so that it can give them a Carthaginian peace. Until then, they are content to do their cushy jobs and rake in the money from South Korean businessmen. ..."
"... An excellent article from Tom Engelhardt on Consortium News, in which he attempts to explain how the USA had the world at its feet, and squandered the chance to do good and instead went on a series of further Imperial military adventures: https://consortiumnews.com/2019/02/21/the-neocons-have-their-caesar/ ..."
"... American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die. ..."
"... summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief in Korean ..."
"... No surprise that the US is always 'all or nothing'. It thinks it is 'uber alles'. ..."
"... IMO, the key was laid bare by Trump: "Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that." [My Emphasis] ..."
"... as you and many others have noted, the US argument seems to be "give up your nukes so we can Libya you into oblivion". if venezuela had nukes would they be putting up with the incessant stupidity of the "blob"? they'd still have sanctions but i doubt the dumb twats running the surrounding countries would be as eager to aid and abet US hijinks. ..."
"... And it seems Trump lied about the impasse that led to Kim walking out, proving that Kim's initial assessment of Trump as dotard was 100% correct. ..."
"... When did Bolton's coups and intimidations ever work? He is, in essence, a megalomanic mustache. ..."
"... I think that Trump represents a pivot from containment of China/Russia to one of "Quick, pull what pieces of empire we can defend/control together." ..."
"... I think that the West is delusional to think they can defeat any alternative that doesn't have profit as its God. That said, that monotheistic myth of "better than others" runs deep as evidenced by some of the opinions expressed in this venue ..."
"... Any nation which still trust any promise coming from the USA and its European, Australian and Canadian poddles deserves to be colonized and destroyed. ..."
Mar 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

twhstmmwmafilwwwww , Feb 28, 2019 8:13:44 AM | link

This is just a hunch but I have a feeling it was undermined by Bolton and Pompeo from the start. They know the DPRK wasn't gonna give up its nuclear deterrent unilaterally, so the next best thing behind a the dream of a Libya situation is to once again have an aggressive relationship with the North to be able to continue to justify all sorts of "defense" maneuvering around China now that foreign policy has now officially pivoted away from terrorism and towards China(+Russia).

Similar to AEGIS Ashore in Eastern Europe in order to "defend" Europe from "Iran".

Christian Chuba , Feb 28, 2019 8:22:32 AM | link

We've given up everything, they have given up nothing

Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want to strangle the host for not asking any follow up question as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S. given up.

We talked to them giving them legitimacy, OMG, as if we have some kind of glorious halo that is worth a billions of $ or even more. This makes me want to puke when I heare this.

The N. Koreans have stopped ALL nuclear and ballistic missile testing. We the U.S. have put in place even more draconian sanctions under Trump than were in place before. We raised the ante. We have more room to give then the N. Koreans do.

steven t johnson , Feb 28, 2019 8:28:11 AM | link
Believing Trump is or ever was open to breaking with US imperialism is Trumpery. He wants to sweat the subordinates, wants them to spend more on the military, buy more US weapons, do more fighting. But to make things look good he will say anything, and renege.

Some people think Trump etc. are trying to detach the north from a Chinese alliance. There are two problems here. First, there's no sane reason to think the Chinese aren't engaged in economic warfare against the north. Not wanting to squeeze hard enough to cause a total collapse is not supporting the north. Second, if that's what Trump wanted, he'd actually try offering the north concessions.

The issue in the background is whether Trump will let the south out of the US orbit. It's an easy question to answer: He won't. Empires don't give up their territory until they're made to. The Soviet withdrawal from central Europe is not an exception, as the USSR was not an empire. (Yes, everyone who says "Soviet empire" and means it is a shithead.)

Ts'yew Taw-Loh , Feb 28, 2019 8:30:46 AM | link
Formally, the Korean War was between Chosôn on the one side and The United nations and Hangok (Daehan)on the other. The UN security council is the ones to have instituted tthe sanction regime and thus in practice committed a crime against Humanity by inflictin starvation the people of the North. In practice it was a US & their allie's war against the entire population of Korea. Formally, peace must be signed by Chosôn and the UN and sanctions lifted by the latter. In Practice, the US must be made to abide with agreements.
vk , Feb 28, 2019 8:48:36 AM | link
Why does the USA keep economic sanctions on DPRK? This article helps to explain it: Despite himself Trump admits the superiority of China's socialist economy to capitalism

Jong-un Kim has an advantage his predecessor didn't: he has China. He doesn't need to invent nothing: he already has the long-term solution next door.

My guess is the USA and South Korea know if the sanctions are lifted, North Korea will become a mini-powerhouse under China's sphere of influence. They have to create a situation equal to Libya's, where they can invade the North militarily and quickly occupy its territory, thus using its population as cheap labor force for the American multinationals and South Korean chaebols.

David Wooten , Feb 28, 2019 8:58:41 AM | link
The US military/foreign policy establishment wants North Korea to disarm so that it can give them a Carthaginian peace. Until then, they are content to do their cushy jobs and rake in the money from South Korean businessmen.

Moon would probably like to unite the two Koreas and kick US out. But then, the US mil/fp would sanction him and all Korea.

donkeytale , Feb 28, 2019 9:07:21 AM | link
This was yet another photo op on the road to nowhere with our reality show presidency. As Conway Twitty sang, "it's only make believe." The path to "normalisation" with NK winds through SK.
Ant , Feb 28, 2019 9:09:01 AM | link

An excellent article from Tom Engelhardt on Consortium News, in which he attempts to explain how the USA had the world at its feet, and squandered the chance to do good and instead went on a series of further Imperial military adventures: https://consortiumnews.com/2019/02/21/the-neocons-have-their-caesar/

American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die.

Time to grow up, it's not the 1990's. You're just another country, and we're not so frightened any more.

b , Feb 28, 2019 9:34:31 AM | link
This is quite possible ...
Kevin Gray @DrKevinGray Former SK unification minister Chong Se-hyun suggests that summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief in Korean
snake , Feb 28, 2019 10:06:12 AM | link
@8

We've given up everything, they have given up nothing. Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want .. follow up question {answered} as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S.[ A given up. [please note that unless you are a member of the 527 persons that make up the USA, you the " WE does not include you. Americans get to elect by a vary strained highly polarized (Republican vs Democrat) process, 525 persons under Article I, but not the two persons who are the CEOs that govern the USA ?

Americans cannot elected the CEOs that make all of the decisions. The CEOs of the USA are elected by persons who many or may not be Americans, have a look PLEASE!

... ... ...

The N. Koreans have stopped ALL nuclear and ballistic missile testing. We the U.S. have put in place even more draconian sanctions under Trump than were in place before. We raised the ante. We have more room to give then the N. Koreans do.<= once again I remind you that the " WE d/n include you..

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Feb 28, 2019 8:22:32 AM | 5

Jason , Feb 28, 2019 10:54:18 AM | link
So we give up nothing, not even a temporary ease in sanctions and they give up their nuclear weapons program in whole, what a deal.

Its obvious that even if Trump went there with the intention of making a realistic two sided deal the permanent war state would just scuttle it anyway by refusing to follow the plan or staging some new provocation like some war games or bomber fly over.

DPRK has to see that after Iran complied with the inspections regime and abandoned its civilian nuclear program the goal post was moved to not even being allowed to have ballistic missiles.

What I don't understand is how long before South Korea demands we respect its sovereignty in it's own military affairs and asks us to remove a sizable chunk of our war machine so a lasting peace can be made. Can South Korea not forge its own tit-for-tat peace plan with the North that makes sense to both sides and tell the US not to interfere, sabotage or ask it to leave? It seems the opportunity is ripe to exclude the empty suit Trump and his group of Neo-con madmen and forge ahead with opening up trade and mutual thawing of feeling in Koreas, but is there political will to do so in South Korea?

AriusArmenian , Feb 28, 2019 11:02:39 AM | link
No surprise that the US is always 'all or nothing'. It thinks it is 'uber alles'.
Jackrabbit , Feb 28, 2019 11:06:39 AM | link
fairleft @16

The link @12 is another form of apology for Trump. Essentially, an insanity defense:

All of this not only gave Americans a visibly unhinged president -- think of him, in axis-of-evil terms, as a rogue state of one -- but an increasingly unhinged country. You can feel so much of this in Trump's confused and confusing attempts to both end American wars and ratchet them up . . .

[So] ... think of this piece as an obituary of sorts ... not as an obituary for a single loopy president, a man who ... was elevated to a strange version of power by a troubled republic showing signs of wear and tear [but of a nation] . . . whatever Donald Trump does, the Caesarian die was cast early in this century as the neocons crossed their own Rubicon.

It's not Trump's fault - it's the neocons! They constructed a system that allowed for the election of this "loopy" President and are using him for their own ends.

Sure, the neocons deserve much blame but the Deep State and their US President compatriots (Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, and Trump) are also guilty just as the driver of the getaway car is just as guilty as the bank robbers.

karlof1 , Feb 28, 2019 12:17:31 PM | link

IMO, the key was laid bare by Trump: "Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that." [My Emphasis]

Wouldn't or couldn't? Using "couldn't" tells me that possibility was zero to begin with and Bolton's appearance had nothing to do with anything other than the fact that the impasse was pre-determined. Kim knew it would happen; I was 99% sure it would happen; and of course Trump knew. And that's where it will likely remain until 2021, although there's a slight possibility that the UNSC sanctions will be modified and lessened.

Escobar's recap of recent events seems rather bland, although between the lines I think he's saying that solving Kashmir is more important than solving Afghanistan, an important point overlooked too long.

So, Koreans are left to their own devices and will continue their unification drive, while the quadrangular relations between China, Russia, and the two Koreas will grow tighter; all of which serve to increase pressure on Abe and Japan to drop the Empire's line.

BM , Feb 28, 2019 12:24:57 PM | link
It would be easy to be put off by the failure of the summit under the Americans' blatent treachery, but it is probably better that way.

Consider what would happen if the US and NK were to have a "fantastically successful" summit with agreements signed - what are the chances that the US would subsequently honour their commitments? NILL. What would be the effect on NK if NK does not honour it's commitments? Devastating at best.

Because of the US' well-established behaviour patterns, it is hard to imagine how NK could benefit from signing an agreement with the US - any concrete agreement - the US will ignore it's commitments, while forcing NK to abide by its commitments.

Therefore a situation in which the US clearly shows itself to be the treacherous partner while the NK side is beyond reproach is the perfect outcome for NK, allowing her to establish a good reputation in world public opinion and - hopefully - together with SK find their own way to achieve peaceful reunification without the US.

Peaceful reunification with US blessing was never on the cards and never will be.

Fortunately Kim Jong-Un has thus far been truly masterful in playing his cards, getting the geostrategic benefits at each throw, while the US only succeed in clearly establishing their treachery and progressively undermining their geostrategic hand.

With support from China and Russia, may the two Koreas eventually successfully achieve their own peaceful reunification without the US!

james , Feb 28, 2019 12:31:38 PM | link
thanks b... aside from liking what @26 psychohistorian said, i wonder who really benefits from these sanctions the usa is so quick to use as a tool against others impose or maintain? the usa appears to be built on this system of financial sanctions and can't function without it.. is it that the thought of north and south korea working together means the usa gets cut out of the action? is that a big part of it?? at some point it is going to happen anyway... same deal russia and the rest of europe and same deal iran and the rest of the world... it seems to me the usa is squandering all the promise they might have had at one time by catering to whoever profits from these financial sanction routines..

so yeah.. it is back to rome didn't fall in a day, and the usa's time is coming soon enough..

Red Ryder , Feb 28, 2019 12:35:04 PM | link
A large impediment to North Korea achieving a lifting of sanctions is the long list of UNSC resolutions establishing global unanimity for a sanctions regime.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_Nations_Security_Council_resolutions_concerning_North_Korea

The US has managed to corral China and Russia to join these sanctions.

However, a case can be made that since no nuke testing has transpired, no missile tests have continued, and the threat to neighbors and the region is now flat-lined, North Korea should be acting, not with the US alone, but with all the UNSC and other nations, in a way that demonstrates it is walking from nuclear development and ICBM achievement.

We shall see if Russia and China can press this argument in order to pursue economic development as a reward for international inspection and IAEA control of the NK nuclear program.

What the US wants is to get Moon out of the picture and retain fanatical South Korean leadership that would be against North Korea development. Trump may see the potential in North Korea, but the MIC and Deep State absolutely do not want to have to leave South Korea as a base.

arby , Feb 28, 2019 12:52:37 PM | link
To the posters who think Russia should intervene everywhere... Just reading on Orlov's blog and he pointed to an article he wrote about Russia and Putin in 2014 from a Valdai meeting---Putin--

"5. Russia has no intention of going fishing in the murky waters created by America's ever-expanding "empire of chaos," and has no interest in building a new empire of her own (this is unnecessary; Russia's challenges lie in developing her already vast territory).

Neither is Russia willing to act as a savior of the world, as she had in the past."

the pair , Feb 28, 2019 1:21:18 PM | link
as you and many others have noted, the US argument seems to be "give up your nukes so we can Libya you into oblivion". if venezuela had nukes would they be putting up with the incessant stupidity of the "blob"? they'd still have sanctions but i doubt the dumb twats running the surrounding countries would be as eager to aid and abet US hijinks.

i know it's based in "realism" or "realpolitik" or whatever euphemism for "do what we say or be murdered" people prefer, but south korea not telling the west to kiss the tastiest part of its ass and siding with the dprk and china to settle things is just absurd. other than financial punishment, what are they afraid of? no more disgusting tainted beef? no more deliveries of WWIII-level military gear without permission? a drop in sex tourism among pasty white anglos?

at least this does away with all pretense of trump being a "peace president" in the slightest. that was always a fantasy of the MAGA/"we liek him cuz hes xtian lol" crowd to begin with but now even the suggestion of such is laughable.

b , Feb 28, 2019 1:23:41 PM | link
The North Korean Foreign Minister gave a press conference in Hanoi. I updated the piece above at its end with the reports of what he said.
worldblee , Feb 28, 2019 1:28:41 PM | link
The bi-partisan War Party wins again, the world loses.
the pair , Feb 28, 2019 1:29:15 PM | link
@#36

i despise trudeau and all, but this oddly timed "scandal" is based on nothing but one woman's testimony (as believable as she is) and the screeching of the scumbag conservatives along with their bootlickers in the media. global and CTV have always been conservative party infomercials but lately it's just ridiculous.

saying "a canadian politician did a corrupt thing" is like saying "we caught water being wet". odd how canada has a reputation as being "smarter" than the US yet its citizens have already forgotten the ten years of dripping, oily sleaze under harper and his coterie of fat doughy apes (the fattest and oiliest of which - jason kenney - has been oozing from the telly screen on a constant basis on said channels).

with his repulsive bootlicking on the huawei affair and venezuela, it's easy to want justin out yesterday . but any conservative taking his place will be harper 2.0 and therefore trump's maple mini-me.

apologies for off topicness.

james , Feb 28, 2019 1:52:15 PM | link
ot - @36 karlof1... next election is oct 2019... it probably doesn't matter as i doubt very much he gets elected in october.. it is kinda true what the pair is saying @40 too... we will get getting our version of trump, as we are one cycle behind the usa... some conservative jackass will be running canada towards the end of the year to make matters even worse.. canucks are not all that bright, lol..
S , Feb 28, 2019 2:04:06 PM | link
South Koreans, where are you? You should be camping 24/7 in front of the U.S. embassy, demanding the immediate removal of sanctions. The unification will never happen if you don't take a more active stance.

The international community wants it, North Koreans want it, it all comes down to you. Kick the American troops out, break up your chaebols, and start the unification process. Any sanctions the U.S might impose on you will be more than offset by cheap Russian pipeline gas, a rail link to Europe, and an economic boom due to integration with the North. What are you waiting for? You may never have another chance like this.

one off poster , Feb 28, 2019 4:04:14 PM | link
@38 b:
Thank you very much for the update, b. I am pleased that the DPRK called the press conference. It is a pity the video has been viewed only 1179 times.

Here is video footage of the DPRK news conference.

The 1st part is the prepared statement read out by foreign minister Ri Yong Ho with english translation following. The 2nd part of the interview consists of Q&A (sound quality v bad). It mainly reiterates the 1st part, but from 10:25 on, she says that (an) American Inspector(s) visited a factory called "Yun Soo" within the Yong Byon. She wanted to emphasise that that factory was put on the table for closure as well by DPRK.

Given that the sanctions the DPRK was seeking to be lifted were not US imposed sanctions, but UN sanctions, can the UN Sec Gen intervene (kind of like what happened in Yemen)?

It does make one wonder why POTUS said that DPRK was seeking the removal of ALL sanctions. Was he expecting something like this? It is so easy to refute that the fact it was said at all is intriguing.

PavewayIV , Feb 28, 2019 4:06:44 PM | link
Otto B@33 - I suppose I can't argue with your logic - especially if this was part of an 'Art of the Deal' seminar. I will simply point out that your premise completely ignores what US citizens think is in THEIR best interests.

Pulling out all of our forces from South Korea permanently and ending sanctions on North Korea would be more than enough for them to denuclearize (and probably unify with the South). THAT is in US citizens' best interests, period. Chickenhawks within the US government are the only ones demanding an eternal occupation of South Korea and an eternal standoff with North Korea. They sell this as a necessary price to pay for 'security', except we're damn tired of hearing about our psychopathic leaders' manufactured enemy and we don't need protection from it.

Same goes for Iran, despite their nuclear capabilities, or lack thereof. 'Protecting US interests' is not 'protecting the US'. No amount of marketing or propaganda is going to make Iran a credible threat to the US or its citizens EVER. We don't need protection from a manufactured enemy. Three million people (give or take a million) were slaughtered in Southeast Asia to protect us against the last manufactured enemy: those homicidal CHICOMs. I don't recall seeing any fresh, bloody human heads mounted on pikes in downtown Hanoi during the talks this weekend. How is that possible?

I don't need a better Iranian 'deal'. I need my psychopathic leaders to stop antagonizing the hell out of Iran and stop punishing the Iranian people. Israel's psychopathic obsession with destroying Iran or somehow containing its regional influence has NOTHING to do with the security of US citizens - despite the incessant narrative. Are you honestly expecting the little people in the US to believe the DC chickenhawks or the MSM again?

karlof1 , Feb 28, 2019 4:12:47 PM | link
RT editorial savages BigLie Media for the usual reasons--but--in choosing to highlight Susan Rice's NY Times op/ed in an attempt to discredit her, she actually suggests the very sort of incremental moves agreed to in the initial summit's Declaration:

"To move the needle, the United States and North Korea will need to agree on a series of incremental, reciprocal steps that would build mutual confidence as part of a road map to full denuclearization."

Oops!! All in all, the editorialist misrepresents Rice, which is what he accuses BigLie Media of doing--OUCH!

Rice's conclusion will surprise a few here:

"In Hanoi, Mr. Trump has an opportunity to achieve incremental progress toward denuclearization. Unfortunately, history suggests that Mr. Trump will be content with another colorful photo opportunity and more diplomatic shadow boxing that perpetuates the illusion of success, while running down the clock on a nearly intractable challenge."

And it seems Trump lied about the impasse that led to Kim walking out, proving that Kim's initial assessment of Trump as dotard was 100% correct.

Yeah, Right , Feb 28, 2019 4:35:58 PM | link
@27 Jose Garcia: "My question. What will South Korea do now?"

Well, they only have two choices:

Option 1: Continue to be the USA's loyal lapdog, in which case several million of them are doomed to die in the (increasingly inevitable) replay of the 1950-2 war.

Option 2: Hold secret talks with North Korea that lead to the surprise signing of a peace treaty that contains a clause that says "Both Koreas agree that no foreign forces shall be stationed on the Korean Peninsular". Then brace themselves to be sanctioned within an inch of their lives.

They'll go hungry under Option 2, and it will be inevitable that they flip into the "Chinese orbit". But they'll still be alive, which is not nothin'.

They'll make a stab at Option 2, because under Option 1 they'll all end up dead.

Rob , Feb 28, 2019 5:03:57 PM | link
@fairleft (16)

When did Bolton's coups and intimidations ever work? He is, in essence, a megalomanic mustache.

TDeL , Feb 28, 2019 5:17:43 PM | link
@6

Actually there is one sane reason to think the Chinese aren't engaged in economic warfare against the north: a Shengyang rail link to Seoul via Pyongyang. This could be constructed in less than 3 years and will take some pressure off congestion in the Bohai Sea-Yellow Sea shipping lanes. And provide efficient transport of materials, goods & people in new & expanded markets. I'm sure there are others.

Thank you b for the timely update on the latest theatrical entertainment, Nobel Peace Prize episode

uncle tungsten , Feb 28, 2019 5:36:43 PM | link
fastfreddy # 44

Agreed ff but regarding the Trump timeline from afar he has deliberately and methodically filled the white house staff with more and more extreme people. Slowly boiling the frog comes to mind. We are supposed to be acclimatized to this huckster being surrounded by hawks whereas he and his entire family are predators more deadly than hawks.

S #42

Thank you, you nailed it. Perhaps the assembled mass of South Koreans in front of the US embassy could wear a vest symbolising healing or unity. Perhaps they could assemble around a UN flag demanding that it back off from being a USA puppet. I don't recall having seen a UN flag burned yet but it would be an appropriate symbol from South Korea, or Haiti, or Libya, or......

Thank you again b and all the comrade writers, it has been a great read.

Chas , Feb 28, 2019 5:50:42 PM | link
What I can't understand is why NK would give up its nuclear capability without requiring the empire to do the same. It isn't equitable for NK to give up its nukes for the mere promise of the empire to not place nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. The empire could still strike Nk from outside the peninsula. What's good for one country is good for the other.
karlof1 , Feb 28, 2019 5:59:53 PM | link
Yeah, Right @50--

For your Option #2 to fly, the existing treaty with Outlaw US Empire must be negated along with the entire arrangement with UN that's existed since 1950. Given Imperial intransigence combined with ever escalating political will within RoK, such a happening may occur before 2020 begins.

The most recent article on reunification I was able to find in English is 3 months old and provides grounds for optimism given the concept's positive direction. IMO, Moon and Kim need to continue down the path they've made for each other,, while the diplomatic action moves into the UNSC which is where most of the sanctions were born and the only venue where they can be rescinded.

Red Ryder , Feb 28, 2019 7:49:53 PM | link
@35, S,

I always check my comments in preview, often many times. The URL seemed to be fine. It works. However, I'll be more cognizant in the future with any long URLs.

Thanks.

Jen , Feb 28, 2019 8:29:00 PM | link
S @ 42:

For South Korea to do as you suggest, Japan must do exactly the same. The South Koreans are more afraid of what Japan would do if they (SK, that is) were to throw out the Americans, downsize their own military and start a reunification or a "one-state-two-systems" process, and Japan does not follow suit with demilitarisation.

Incidentally the current Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's grandfather Nobusuke Kishi served as Munitions Minister under PM Hideki Tojo in the early 1940s. Under his watch, thousands of Chinese and Koreans were employed as slave labour in factories and mines. Kishi also ran the puppet state Manchukuo during the 1930s as his personal technocratic industrial slave state.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobusuke_Kishi
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/east-asia-cant-escape-the-sins-of-the-father/article15987729/

Much later Kishi also got a turn as Japanese PM but his legacy as PM may have been to design a political system in which the Liberal Democratic Party (a conservative party in Japan) was always the main political party in government from 1955 to 1993.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2011/09/27/general/no-nos-for-noda-japans-top-10-most-useless-pms/#.XHiKklwzaUk

Needless to say, Abe hero-worships Kishi.

psychohistorian , Feb 28, 2019 9:29:16 PM | link
I want to add some more thought to those I shared with Jen. What about the Philippines? I think that at this time in history all of the outposts of empire are at risk.

I think that Trump represents a pivot from containment of China/Russia to one of "Quick, pull what pieces of empire we can defend/control together."

I think that the West is delusional to think they can defeat any alternative that doesn't have profit as its God. That said, that monotheistic myth of "better than others" runs deep as evidenced by some of the opinions expressed in this venue

Are we going to see the dominoes of empire fall? I damn well hope so!

Kiza , Feb 28, 2019 9:31:48 PM | link
Is it not funny how the boss Bolton shows up at negotiations and El Presidente falls into (his unrealistic) line? El Presidente de la republica bananera is just a low level employee of his own staff BullbyTon and Pompous Maximus.

Nobody asked this here yet, but how did we get to US negotiating against NK on behalf of UN Security Council ?

Who did China and Russia on the Security Council serve, did they get anything for their service to the republica bananera?

One can recognise how ruthless US is, but one also has to recognise how worthless China and Russia are. US ignores UN Resolutions it does not like and uses UN Resolutions it initiated as a head-club for achieving its goals whilst China and Russia go along. This is exactly why the things are as they are - the Selfish Human Condition.

Oh, we are all so happy when someone does not do like the majority of the worthless humanity does (Russia out of own interest in Syria). Otherwise, back to being the usual shitbags.

Yeah, Right , Feb 28, 2019 9:36:01 PM | link
@60 Karlof1 As ever, it is instructive to read the text of a treaty.

In this particular case the treaty between South Korea and the USA contains within it the answers to your concerns.

1) either party can end the treaty with 12 month notice.
2) the stationing of US troops is by mutual agreement I.e. if South Korea "No longer agrees" to US troops stationed on its soil then those troops have to leave.

Uncle Sam would have no grounds to refuse, as the treaty itself says that both signatories have to agree. And, no, the treaty doesn't have to be "renegotiated" to produce that outcome: the South Koreans need only say "we don't agree any more".

That's what the treaty says, so that's what the treaty means.

Sad Canuck , Feb 28, 2019 9:45:27 PM | link
@31 Red Ryder

Nothing will change until S Korea decides to be an independent country instead of a low vassal. Watching a foreign country negotiate peace in your own civil war without being at the table must be deeply humiliating to at least some S Koreans surely?

As for the sanctions, if the Koreas re-united as ROK and the DPRK disappeared as an entity, I assume the UN sanctions on extinct entity would be void.

Jen , Feb 28, 2019 10:54:54 PM | link
Psychohistorian @ 67:

It's significant that the current PM of Japan is a grandson of a politician with a very dark past, and moreover idolises his grandfather and believes the policies he followed were right.

"Formed in childhood, roots of Abe's conservatism go deep"
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2012/12/26/national/formed-in-childhood-roots-of-abes-conservatism-go-deep/#.XHirsVwzaUk

You and I live in the year 2019 but the issue is whether Shinzo Abe does.

For that reason South Korea is unlikely to demilitarise and get rid of its US bases unless Japan commits to doing the same.

The two countries also continue to dispute the ownership of a set of islands called the Liancourt islands in the Sea of Japan, midway between the two nations.

Uncle $cam , Feb 28, 2019 11:12:52 PM | link
https://twitter.com/DrKevinGray/status/1101089899430793221?link_id=3&can_id=6b614a325626aa55ec3e7563bb5103b1&source=email-why-did-hanoi-summit-really-fail-interviews-available&email_referrer=email_502522&email_subject=why-did-hanoi-summit-really-fail-interviews-available

Former SK unification minister Chong Se-hyun suggests that summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief

Pft , Feb 28, 2019 11:14:31 PM | link
South Korea is a puppet government of the US. Its constitution was written by the US and its early leaders were those who worked with the Japanese during the occupation. Anyone against the government and continued occupation by foreign forces was labelled Commmunist and shot. Up until the late 80's South Korea was under martial law

While much of the population is aware of this being humiliated by foreign powers has been a way of life for over a century. Reunification is a pipe dream unless the North is under the Empires control and the US will not pull out even then because its conveniently located at Russia and Chinas borders

I can imagine Trump talking to Kim and asking him how he would like to live like him and the global elite. It worked with Gorbachev and Deng. Just need to adopt the neoliberal religion and loot the resources of your own people (bottom 95%) for eventual handover to the Empire (privatization or sending cash back to buy Treasuries and other investments).

My guess is Kim and NK elite live pretty well already, but who knows. In any event he knows he cant trust them.

karlof1 , Mar 1, 2019 12:12:52 AM | link
Yeah, Right @70--

Guess I need to find a way to create more time to do stuff as I know I'm skimming way too much.

PavewayIV , Mar 1, 2019 1:53:34 AM | link
Schmoe@55 -

[sigh...] Yes, you're right. I suppose I got kind of got carried away there. But I can't believe the polls '50% approval rating' for the Syrian retaliatory strike, at least in my little world.

Most people I encounter through the day, especially college kids and millennial debt slaves, don't care about Syria or Israel and never will. Zero expectations of their government and can't understand why some old people are concerned about distant wars.

They feel absolutely no responsibility for the actions of the US government any more than they feel responsible for the actions of their next door neighbors. Society is slowly devolving itself in toad freak show!

V , Mar 1, 2019 3:55:42 AM | link
Deschutes | Mar 1, 2019 2:55:06 AM | 81

I posted this over at TAE. It might resonate with some few. Any one who has held on to their sanity, surely sees the fantastical reality created by twisted people and their twisted ideals. If that accurate vision is the context from which the U.S. is framed; then its true health is obvious.

A sick society ruled by equally sick fascisti

Record numbers of U.S. citizens are leaving for distant places they view as an improvement. If in fact they find respite; it will likely not last, until and unless the U.S. is brought to ground.

uncle tungsten , Mar 1, 2019 4:16:58 AM | link
Chas # 58

May I suggest there is a small matter of war reparations owed by the USA that needs immediate resolution well prior to any yak yak about denuclear strategies. Ms Susan Rice's piece also blithely ignores that question. And so do all the yankees as they are fully liable for an unwarranted assault on Korea - both north and south - and reparations are immediately owed to the north.

Pay up yankees.

Will someone tell that to John Bolt-on. I would love see his mustache quiver.

Kiza , Mar 1, 2019 5:19:42 AM | link
One of these days I am going to write a piece on what the World would look like one month after the Second US Civil War starts.
Steve , Mar 1, 2019 6:03:28 AM | link
Any nation which still trust any promise coming from the USA and its European, Australian and Canadian poddles deserves to be colonized and destroyed.
Yeah, Right , Mar 1, 2019 6:49:19 AM | link
@77 Karlof1 "Guess I need to find a way to create more time to do stuff as I know I'm skimming way too much."

It's not difficult to dig out the source text, and most international treaties relating to Int'l Humanitarian Law are not exactly dense reads.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact is a mere three articles long, with the first two being single sentences. The Mutual Defense Treaty between the USA and South Korea consists of only six articles.

The NATO Charter is but fourteen articles long. The Hague Regulations are a comparatively hefty fifty-six articles, but even the UN Charter - an outlier if ever there was one - contains only 111 Articles.

The Geneva Conventions are much longer but, boy, do the Swiss like to talk.

But none are like slogging through some Hemingway or Melville. Simple prose, as unambiguous as possible while still satisfying all the negotiators.

In fact you can find all the treaties in one place: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/default.asp

A one-stop-shop for all things relating to treaties, highly recommended.

BM , Mar 1, 2019 7:13:57 AM | link
I've just read two articles that in one fell swoop can explain a large part of Trump's behaviour, together with policies to eliminate nuclear arms control, first strike policies, apocalyptic policies towards Iran and North Korea, policies towards Israel, policies aimed at blowing up the Middle East, willingness and eagerness to precipitate destruction and chaos on a global scale, precipitate policies towards Russia and China, support for Islamic jihadism, anti-environmentalism, and climate denial:

The key are the so-called "Rapture Christians" nuts - of whom there are 12 in Trump's cabinet [out of how many?]. I've never looked into this obscure sect of insane nutcases before, but people urgently need to understand this phenomenon - they are an obscure sect, but they hold the keys to political power in the US, and have determined the key political events of the last several decades!

These nutters are a million times more dangerous than Islamic jihadists - they have no fear of all-out nuclear war, global destruction, climate change, environmental devastation or all the things that wise people with foresight advise against - on the contrary they are eager to bring all these things on as soon as possible, because they associate these things with the return of Jesus, and ascent to heaven for all the sect's believers.

A key fact in understanding this phenomenon is that they deny evolution, and a scientific basis for reality in its entirety, and therefore are completely closed to rational argument.

Quote from the second article: 'In an April 2 Bible study, Drollinger focused on the "huge and dire error" of "radical environmentalism". He argues that humans are incapable of destroying the earth on their own, because it is up to God to "continually renew the face of the earth until He forms a new heaven and a new earth in the end times."'

They support Trump because they believe he is the "tool of God".

BM , Mar 1, 2019 7:28:23 AM | link
For that reason South Korea is unlikely to demilitarise and get rid of its US bases unless Japan commits to doing the same.
Posted by: Jen | Feb 28, 2019 10:54:54 PM | 74

That seems like a strange argument to me. The US is not in Korea to protect Korea from Japan, nor are they in Japan either to protect Japan from Korea nor to protect Korea from Japan. In both cases the true target is China.

If the two Korea's unite it will necessarily be under the military protection of Russia and China - there is no other possibility, because they need protection from the US. Both Koreas are obviously much safer under Russian and Chinese protection than under US "protection" - the latter being no more than mafia style "protection".

In this case Japan would clearly oppose such an arrangement - in allignment with the US - therefore the last thing [imperialist] Japan would want would be the pull-out of the US (what ordinary Japanese people might want is another matter - unfortunately they have no say).

Mig-21-Block 70-2022 , Mar 1, 2019 7:34:39 AM | link
N.K. should just ask Russia to buy 1000 warehoused MIGs 21 refurbished for year 2023 and thats it!
Kim should go for a No deal with the US.
Mig 21s just shot down brand new f-16s over in India.
Whole world world including Chinese airmen are laughing.
Well maybe except the starving Greeks threw 1 bill. eu out of the window for a new deal with Trumps Lokheed for f-16 modernizations.
b real , Mar 1, 2019 7:47:45 AM | link
manufactured controversy to get the top of the news cycle and take focus off the cohen testimony so it dies quickly
rattlemullet , Mar 1, 2019 8:05:02 AM | link
The trio of Trump, Pompeo and Bolton, quite frankly spells failure. The leader has zero capacity to learn and understand the motivation behind North Korea and their very exacting understanding of the English language. Every single word written has a clear and precise meaning tied into complete sentences. The fact that is written on paper and executed by both parties memorizes the document. Trump literally has not read the first agreement as executed. To place any faith in this trio of clowns to negotiate with the North Koreas is laughable. The basic fact is that North Koreans will never trust the US as we literally tried to bomb all their cities out of existence during the Korean intervention. Trump's trio does not understand the lasting impact that those actions burned into North Korean souls. Trump is completely out his league on the world stage he has made a fool of the US.
arby , Mar 1, 2019 8:22:57 AM | link
b real @ 90--

That was my thoughts as well. The real reason Trump handlers sent him to Viet Nam was to not be around for a damning testimony.

Scotch Bingeington , Mar 1, 2019 9:42:07 AM | link
Tom Luongo claims that Bolton's spoke in Trump's wheel was to add chemical & biological weapons to US demands ( Link ). There, just like that. Pretty clever actually. Bolton may be the king of scumbags, but he sure is resourceful. The picture they have in the article of Bolton watching over Trump is scary and probably very telling.
BM , Mar 1, 2019 10:20:07 AM | link
"Trudeau was detonated today by his former Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada's first Aboriginal A-G. She just testified in Parliament, in meticulous detail, how Trudeau and his staff tried to get her to drop criminal charges against a corrupt company that he liked."
Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 28, 2019 1:15:41 PM | 36

I've just finished reading the article on the testimony in the National Post, linked in Karlof1's link:

Read the full text of Jody Wilson-Raybould's statement to the House of Commons justice committee
(That's the title of the article; actually it is not the full text it is important extracts, but generous extracts).

Wow! Everybody should read this! This lady is someone who deserves a lot of respect! This text is fascinating in how it details the arm-twisting that goes on in power - nothing that would surprise us that it happens, but here it is described in black and white by a former government witness - including even such titbits as:

"if Jody is nervous, we would of course line up all kinds of people to write OpEds saying that what she is doing is proper."

Hey, James, you have some good Ministers over there in Canada, despite the more famous ones. Erm, well, one. Erm, well, had.

I am interested in some of the things she is declining to speak about (due to confidentiality of counsel issues), and am wondering if that might include the Huawei CFO issues, for which she was in a pertinent position. Any connections to the dates 11th February, and 19th February? (Actually I was travelling at that time so was out of the loop). Then there is the meeting with the PM on 17th September, requested 2 weeks earlier, which seems to have been intended primarily about something other than the SNC affair. The Huawei CFO was arrested in early December, I think, so that should be something else.

frances , Mar 1, 2019 12:19:47 PM | link
reply to Mig-21-Block 70-2022 89

"...Mig 21s just shot down brand new f-16s over in India.Whole world world including Chinese airmen are laughing.Well maybe except the starving Greeks threw 1 bill. eu out of the window for a new deal with Trumps Lokheed for f-16 modernizations."

Maybe laughing but maybe not, this fellow seems to feel they are evenly matched depending on their respective upgrades and concludes by saying it comes down to pilot expertise. BTW he considers Pak as having superior pilots.


frances , Mar 1, 2019 12:25:54 PM | link
reply to Scotch Bingeington 93
"....The picture they have in the article of Bolton watching over Trump is scary and probably very telling."

Yes, I am inclined to think Bolton was foisted upon him. I do think he chose Pompeo though.

Another very telling photo is that of Trump at Bush Sr.'s funeral, in the row behind him was Chaney, the look on Chaney's face as he stared at Trump's back was very interesting to me, he looked almost afraid.

karlof1 , Mar 1, 2019 2:14:11 PM | link
President Moon's confidence remains strong despite summit outcome. He tweeted this [machine translation] earlier today:

"Independence of spirit and national integration based on the 'faith based system'considerably.
Please gather all the power of the people.
Peace on the Korean peninsula will drive new economic growth across the North and South, encompassing Northeast Asia, ASEAN and Eurasia."

Today marks then 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Korean Independence, and Moon makes clear in his speech that there was and is only one Korea and one Korean people:

"One hundred years ago today, there was no South and North Korea.

"From Seoul and Pyeongyang to Jinnampo, Anju, Seoncheon, Uiju and Wonsan, loud chants of [the masses] erupted on the same day, and these calls for independence spread like a wildfire to every corner of the country.

"For two months from March 1, [mass] protests took place in 211 out of the total 220 cities and counties across the country regardless of the region – whether they belonged to what is now a part of South or North Korea."

Gotta love Moon's optimism in his closing remarks:

"The history of the past 100 years proves that we can achieve changes and innovation if we do not lose hope no matter how difficult our present reality is.

"Over the next 100 years, the growth of the people will directly lead to the growth of the nation. When unity is achieved from within by moving beyond ideological confrontations, and when peace and prosperity are accomplished from outside, genuine independence will be completed."

I'd be very interested in discovering what Kim did today. Hopefully, he, too, gave an address similar to Moon's.

james , Mar 1, 2019 3:49:21 PM | link
@94 BM - maybe Jody Wilson-Raybould can run for the prime ministers job if she can get on the top of the heap of the liberal party.. chances of this are slim!

[Mar 16, 2019] CIA Blames Its Proxy For Its Raid On North Korea's Embassy In Spain

Another CIA false flag?
Notable quotes:
"... At least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency ..."
"... Some of the assailants were Asian and spoke Korean language. They were probably from the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS), a subsidiary of the CIA know for its extremely hawkish politics. It often rigged elections in South Korea in support of hawkish conservatives candidates. ..."
"... A story was thought up and pushed to the favorite CIA outlet, the Washington Post . It wasn't the CIA which did it, writes the Post's national security reporter, it was a CIA controlled 'regime change' organization. ..."
"... The White Helmets, the MI-6 organization for 'regime change' in Syria, has the website domain "www.syriacivildefense.org". Cheollima's website domain is "www.cheollimacivildefense.org". The logos of the two organization are also somewhat similar. ..."
Mar 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

March 15, 2019 CIA Blames Its Proxy For Its Raid On North Korea's Embassy In Spain james , Mar 15, 2019 7:15:08 PM | link

The CIA is the main suspect in the military style raid on the North Korean embassy in Madrid. It now launched a somewhat hapless effort to deflect from it. The original Spanish report said :

At least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency. The CIA has denied any involvement but government sources say their response was "unconvincing."

That the CIA is the main suspect in the assault was reported on Wednesday in the Spanish mainstream paper El Pais . The paper made the extra effort to publish an abbreviated English language version . It was widely picked up by other international outlets . Some of the assailants were Asian and spoke Korean language. They were probably from the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS), a subsidiary of the CIA know for its extremely hawkish politics. It often rigged elections in South Korea in support of hawkish conservatives candidates.

Attacking a foreign embassy in a third country is far out of bounce of international law and diplomatic decency. After the El Pais report something had to be done to direct the attention away from the CIA and to find some other culprit.

A story was thought up and pushed to the favorite CIA outlet, the Washington Post . It wasn't the CIA which did it, writes the Post's national security reporter, it was a CIA controlled 'regime change' organization.

A shadowy group trying to overthrow Kim Jong Un raided a North Korean embassy in broad daylight

In broad daylight, masked assailants infiltrated North Korea's embassy in Madrid, restrained the staff with rope, stole computers and mobile phones, and fled the scene in two luxury vehicles.

The group behind the late February operation is known as Cheollima Civil Defense , a secretive dissident organization committed to overthrowing the Kim dynasty, people familiar with the planning and execution of the mission told The Washington Post.
...
People familiar with the incident say the group did not act in coordination with any governments. U.S. intelligence agencies would have been especially reluctant to do so given the sensitive timing and brazen nature of the mission. But the raid represents the most ambitious operation to date for an obscure organization that seeks to undermine the North Korean regime and encourage mass defections, they say.

The CIA agents, led by torture queen Gina Haspel, are snowflakes who would never break the law or cause some international outrage. It must have been some independent group:

"This group is the first known resistance movement against North Korea, which makes its activities very newsworthy," said Sung-Yoon Lee, a North Korea expert at Tufts University.

The identity of the assailants is a particularly sensitive topic given the delicate nature of Trump and Kim's relationship.
...
Any hint of U.S. involvement in an assault on a diplomatic compound could have derailed the talks , a prospect the CIA would likely be mindful of.

Derailing the talks was and is exactly what Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton wanted to do. We know that because the Post reported it on February 20, two days before the raid on the embassy and seven days before the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi:

Last month, in a lengthy speech at Stanford University, [Trump's special envoy Stephen E.] Biegun set out his vision for North Korea to dismantle its plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities in exchange for "corresponding measures" by the United States.

Hawks such as Bolton have fiercely opposed this "step-by-step" process in favor of maintaining maximum pressure through economic sanctions that would, in theory , force a better deal by eroding North Korea's resolve.

Tasking the CIA to raid a North Korean embassy to spoil the talks is exactly a thing John Bolton would do. The Post's shameful attempt to make believe otherwise is laughable :

"Infiltrating a North Korean embassy days before the nuclear summit would throw that all into jeopardy," said Sue Mi Terry, a former Korea analyst at the CIA . "This is not something the CIA would undertake."

The agency declined to comment.

We can of course fully believe the 'former' CIA analyst's assertion that the CIA never do such a thing. Aside from Bolton's urge to sabotage the negotiations it would have had no motive. Except, of course, it would have many:

Experts say the computers and phones seized in the raid amount to a treasure trove of information that foreign intelligence agencies are likely to seek out from the group.

In 2017 Spain asked the North Korean ambassador Kim Hyok Chol to leave. He is now the leader of the negotiations with the United States. To know everything about him is important. He may even be susceptible to blackmail:

The assailants also possess a video recording they took during the raid, which they could release anytime, said one person who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive and illegal operation.

The Spanish language version of the El Pais report had a side box that might explain the possible content of a video (machine translated):

One of the darkest aspects of the assault on the North Korean Embassy in Madrid is the interrogation to which the head of the command, who called himself The Entrepreneur, subjected the charge of business, leading the diplomatic delegation since the ambassador was expelled. The head of the commando separated the diplomat from the rest of the hostages and locked himself alone with him. It is not known what he intended, but the current head of the Pyongyang delegation in Madrid probably knows a lot about Kim Hyok Chol, head of the North Korean delegation in the nuclear negotiations before the US, with whom he coincided when the latter was ambassador in Madrid, between 2014 and 2017.

Mentioning a video recording taken during the raid is supposed to sow 'fear and doubt' in the North Korean negotiator.

The new Washington Post /CIA story goes on to describe the 'regime change' organization that is supposed to divert from the direct CIA involvement in the raid:

The Cheollima group, which also goes by the name Free Joseon, came to prominence in 2017 after it successfully evacuated the nephew of Kim Jong Un from Macau when potential threats to his life surfaced. The nephew was the son of Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean leader's exiled half brother who was assassinated in a nerve-gas attack in a Malaysian airport in 2017.

...

For safety reasons, the leader of the group does not disclose his name, and his identity is known only to a small group of people.

Cheollima is the name of a mythical horse in Chinese and Korean folklore. The Joseon dynasty ruled Korea from 1392 to 1897. It went down when Japan tried to gain control of the country which it achieved a few years later.

Kim Jong Nam was killed on February 13, 2017. In a redacted video his son Kim Han-sol thanks the people who picked him up. (They might want to use him as a future replacement for Kim Jong-un.) The video was recorded on February 15 2017 ("my father was killed two days ago"). It was published on March 7 2017 on a Cheollima channel on Youtube created on March 4 2017. The Cheollima website domain the group uses was anonymously registered in March 2017. It was updated on November 29 2918 shortly after the South Korean NIS received new orders from its headquarter in Washington DC.

Cheollima/Free Joseon also seeks defectors from North Korea. On February 28 2019 (not "in March" as the Post claims), the very same day the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi failed , Cheollima published a manifest that clearly aims at 'regime change' in North Korea:

WE DECLARE ON THIS DAY the establishment of Free Joseon, a provisional government preparing the foundations for a future nation built upon respect for principles of human rights and humanitarianism, holding sacred a manifest dignity for every woman, man, and child.

We declare this entity the sole legitimate representative of the Korean people of the north.

The U.S. driven 'regime change' attempt in Venezuela also has a figure that claims to be the "sole legitimate representative" while having zero power in that country.

The English version of the manifest reads like it was written by someone who is a native English speaker or at least studied English literature:

Joseon must and shall be free. Arise! Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves!

We reject the chains of our historic unrequited grief, declare henceforth a new era in our history, and prepare the way for a New Joseon. We therefore proclaim the birth of our revolution and our intentions towards building a more just and equal society, as truest expressions of the shared affections of our people.

A report on the manifest launch in the British Sun remarks :

The Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) organisation has declared itself as a shadow government which is working to overthrow the regime.
...
Not a lot is known about the CCD but some people believe it is linked to South Korea's spy agency.

The White Helmets, the MI-6 organization for 'regime change' in Syria, has the website domain "www.syriacivildefense.org". Cheollima's website domain is "www.cheollimacivildefense.org". The logos of the two organization are also somewhat similar.


Is there a corporate design/marketing company specialized in spy service cutouts for 'regime change'?

The 'former' CIA analyst in the Post piece 'predicts' that there will be more 'embassy raid' operations:

"In its messaging, the group said they have formed a provisional government to replace the regime in Pyongyang," said Terry, who is a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "They have now shown the seriousness of their intent and some capabilities to carry out operations. We will see in the coming months the extent of their capabilities."

While the CIA makes a hapless attempt to cover its traces in Madrid, North Korea continues to follow its game plan for the next round of negotiations. It prepares the public for a U.S. failure :

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will soon decide whether to continue diplomatic talks and maintain his moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests, a senior North Korean official said Friday, adding that the U.S. threw away a golden opportunity at the recent summit between their leaders.
...
She said Pyongyang now has no intention of compromising or continuing talks unless the United States takes measures that are commensurate to the changes it has taken -- such as the 15-month moratorium on launches and tests -- and changes its "political calculation."

The North Korean statement blames Bolton and Secretary of State Pompeo for the failure of the negotiations while it empathizes a special relation between Kim and Trump.

The signaled satellite launch by North Korea will proceed. It will push the Trump administration back to the starting point of its efforts to 'denuclearize' North Korea.

The difference now is that North Korea has earned good will in China and Russia. It showed its willingness to negotiate and stuck to its commitments made in the Joint Declaration in Singapore while the U.S. obviously refused to fulfill its parts. China and Russia already gave North Korea some unofficial 'sanction relief'. They are unlike to again support the failed 'maximum pressure' approach the Trump administrations once set out with.

The hapless CIA nonsense will not change those facts.

Posted by b on March 15, 2019 at 06:50 PM | Permalink

Comments thanks for this b.. fascinating.. reality is stranger then fiction.. trust the wapo prints mostly fiction to run to the cias rescue..

yeah, i just can't imagine the cia doing anything bad... that would really be unlike them!! the logo designers are going to have to be more creative, but until such time as they are, we can count on such branding that appears to come out of the same graphic design outfit.. i wonder how the poodle spain proceeds from here??


Zachary Smith , Mar 15, 2019 7:24:22 PM | link

Tasking the CIA to raid a North Korean embassy to spoil the talks is exactly a thing John Bolton would do.
So it was probably Bolton after all. If he had no authority to issue orders within the CIA, things would have been lots fuzzier with that "proxy". Especially if somebody was waving around shopping bags full of large bills. The other day at the xymphora site the blogger wrote this:
More Bolton hyper-aggression on multiple fronts. Bolton out of control is the best example of the complete deterioration of Trump. Remember it was Sheldon who forced Trump to appoint him, and the equally incompetent Abrams. One of the problems with the Deep State animosity towards Trump is that the 'adults' who would normally move in to fix this have relatively little influence over Trump, who is now flailing away under the influence of shekels and the most obvious blackmail I've ever seen.
Influence! But only today did I read a comment which caused me to add 2 + 2 to get 4.

It has to be Mossad-Epstein nasty pedophilia videos.

Maybe Trump will fire Bolton and Abrams. That's not the outcome I expect if the apartheid Jewish state holds videos demonstrating behavior both sinful and criminal.

Sally Snyder , Mar 15, 2019 7:26:01 PM | link
Here is an article that looks at what one former U.S. president had to say about trusting his own intelligence network:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/02/americas-intelligence-community-can.html

Given the current world geopolitical situation and the American intelligence network's close involvement in the Russian meddling narrative, it's looking this former president's assessment was prescient.

Yonatan , Mar 15, 2019 7:28:04 PM | link
"Is there a corporate design/marketing company specialized in spy service cutouts for 'regime change'?" (presumably rhetorical)

https://alexandrabader.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/otporinterna.jpg

steve , Mar 15, 2019 7:31:50 PM | link
It was not me defence does not work in real life. In the master of reality distortion field it is accepted effective SOP. My SITRAP tells me that this operating system is due to crash.
John , Mar 15, 2019 7:35:53 PM | link
Some more context on "Cheollima," in Korean mythology the Cheollima arrives to sanctify the founder of a new dynasty, thus quite literally a reference to "regime change." Also, Joseon is both a reference to the last dynasty and a reference to the official name of North Korea, which prefers "Joseon" to South Korea's "Han." Both terms are frequently used in Juche ideology, meaning they've worked out a communications strategy for this outfit that fits with the ruling ideology of the Communist Party.
robjira , Mar 15, 2019 8:11:15 PM | link
"We will see in the coming months the extent of their capabilities."
Followed by...
"While the CIA makes a hapless attempt to cover its traces in Madrid..."
My god, are these fkrs even trying to be subtle anymore, or are they (as the Saker has asserted) just that stupid? They sure as sheise aren't doing very well at the "cover its traces" part...
I'd also like to add that despite all the cracks about "little rocket man," "fat boy," pie, and cakes, etc., Kim Jong Un is proving to be just about as sharp as Kim Il Sung (I hear Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong is also very bright).
Excellent report; many thanks once again, b.
DontBelieveEitherPropaganda , Mar 15, 2019 8:17:49 PM | link
@B: Thanks for connecting the dots. Thats the great strength of MoA IMHO, that you put all details together, revealing the whole picture. Those details, that even supposed first class journalists dont (want to) remember. Thus enabling a look on the deeper truths.

@John: Thanks for the background info!

Trump IS being blackmailed. Not by Russia, but by Sheldon Adelson and Co. With the neocons in the admin being the price DJT and we all now pay.
That this can not end well, no matter if with Trump or Clinton or whoever, should be clear by now. The USA and us their vassals are on a path on which there are no happy endings i fear. Only crash and burn, and the near hope to rebuild something liveable out of the ruins. Dystopia.

dltravers , Mar 15, 2019 8:20:57 PM | link
Do not forget the Democrats hand in this. They want Trump to fail. They held the Cohen hearings while Trump was negotiating with Kim in Vietnam. Clearly that was intended to show that Trump is weak and not in control. Joined together with the embassy raid it shows the NK leadership that any promises made are not likely to be kept by the next administration.

Trump needs to change tack by backing off slightly on his demands and getting the UN more involved bypassing his national security establishment.
I cannot recall there ever being a regime change organization directed at North Korea.

All of this is obvious, the war party is using its resources to push North Korea away from the table. In my opinion the South is way to smart to swallow that BS. The South does have its war hawks as well but it appears that the desire for reunification is quite strong.

Piotr Berman , Mar 15, 2019 8:30:00 PM | link
The Tick 201 The Little Wooden Boy, part 2, dialog around 5:50 of the You Tube video:

Wonder Woman: "So it is true! The Swiss mean to take over the City!"

Anonymous person with gray mustache, a leader of a masked group, all armed in huge and very special Swiss Army Knives: "No, no, no, no! Silly American woman, we are certainly Swiss, but our actions IN NO WAY represent the policies of the Swiss government. Actually, we are more like, err, criminals."

Wonder Woman: "Yea, this is what they all say."

David , Mar 15, 2019 8:42:15 PM | link
Another possibility not mentioned is the possibility of a false flag operation carried out by the NOKO's themselves (or some other entity).
Jackrabbit , Mar 15, 2019 8:46:07 PM | link
1) AFAIK Bolton can't order the CIA to do anything.

2) If Bolton has any 'pull' it's because he is a neocon and advances their agenda (but he can't order CIA to do anything).

3) Gina Haspel is Brennan's gal at CIA. Trump appointed her as well as others connected to his (supposed) enemies like:

- VP Pence, long-time friend of John McCain;

Bolton, who Trump had praised long before the election;

William Barr, who is close to Robert Mueller;

4) In foreign policy, Trump plays the good cop to the Deep State's bad cop.

5) We've seen apologists give numerous excuses for Trump:

- he's a foreign policy neophyte, getting played by the neocons!

- he's playing 11-dimensional chess!

- Bolton!

The same sort of excuses were made for Obama, USA's previous faux populist President.

When people tire of the excuses, maybe they will start to see how a) faux populism is a political model that serves the establishment and b) revisit the 2016 Presidential election and connect the memory-holed dots:

- the Deep State wanted a nationalist President to counter the challenge from Russia-China ( Kissinger alluded to MAGA in his WSJ Op-Ed in August 2014) ;

- Trump was the ONLY populist running on the Republican side (out of 19 candidates!) ;

- Trump was close to the Clintons for years (even their daughters are close) ;

- Felix Sater worked for Trump for over a decade while an informant for Robert Mueller's FBI (Sater's family had Russian mob connections) ;

- Virtually all of the dubious Russian oligarch ties attributed to Trump are Jewish and are likely (if not known to be) more connected to Israel than Russia;

- Sanders was a sheepdog (this 25-year friend of Hillary's was not a real candidate) ;

- Hillary deliberately alienated key voter groups (Sanders progressives, BLM blacks, 'delorable' whites) ;

- CIA/MI6 'meddled' in the election and arranged to trap Wikileaks and Flynn and agents of Russia/Turkey.


6) USA/Trump/neocons were never interested in Korean peace. The first Summit was a PR event to further the Trump psyop.

.
Welcome to the rabbit hole.

Jen , Mar 15, 2019 9:12:00 PM | link
Jackrabbit @ 12 beat me in saying that John Bolton has no authority over the CIA to tell them to do anything but he's head of the NSA and that organisation could have been tasked with organising the raid using mercenaries.
Jackrabbit , Mar 15, 2019 9:40:15 PM | link
Jen

John Bolton is National Security Advisor (NSA), and as the name implies, it is an ADVISORY position (with no formal command authority):

The National Security Advisor participates in meetings of the National Security Council (NSC) and ... is supported by NSC staff who produce research and briefings ...

The influence and role of the National Security Advisor varies from administration to administration and depends not only on the qualities of the person appointed to the position, but also on the style and management philosophy of the incumbent President....

National Security Agency (NSA) is headed by Gen. Paul M. Nakasone:

... (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] . The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign and domestic intelligence and counterintelligence purposes ...
Jackrabbit , Mar 15, 2019 9:45:44 PM | link
Jen

I'm glad you reiterated the point (that Bolton has no such authority). It's an important one.

I rarely beat you at making important points, and even rarer do I make them as well as you do!

bevin , Mar 15, 2019 9:53:49 PM | link
No Bolton can't order the CIA to do anything. But he can indicate to the Korean Intelligence Service (Formerly known as the Korean CIA) that an attack on the Embassy would be a good thing to do.
There are rogue players here, one is the ultra right Korean deep state. Another is Japan. Both are committed to keeping US troops in Korea and to continuing to treat the North as an enemy.
Then there is the influence, in both Korea and Japan, of the Pentagon or elements within it equally committed to maintaining the status quo: permanent war with the North, permanent control over South Korea's forces, butting up to China's border, and the continued hostility between Japan and China.
One thing we do know is that the South Korean government will not have approved of this raid.
Sasha , Mar 15, 2019 9:59:37 PM | link
@Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 15, 2019 8:46:07 PM | 12

Agree in that Trump is not innocent at all, as clearly states Miles Copeland in an article linked by P. Armstrong in his last Russian SitRep ....

Ordinarily, when you get an order from headquarters you never obey it the first time because you're not sure they mean it. It might be some guy telling you to do something to get himself off the hook, being on record as having ordered it. So you always wait until the second time. But if there's a White House code word, you'd better take it seriously. The message from the White House said he was to assassinate Lumumba(...)

(...)my complaint has been that the CIA isn't overthrowing enough anti-American governments or assassinating enough anti-American leaders, but I guess I'm getting old. What's keeping the agency inactive is Congress and disinformed public opinion(...

Especially interesting the part dedicated to poisonoing, Skripal case comes to mind, taking into account the coordianted effort in expelling diplomats and the US expelling more than anybody, even than UK...

Trump approves all this outrage, it has his seal all the way...

Jackrabbit , Mar 15, 2019 10:20:47 PM | link
bevin:
But he can indicate to the Korean Intelligence Service ...
Any NSA that stepped out of bounds like that with out authorization would be sacked.

The point stands: Trump is not being undermined or blind-sided by Bolton, Trump approves of what Bolton does and has done.

In fact, Trump has admired Bolton for a long time. Two and a half years before appointing Bolton as NSA, Trump mentioned Bolton as someone that is his "go to" person for military/foreign affairs :

CHUCK TODD:

Who do you talk to for military advice right now? ... is there a go-to for you?

DONALD TRUMP:

Yeah, probably there are two or three. I mean, I like Bolton. I think he's, you know, a tough cookie, knows what he's talking about . Jacobs is a good guy--

CHUCK TODD:

Do you mean Ambassador John Bolton--

DONALD TRUMP:

Yes. I think he's terrific --

CHUCK TODD:

You mean Colonel Jack Jacobs?

DONALD TRUMP:

Colonel Jack Jacobs is a good guy. And I see him on occasion.

karlof1 , Mar 15, 2019 10:26:10 PM | link
With this quite obvious violation of International Law on top of the seemingly infinite previous violations, Pompeo and Bolton have tag teamed to tell the ICJ they'll sanction anyone that comes after any Outlaw US Empire individual, the threat itself likely being against the UN Charter and thus unlawful. I really don't have much further comment on this incident other than to reiterate that the United States of America should no longer be called that as it now proven beyond all doubt to be the Outlaw US Empire--internationally, the USA's Federal government's an Outlaw and must be treated as such. It's time to flip GW Bush's ultimatum on its head and tell every nation on the planet that if you're with the Outlaw US Empire then you're also an Outlaw, part of its Evil designs and abettor of its crimes. The UK & Zionistan have already proven themselves to be the top accomplices, with France and Canada their juniors. It's long past time to form an international posse, and no nation can claim ignorance.
mourning dove , Mar 15, 2019 10:38:43 PM | link
damn b, you just tear it up, thank you so much!!

[Mar 14, 2019] Who Attacked the North Korean Embassy in Spain

Mar 14, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The BBC reports on a very strange story from Spain about last month's attack on the North Korean embassy:

Spanish investigators are probing an alleged attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid.

On 22 February, a group of 10 assailants reportedly broke into the building, tying up, beating and interrogating eight people inside.

The incident took place just days before a key summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

And now there are reports US intelligence services were involved.

The alleged involvement of men with ties to the CIA was first reported in the Spanish daily El Pais . According to El Pais ' sources, the men that attacked the embassy may have been looking for information on North Korean diplomat Kim Hyok-chol, who had served as North Korea's ambassador to Spain until he was expelled in 2017. Kim has also been one of the leading officials involved in the negotiations with the U.S. over the last year.

Whatever the reason for it, invading another state's embassy and assaulting the personnel there obviously constitute gross violations of the conventions governing protections for diplomatic facilities. Judging from these reports, the attack was extraordinarily brazen and risky. It is doubtful that any information obtained from the devices that the assailants stole could have been worth the risk of attacking an embassy and beating up embassy staffers, but someone must have thought it was. If anyone connected with the U.S. government was involved, both Spain and North Korea will be understandably outraged. The intelligence committees in Congress should look into this matter to determine what role, if any, the U.S. government had in this incident.

Sid Finster March 14, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Note that El Pais is the Spanish equivalent of "solidly MSM", not the National Enquirer or Antisemitic Conspiracy Theorist Weekly Roundup.

[Feb 26, 2019] War whore. Well, they sure pay well

Feb 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

Asagirian says: Website February 26, 2019 at 4:34 pm GMT War whore. Well, they sure pay well.

Boeing taps Nikki Haley to join board of directors

hill.cm/f4w38Wm

0:19 AM-Feb 26, 2019

108 people are talking about this

follyofwar , says: February 26, 2019 at 6:12 pm GMT

@Asagirian I've read that she is still in line to primary Trump. Surely someone will, so it might as well be a neocon Israel-first Sikh woman who is even more ignorant and psychotic that our current Tweeter-in-Chief. If she wins, she can even keep Pompeo and Bolton to finish off Iran and start WWIII.

[Feb 11, 2019] The Making of Juan Guaidó How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela s Coup Leader by Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal

Dismal economic performance of Venezuelan economy and impoverishment of population created perfect environment for the color revolution...
Notable quotes:
"... But after a single phone call from from US Vice President Mike Pence, Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela. Anointed as the leader of his country by Washington, a previously unknown political bottom-dweller was vaulted onto the international stage as the US-selected leader of the nation with the world's largest oil reserves. ..."
"... CANVAS is a spinoff of Otpor, a Serbian protest group founded by Srdja Popovic in 1998 at the University of Belgrade. Otpor, which means "resistance" in Serbian, was the student group that gained international fame -- and Hollywood-level promotion -- by mobilizing the protests that eventually toppled Slobodan Milosevic. ..."
Jan 30, 2019 | grayzoneproject.com

Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington's elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization.

Before the fateful day of January 22, fewer than one in five Venezuelans had heard of Juan Guaidó. Only a few months ago, the 35-year-old was an obscure character in a politically marginal far-right group closely associated with gruesome acts of street violence. Even in his own party, Guaidó had been a mid-level figure in the opposition-dominated National Assembly, which is now held under contempt according to Venezuela's constitution.

But after a single phone call from from US Vice President Mike Pence, Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela. Anointed as the leader of his country by Washington, a previously unknown political bottom-dweller was vaulted onto the international stage as the US-selected leader of the nation with the world's largest oil reserves.

Echoing the Washington consensus, the New York Times editorial board hailed Guaidó as a "credible rival" to Maduro with a "refreshing style and vision of taking the country forward." The Bloomberg News editorial board applauded him for seeking "restoration of democracy" and the Wall Street Journal declared him "a new democratic leader." Meanwhile, Canada, numerous European nations, Israel, and the bloc of right-wing Latin American governments known as the Lima Group recognized Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

While Guaidó seemed to have materialized out of nowhere, he was, in fact, the product of more than a decade of assiduous grooming by the US government's elite regime change factories. Alongside a cadre of right-wing student activists, Guaidó was cultivated to undermine Venezuela's socialist-oriented government, destabilize the country, and one day seize power. Though he has been a minor figure in Venezuelan politics, he had spent years quietly demonstrated his worthiness in Washington's halls of power.

"Juan Guaidó is a character that has been created for this circumstance," Marco Teruggi, an Argentinian sociologist and leading chronicler of Venezuelan politics, told The Grayzone . "It's the logic of a laboratory – Guaidó is like a mixture of several elements that create a character who, in all honesty, oscillates between laughable and worrying."

Diego Sequera, a Venezuelan journalist and writer for the investigative outlet Misión Verdad, agreed: "Guaidó is more popular outside Venezuela than inside, especially in the elite Ivy League and Washington circles," Sequera remarked to The Grayzone, "He's a known character there, is predictably right-wing, and is considered loyal to the program."

While Guaidó is today sold as the face of democratic restoration, he spent his career in the most violent faction of Venezuela's most radical opposition party, positioning himself at the forefront of one destabilization campaign after another. His party has been widely discredited inside Venezuela, and is held partly responsible for fragmenting a badly weakened opposition.

"'These radical leaders have no more than 20 percent in opinion polls," wrote Luis Vicente León, Venezuela's leading pollster. According to León, Guaidó's party remains isolated because the majority of the population "does not want war. 'What they want is a solution.'"

But this is precisely why he Guaidó was selected by Washington: He is not expected to lead Venezuela toward democracy, but to collapse a country that for the past two decades has been a bulwark of resistance to US hegemony. His unlikely rise signals the culmination of a two decades-long project to destroy a robust socialist experiment.

Targeting the "troika of tyranny"

Since the 1998 election of Hugo Chávez, the United States has fought to restore control over Venezuela and is vast oil reserves. Chávez's socialist programs may have redistributed the country's wealth and helped lift millions out of poverty, but they also earned him a target on his back.

In 2002, Venezuela's right-wing opposition briefly ousted Chávez with US support and recognition, before the military restored his presidency following a mass popular mobilization. Throughout the administrations of US Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Chávez survived numerous assassination plots, before succumbing to cancer in 2013. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, has survived three attempts on his life.

The Trump administration immediately elevated Venezuela to the top of Washington's regime change target list, branding it the leader of a "troika of tyranny." Last year, Trump's national security team attempted to recruit members of the military brass to mount a military junta, but that effort failed.

According to the Venezuelan government, the US was also involved in a plot, codenamed Operation Constitution, to capture Maduro at the Miraflores presidential palace; and another, called Operation Armageddon , to assassinate him at a military parade in July 2017. Just over a year later, exiled opposition leaders tried and failed to kill Maduro with drone bombs during a military parade in Caracas.

More than a decade before these intrigues, a group of right-wing opposition students were hand-selected and groomed by an elite US-funded regime change training academy to topple Venezuela's government and restore the neoliberal order.

Training from the "'export-a-revolution' group that sowed the seeds for a NUMBER of color revolutions"

On October 5, 2005, with Chávez's popularity at its peak and his government planning sweeping socialist programs, five Venezuelan "student leaders" arrived in Belgrade, Serbia to begin training for an insurrection.

The students had arrived from Venezuela courtesy of the Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies, or CANVAS. This group is funded largely through the National Endowment for Democracy , a CIA cut-out that functions as the US government's main arm of promoting regime change; and offshoots like the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. According to leaked internal emails from Stratfor, an intelligence firm known as the " shadow CIA ," CANVAS "may have also received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milosevic struggle."

CANVAS is a spinoff of Otpor, a Serbian protest group founded by Srdja Popovic in 1998 at the University of Belgrade. Otpor, which means "resistance" in Serbian, was the student group that gained international fame -- and Hollywood-level promotion -- by mobilizing the protests that eventually toppled Slobodan Milosevic.

This small cell of regime change specialists was operating according to the theories of the late Gene Sharp, the so-called "Clausewitz of non-violent struggle." Sharp had worked with a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, Col. Robert Helvey , to conceive a strategic blueprint that weaponized protest as a form of hybrid warfare, aiming it at states that resisted Washington's unipolar domination.

Otpor at the 1998 MTV Europe Music Awards

Otpor was supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID, and Sharp's Albert Einstein Institute. Sinisa Sikman, one of Otpor's main trainers, once said the group even received direct CIA funding.

According to a leaked email from a Stratfor staffer, after running Milosevic out of power, "the kids who ran OTPOR grew up, got suits and designed CANVAS or in other words a 'export-a-revolution' group that sowed the seeds for a NUMBER of color revolutions. They are still hooked into U.S. funding and basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;)."

Stratfor revealed that CANVAS "turned its attention to Venezuela" in 2005, after training opposition movements that led pro-NATO regime change operations across Eastern Europe.

While monitoring the CANVAS training program, Stratfor outlined its insurrectionist agenda in strikingly blunt language: "Success is by no means guaranteed, and student movements are only at the beginning of what could be a years-long effort to trigger a revolution in Venezuela, but the trainers themselves are the people who cut their teeth on the 'Butcher of the Balkans.'ť They've got mad skills. When you see students at five Venezuelan universities hold simultaneous demonstrations, you will know that the training is over and the real work has begun."

Birthing the "Generation 2007" regime change cadre

The "real work" began two years later, in 2007, when Guaidó graduated from Andrés Bello Catholic University of Caracas. He moved to Washington, DC to enroll in the Governance and Political Management Program at George Washington University, under the tutelage of Venezuelan economist Luis Enrique Berrizbeitia, one of the top Latin American neoliberal economists. Berrizbeitia is a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who spent more than a decade working in the Venezuelan energy sector, under the old oligarchic regime that was ousted by Chávez.

That year, Guaidó helped lead anti-government rallies after the Venezuelan government declined to to renew the license of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV). This privately owned station played a leading role in the 2002 coup against Hugo Chávez. RCTV helped mobilize anti-government demonstrators, falsified information blaming government supporters for acts of violence carried out by opposition members, and banned pro-government reporting amid the coup. The role of RCTV and other oligarch-owned stations in driving the failed coup attempt was chronicled in the acclaimed documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised .

That same year, the students claimed credit for stymying Chavez's constitutional referendum for a "21st century socialism" that promised "to set the legal framework for the political and social reorganization of the country, giving direct power to organized communities as a prerequisite for the development of a new economic system."

From the protests around RCTV and the referendum, a specialized cadre of US-backed class of regime change activists was born. They called themselves "Generation 2007."

The Stratfor and CANVAS trainers of this cell identified Guaidó's ally – a street organizer named Yon Goicoechea – as a "key factor" in defeating the constitutional referendum. The following year, Goicochea was rewarded for his efforts with the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, along with a $500,000 prize, which he promptly invested into building his own Liberty First (Primero Justicia) political network.

Friedman, of course, was the godfather of the notorious neoliberal Chicago Boys who were imported into Chile by dictatorial junta leader Augusto Pinochet to implement policies of radical "shock doctrine"-style fiscal austerity. And the Cato Institute is the libertarian Washington DC-based think tank founded by the Koch Brothers, two top Republican Party donors who have become aggressive supporters of the right-wing across Latin America.

Wikileaks published a 2007 email from American ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield sent to the State Department, National Security Council and Department of Defense Southern Command praising "Generation of '07" for having "forced the Venezuelan president, accustomed to setting the political agenda, to (over)react." Among the "emerging leaders" Brownfield identified were Freddy Guevara and Yon Goicoechea. He applauded the latter figure as "one of the students' most articulate defenders of civil liberties."

Flush with cash from libertarian oligarchs and US government soft power outfits, the radical Venezuelan cadre took their Otpor tactics to the streets, along with a version of the group's logo, as seen below:

"Galvanizing public unrest to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez"

In 2009, the Generation 2007 youth activists staged their most provocative demonstration yet, dropping their pants on public roads and aping the outrageous guerrilla theater tactics outlined by Gene Sharp in his regime change manuals. The protesters had mobilized against the arrest of an ally from another newfangled youth group called JAVU. This far-right group "gathered funds from a variety of US government sources, which allowed it to gain notoriety quickly as the hardline wing of opposition street movements," according to academic George Ciccariello-Maher's book, "Building the Commune."

While video of the protest is not available, many Venezuelans have identified Guaidó as one of its key participants. While the allegation is unconfirmed, it is certainly plausible; the bare-buttocks protesters were members of the Generation 2007 inner core that Guaidó belonged to, and were clad in their trademark Resistencia! Venezuela t-shirts, as seen below:

That year, Guaidó exposed himself to the public in another way, founding a political party to capture the anti-Chavez energy his Generation 2007 had cultivated. Called Popular Will, it was led by Leopoldo López , a Princeton-educated right-wing firebrand heavily involved in National Endowment for Democracy programs and elected as the mayor of a district in Caracas that was one of the wealthiest in the country. Lopez was a portrait of Venezuelan aristocracy, directly descended from his country's first president. He was also the first cousin of Thor Halvorssen , founder of the US-based Human Rights Foundation that functions as a de facto publicity shop for US-backed anti-government activists in countries targeted by Washington for regime change.

Though Lopez's interests aligned neatly with Washington's, US diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks highlighted the fanatical tendencies that would ultimately lead to Popular Will's marginalization. One cable identified Lopez as "a divisive figure within the opposition often described as arrogant, vindictive, and power-hungry." Others highlighted his obsession with street confrontations and his "uncompromising approach" as a source of tension with other opposition leaders who prioritized unity and participation in the country's democratic institutions.

By 2010, Popular Will and its foreign backers moved to exploit the worst drought to hit Venezuela in decades. Massive electricity shortages had struck the country due the dearth of water, which was needed to power hydroelectric plants. A global economic recession and declining oil prices compounded the crisis, driving public discontentment.

Stratfor and CANVAS – key advisors of Guaidó and his anti-government cadre – devised a shockingly cynical plan to drive a dagger through the heart of the Bolivarian revolution. The scheme hinged on a 70% collapse of the country's electrical system by as early as April 2010.

"This could be the watershed event, as there is little that Chavez can do to protect the poor from the failure of that system," the Stratfor internal memo declared. "This would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate. At that point in time, an opposition group would be best served to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez and towards their needs."

By this point, the Venezuelan opposition was receiving a staggering $40-50 million a year from US government organizations like USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy, according to a report by the Spanish think tank, the FRIDE Institute. It also had massive wealth to draw on from its own accounts, which were mostly outside the country.

While the scenario envisioned by Statfor did not come to fruition, the Popular Will party activists and their allies cast aside any pretense of non-violence and joined a radical plan to destabilize the country.

Towards violent destabilization

In November, 2010, according to emails obtained by Venezuelan security services and presented by former Justice Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres, Guaidó, Goicoechea, and several other student activists attended a secret five-day training at the Fiesta Mexicana hotel in Mexico City. The sessions were run by Otpor, the Belgrade-based regime change trainers backed by the US government. The meeting had reportedly received the blessing of Otto Reich, a fanatically anti-Castro Cuban exile working in George W. Bush's Department of State, and the right-wing former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

At the Fiesta Mexicana hotel, the emails stated, Guaidó and his fellow activists hatched a plan to overthrow President Hugo Chavez by generating chaos through protracted spasms of street violence.

Three petroleum industry figureheads – Gustavo Torrar, Eligio Cedeńo and Pedro Burelli – allegedly covered the $52,000 tab to hold the meeting. Torrar is a self-described "human rights activist" and "intellectual" whose younger brother Reynaldo Tovar Arroyo is the representative in Venezuela of the private Mexican oil and gas company Petroquimica del Golfo, which holds a contract with the Venezuelan state.

Cedeńo, for his part, is a fugitive Venezuelan businessman who claimed asylum in the United States, and Pedro Burelli a former JP Morgan executive and the former director of Venezuela's national oil company, Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA). He left PDVSA in 1998 as Hugo Chavez took power and is on the advisory committee of Georgetown University's Latin America Leadership Program.

Burelli insisted that the emails detailing his participation had been fabricated and even hired a private investigator to prove it. The investigator declared that Google's records showed the emails alleged to be his were never transmitted.

Yet today Burelli makes no secret of his desire to see Venezuela's current president, Nicolás Maduro, deposed – and even dragged through the streets and sodomized with a bayonet, as Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi was by NATO-backed militiamen.

The alleged Fiesta Mexicana plot flowed into another destabilization plan revealed in a series of documents produced by the Venezuelan government. In May 2014, Caracas released documents detailing an assassination plot against President Nicolás Maduro. The leaks identified the Miami-based Maria Corina Machado as a leader of the scheme. A hardliner with a penchant for extreme rhetoric, Machado has functioned as an international liaison for the opposition, visiting President George W. Bush in 2005.

"I think it is time to gather efforts; make the necessary calls, and obtain financing to annihilate Maduro and the rest will fall apart," Machado wrote in an email to former Venezuelan diplomat Diego Arria in 2014.

In another email , Machado claimed that the violent plot had the blessing of US Ambassador to Colombia, Kevin Whitaker. "I have already made up my mind and this fight will continue until this regime is overthrown and we deliver to our friends in the world. If I went to San Cristobal and exposed myself before the OAS, I fear nothing. Kevin Whitaker has already reconfirmed his support and he pointed out the new steps. We have a checkbook stronger than the regime's to break the international security ring."

Guaidó heads to the barricades

That February, student demonstrators acting as shock troops for the exiled oligarchy erected violent barricades across the country, turning opposition-controlled quarters into violent fortresses known as guarimbas . While international media portrayed the upheaval as a spontaneous protest against Maduro's iron-fisted rule, there was ample evidence that Popular Will was orchestrating the show.

"None of the protesters at the universities wore their university t-shirts, they all wore Popular Will or Justice First t-shirts," a guarimba participant said at the time. "They might have been student groups, but the student councils are affiliated to the political opposition parties and they are accountable to them."

Asked who the ringleaders were, the guarimba participant said, "Well if I am totally honest, those guys are legislators now."

Around 43 were killed during the 2014 guarimbas . Three years later, they erupted again, causing mass destruction of public infrastructure, the murder of government supporters, and the deaths of 126 people, many of whom were Chavistas. In several cases, supporters of the government were burned alive by armed gangs.

Guaidó was directly involved in the 2014 guarimbas . In fact, he tweeted video showing himself clad in a helmet and gas mask, surrounded by masked and armed elements that had shut down a highway that were engaging in a violent clash with the police. Alluding to his participation in Generation 2007, he proclaimed, "I remember in 2007, we proclaimed, 'Students!' Now, we shout, 'Resistance! Resistance!'"

Guaidó has deleted the tweet, demonstrating apparent concern for his image as a champion of democracy.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/bh4DjOUsShQ

On February 12, 2014, during the height of that year's guarimbas , Guaidó joined Lopez on stage at a rally of Popular Will and Justice First. During a lengthy diatribe against the government, Lopez urged the crowd to march to the office of Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz. Soon after, Diaz's office came under attack by armed gangs who attempted to burn it to the ground. She denounced what she called "planned and premeditated violence."

In an televised appearance in 2016, Guaidó dismissed deaths resulting from guayas – a guarimba tactic involving stretching steel wire across a roadway in order to injure or kill motorcyclists – as a "myth." His comments whitewashed a deadly tactic that had killed unarmed civilians like Santiago Pedroza and decapitated a man named Elvis Durán, among many others.

This callous disregard for human life would define his Popular Will party in the eyes of much of the public, including many opponents of Maduro.

Cracking down on Popular Will

As violence and political polarization escalated across the country, the government began to act against the Popular Will leaders who helped stoke it.

Freddy Guevara, the National Assembly Vice-President and second in command of Popular Will, was a principal leader in the 2017 street riots. Facing a trial for his role in the violence, Guevara took shelter in the Chilean embassy, where he remains.

Lester Toledo, a Popular Will legislator from the state of Zulia, was wanted by Venezuelan government in September 2016 on charges of financing terrorism and plotting assassinations. The plans were said to be made with former Colombian President Álavaro Uribe. Toledo escaped Venezuela and went on several speaking tours with Human Rights Watch, the US government-backed Freedom House, the Spanish Congress and European Parliament.

Carlos Graffe, another Otpor-trained Generation 2007 member who led Popular Will, was arrested in July 2017. According to police, he was in possession of a bag filled with nails, C4 explosives and a detonator. He was released on December 27, 2017.

Leopoldo Lopez, the longtime Popular Will leader, is today under house arrest, accused of a key role in deaths of 13 people during the guarimbas in 2014. Amnesty International lauded Lopez as a "prisoner of conscience" and slammed his transfer from prison to house as "not good enough." Meanwhile, family members of guarimba victims introduced a petition for more charges against Lopez.

Yon Goicoechea, the Koch Brothers posterboy and US-backed founder of Justice First, was arrested in 2016 by security forces who claimed they found found a kilo of explosives in his vehicle. In a New York Times op-ed , Goicoechea protested the charges as "trumped-up" and claimed he had been imprisoned simply for his "dream of a democratic society, free of Communism." He was freed in November 2017.

David Smolansky, also a member of the original Otpor-trained Generation 2007, became Venezuela's youngest-ever mayor when he was elected in 2013 in the affluent suburb of El Hatillo. But he was stripped of his position and sentenced to 15 months in prison by the Supreme Court after it found him culpable of stirring the violent guarimbas .

Facing arrest, Smolansky shaved his beard, donned sunglasses and slipped into Brazil disguised as a priest with a bible in hand and rosary around his neck. He now lives in Washington, DC, where he was hand picked by Secretary of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro to lead the working group on the Venezuelan migrant and refugee crisis.

This July 26, Smolansky held what he called a "cordial reunion" with Elliot Abrams, the convicted Iran-Contra felon installed by Trump as special US envoy to Venezuela. Abrams is notorious for overseeing the US covert policy of arming right-wing death squads during the 1980's in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. His lead role in the Venezuelan coup has stoked fears that another blood-drenched proxy war might be on the way.

Four days earlier, Machado rumbled another violent threat against Maduro, declaring that if he "wants to save his life, he should understand that his time is up."

A pawn in their game

The collapse of Popular Will under the weight of the violent campaign of destabilization it ran alienated large sectors of the public and wound much of its leadership up in exile or in custody. Guaidó had remained a relatively minor figure, having spent most of his nine-year career in the National Assembly as an alternate deputy. Hailing from one of Venezuela's least populous states, Guaidó came in second place during the 2015 parliamentary elections, winning just 26% of votes cast in order to secure his place in the National Assembly. Indeed, his bottom may have been better known than his face.

Guaidó is known as the president of the opposition-dominated National Assembly, but he was never elected to the position. The four opposition parties that comprised the Assembly's Democratic Unity Table had decided to establish a rotating presidency. Popular Will's turn was on the way, but its founder, Lopez, was under house arrest. Meanwhile, his second-in-charge, Guevara, had taken refuge in the Chilean embassy. A figure named Juan Andrés Mejía would have been next in line but reasons that are only now clear, Juan Guaido was selected.

"There is a class reasoning that explains Guaidó's rise," Sequera, the Venezuelan analyst, observed. "Mejía is high class, studied at one of the most expensive private universities in Venezuela, and could not be easily marketed to the public the way Guaidó could. For one, Guaidó has common mestizo features like most Venezuelans do, and seems like more like a man of the people. Also, he had not been overexposed in the media, so he could be built up into pretty much anything."

In December 2018, Guaidó sneaked across the border and junketed to Washington, Colombia and Brazil to coordinate the plan to hold mass demonstrations during the inauguration of President Maduro. The night before Maduro's swearing-in ceremony, both Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called Guaidó to affirm their support.

A week later, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rick Scott and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart – all lawmakers from the Florida base of the right-wing Cuban exile lobby – joined President Trump and Vice President Pence at the White House. At their request, Trump agreed that if Guaidó declared himself president, he would back him.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met personally withGuaidó on January 10, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, Pompeo could not pronounce Guaidó's name when he mentioned him in a press briefing on January 25, referring to him as "Juan Guido."

By January 11, Guaidó's Wikipedia page had been edited 37 times, highlighting the struggle to shape the image of a previously anonymous figure who was now a tableau for Washington's regime change ambitions. In the end, editorial oversight of his page was handed over to Wikipedia's elite council of "librarians," who pronounced him the "contested" president of Venezuela.

Guaidó might have been an obscure figure, but his combination of radicalism and opportunism satisfied Washington's needs. "That internal piece was missing," a Trump administration said of Guaidó. "He was the piece we needed for our strategy to be coherent and complete."

"For the first time," Brownfield, the former American ambassador to Venezuela, gushed to the New York Times, "you have an opposition leader who is clearly signaling to the armed forces and to law enforcement that he wants to keep them on the side of the angels and with the good guys."

But Guaidó's Popular Will party formed the shock troops of the guarimbas that caused the deaths of police officers and common citizens alike. He had even boasted of his own participation in street riots. And now, to win the hearts and minds of the military and police, Guaido had to erase this blood-soaked history.

On January 21, a day before the coup began in earnest, Guaidó's wife delivered a video address calling on the military to rise up against Maduro. Her performance was wooden and uninspiring, underscoring the her husband's limited political prospects.

At a press conference before supporters four days later, Guaidó announced his solution to the crisis: "Authorize a humanitarian intervention!"

While he waits on direct assistance, Guaidó remains what he has always been – a pet project of cynical outside forces. "It doesn't matter if he crashes and burns after all these misadventures," Sequera said of the coup figurehead. "To the Americans, he is expendable."


Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including best-selling Republican Gomorrah , Goliath , The Fifty One Day War , and The Management of Savagery . He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries, including Killing Gaza . Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America's state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

Dan Cohen Dan Cohen is a journalist and filmmaker. He has produced widely distributed video reports and print dispatches from across Israel-Palestine. Dan is a correspondent at RT America and tweets at @ DanCohen3000 . http://www.dancohenmedia.com/

[Feb 11, 2019] US sanctions, threats striving for a civil war is not just "doing something" but doing something wrong (but then, who gives a fuck for international law ? Who respects sovereignty ?)

Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

animalogic , says: February 3, 2019 at 9:15 am GMT

@Tyrion 2 good, as Venezuela "resists" America." This is complete nonsense. "Doing things" is corrupt" ? Thus, doing nothing is "good ? I mean, WHAT ? Venezuela is not "good", per se, except that in this particular case of international relations its largely innocent . The US has unilaterally decided that the election loser is the election

winner

( Clinton actually "won" in 2016; she's the real president).
US sanctions, threats & striving for a civil war is not just "doing something" –but doing something wrong (but then, who gives a fuck for international law ? Who respects sovereignty ?)

Tyrion 2 , says: February 3, 2019 at 1:28 pm GMT
@animalogic America is to blame?

What a despicable ideology makes people think like that? It is cloying and maudlin and resentful.

US sanctions, threats & striving for a civil war is not just "doing something" –but doing something wrong (but then, who gives a fuck for international law ? Who respects sovereignty ?

Sovereignty is exercised by the legitimate government. Maduro is not the legitimate head of the Venezuelan government. Expecting him to step down or at least call a proper Presidential election is respecting this.

We can argue about that, but pearl clutching appeals to "but America is competent so America is bad" are gross.

Uncommonground , says: February 3, 2019 at 2:10 pm GMT
@Tyrion 2 Your mindless postmodernism is astonishing. So you think that facts don' t matter and you haven't noticed that people are commenting facts based on what is happening, what different acteurs have done? If you have no idea about Venezuela, why don't you read what Mark Weisbrot or Max Blumenthal and others have written about the theme recently?

[Feb 10, 2019] US to Use All Tools to Stop President Maduro's Revenue Streams - Bolton

Feb 10, 2019 | sputniknews.com

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States will continue to use all measures available to stop Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's revenue streams, National Security Advisor John Bolton said in a statement on Friday.

"The US will continue to use all tools to separate Maduro [and] his cronies from money that rightfully belongs to the people of Venezuela", Bolton said via Twitter. "Those who continue to plunder the resources of Venezuela & stand against its people will not be forgotten".

He also called on Russia and other nations to recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuelan President.

Bolton added that countries and companies buying Venezuelan oil must take steps to ensure that President Nicolas Maduro and his government cannot access and divert the payments for their own use. In late January, the United States blocked all assets of Venezuela's state energy giant PDVSA in its jurisdiction and imposed a ban on deals with the company. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained the United States was taking care of the PDVSA in the interests of the Venezuelan people and also protecting its own market.

On January 23, opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela after the opposition-controlled National Assembly claimed Maduro has usurped power. The United States and some of its allies have recognised Guaido as interim president.

Russia, China, Mexico and several other countries have said they recognise Maduro as Venezuela's only legitimate president.

Maduro has accused the United States of orchestrating a coup and informed the US of his decision to sever diplomatic relations. Washington, however, has refused to withdraw its diplomatic mission personnel from the Latin American country.

[Feb 10, 2019] US Contacting Venezuelan Military Officials Directly to Urge Defections - Report - Sputnik International

Notable quotes:
"... The US State Department announced last month that Washington froze some $7 billion in assets belonging to Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA in order to make some of that money available to Guaido and his team. ..."
"... Maduro, after launching a signature-gathering campaign against alleged US interference, has repeatedly stressed his sentiment that the main objective behind Washington's interest in the political outcome in Venezuela is the nation's oil reserves, said to the largest in the world. ..."
Feb 10, 2019 | sputniknews.com

The US intelligence community is directly communicating with members of Venezuela's military in attempts to convince them to abandon beleaguered President Nicolas Maduro while also considering additional sanctions to ramp up the pressure, a senior White House official divulged to Reuters. Despite the fact that only a few senior officers have to date abandoned Maduro, the Trump administration expects additional military personnel to jump ship.

In late January, Juan Guaido, the head of the opposition-led National Assembly, proclaimed himself the South American nation's interim president, in a move swiftly recognized by the US and a handful of other countries.

"We believe these to be those first couple pebbles before we start really seeing bigger rocks rolling down the hill," the unnamed White House official speaking on a condition of anonymity, told Reuters. "We're still having conversations with members of the former Maduro regime, with military members, although those conversations are very, very limited."

The unnamed official did not provide additional details regarding what form motivation was being offered to top military officials to gain their support, according to Reuters.

Many members of the Venezuelan military remain loyal to Maduro, mostly in fear of being targeted by the embattled leader. To convince those on-the-fence members to abandon Maduro, the US must offer something that makes a turncoat move worthwhile, noted Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas think tank in Washington.

"It depends on what they're offering," Farnsworth told Reuters. "Are there incentives built into these contacts that will at least cause people to question their loyalty to the regime?"

A few European nations have joined the Trump administration in its support of Guaido as the interim president, although those nations professing political support have not taken the additional step of backing US sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil giant PDVSA as well as other restrictions on financial transactions imposed by Washington.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro © AP Photo / Ariana Cubillos Montevideo Calls Venezuela's Guaido 'More Non-Legitimate' Than Maduro's Gov't

The US State Department announced last month that Washington froze some $7 billion in assets belonging to Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA in order to make some of that money available to Guaido and his team.

According to the US official who spoke anonymously to Reuters, the Trump administration is also considering imposing sanctions on Cuban military and intelligence officials who are thought to be assisting Maduro.

Maduro, after launching a signature-gathering campaign against alleged US interference, has repeatedly stressed his sentiment that the main objective behind Washington's interest in the political outcome in Venezuela is the nation's oil reserves, said to the largest in the world.

[Feb 09, 2019] Backing Maduro could be costly for Moscow

Notable quotes:
"... Recently, Guaido addressed both Russia and China, trying to convince them that a change in government would actually be in their economic interests. "What most suits Russia and China is a change of government," he said. "Maduro does not protect Venezuela, he doesn't protect anyone's investments, and he is not a good deal for those countries." ..."
"... But despite these power projection ploys, Russia's real capabilities to influence the outcome of the crisis seem limited. After a new US oil embargo against PDVSA was announced last week, Maduro's regime was cut off from its main source of revenue. Analysts say that the fate of Venezuela now rests in the hands of the military – on whether, and how long, it will remain loyal to Maduro. ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | www.asiatimes.com

As of 2017, Russia controlled 13% of Venezuela's crude exports, Reuters reported . According to some experts, Rosneft has been taking advantage of Venezuela's difficulties to secure deals which will be profitable in the long term.

The Kremlin's point man for Venezuela is Igor Sechin, CEO of Russian state-owned company Rosneft and a close Putin ally, who has made frequent visits to Caracas in recent years. Rosneft has provided $6 billion in loans to PDVSA, which is repaying them with oil. Rosneft has also gained a share of ownership in five of Venezuela's petroleum projects, while playing a middleman role in global markets, selling Venezuelan oil on to customers worldwide.

However, Russia's investments in Venezuela look far from lucrative. In 2017 the two countries agreed to restructure Venezuela's debt, amounting to over $3 billion, by shifting the repayment terms to 2027.

The beleaguered country's economy is on the verge of collapse and the oil sector, which accounts for over 90% of national export revenues, has not been spared. Last year, oil production dropped by 37% compared with 2017. So, Maduro has been struggling to pay back the loans and last year, Sechin had to fly to Caracas to negotiate with the Venezuelan leader over delayed oil supplies.

Russia's concern about a collapse in Venezuela's economy is tangible. A delegation of high-ranking Russian officials flew to Caracas in October to advise the government on how to overcome the crisis. With the country in a state of turmoil, Russia's Deputy Minister of Finance Sergei Storchak said he expects Venezuela to struggle to repay its debt, and the next $100 million tranche is due next month.

... ... ...

Recently, Guaido addressed both Russia and China, trying to convince them that a change in government would actually be in their economic interests. "What most suits Russia and China is a change of government," he said. "Maduro does not protect Venezuela, he doesn't protect anyone's investments, and he is not a good deal for those countries."

But Russia's switch of sides is highly unlikely at this point, for economic interests are not the only factor involved.

Russian bridgehead

As Krutikhin pointed out, supporting Maduro is a matter of principle for Russia. Betraying Maduro at this point would make the Kremlin look weak in front of its domestic audience.

Also, Russia's support for the Maduro regime is based on geopolitics. Together, with Ecuador, Bolivia and Cuba, Maduro's regime is a key Russian ally on the American continent.

This alliance is essentially a Cold War legacy, dating back to when the Kremlin actively supported anti-US governments in Latin America, such as Fidel Castro's Cuba and the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.

Today, Putin's Russia is defying the US-led world order by supporting leaders such as Syria's Bashar Assad and Maduro's Venezuela, even though, in the case of the latter, that comes with substantial economic costs.

In return, Venezuela has been taking Russia's side in international disputes. One example came after the brief Russo-Georgian conflict in 2008. Venezuela was among the few states recognizing the Russia-backed breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

On the strategic front, Russia has been granting Venezuela multi-billion dollar loans to buy Russian heavy weaponry, such as Sukhoi fighter jets, T-72 tanks and S-300 air defense systems.

In return, Maduro has been offering Russia a platform to showcase its military power right in the US backyard. In late 2018, Russian TU-160 strategic bombers – which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons – flew to Caracas for joint exercises. That provided proof of Russia's global reach in a region a long way from its traditional area of influence.

According to Reuters, Russian military contractors arrived recently in Caracas to protect Maduro from a possible violent coup. The mercenaries reportedly belong to the secretive private military company "Wagner," which has been defending Russian interests in both Syria and Eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin, however, denied these claims.

But despite these power projection ploys, Russia's real capabilities to influence the outcome of the crisis seem limited. After a new US oil embargo against PDVSA was announced last week, Maduro's regime was cut off from its main source of revenue. Analysts say that the fate of Venezuela now rests in the hands of the military – on whether, and how long, it will remain loyal to Maduro.

For Russia, a best-case scenario looks unlikely.

If Guaido's revolution succeeds, Russia will lose a major ally in the region. If Maduro manages to hold on to power, the Kremlin will preserve its geopolitical foothold, but at a hefty economic price.

[Feb 09, 2019] Americans Should Reject Military Intervention in Venezuela

The problem for the USA military intervention is whether the Venezuelan resistance can make it a second Iraq?
Notable quotes:
"... It is stupid and dangerous for Guaido to be talking about U.S. military intervention, and in doing so he is almost certainly making it more difficult to resolve the crisis in Venezuela peacefully. ..."
"... Floating the idea of a foreign invasion for any reason gives the top military commanders an added incentive to stick with Maduro and resist attempts to depose him, and they already have several reasons to remain on his side. ..."
"... An all-or-nothing approach to the crisis is likely to lead to escalation, and so far that has been the only kind of approach that the Trump administration knows how to do. Military intervention would be the absolute worst form that approach could take, and Congress and the public need to oppose any moves by this administration in that direction. ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
won't rule out calling for U.S. military intervention:

Venezuela's self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido refused to rule out on Friday the possibility of authorizing United States intervention to help force President Nicolas Maduro from power and alleviate a humanitarian crisis.

National Assembly leader Guaido told AFP he would do "everything that is necessary to save human lives," acknowledging that US intervention is "a very controversial subject."

It is stupid and dangerous for Guaido to be talking about U.S. military intervention, and in doing so he is almost certainly making it more difficult to resolve the crisis in Venezuela peacefully. The military's support for Maduro remains the largest and most significant obstacle to the opposition's claim to power. Floating the idea of a foreign invasion for any reason gives the top military commanders an added incentive to stick with Maduro and resist attempts to depose him, and they already have several reasons to remain on his side.

U.S. military intervention in Venezuela must not happen, and members of Congress should make clear that it is not an option. Rep. Ro Khanna responded to Guaido's statements earlier today:

me title=

Attacking Venezuela would be a costly and unnecessary war for the U.S., but more than that it would be a calamity for the people of Venezuela, whose country would be plunged into even worse conditions for the duration of the conflict. The U.S. needs to be willing to consider some sort of compromise solution, whether it is a power-sharing arrangement or negotiations that lead to the holding of early elections. An all-or-nothing approach to the crisis is likely to lead to escalation, and so far that has been the only kind of approach that the Trump administration knows how to do. Military intervention would be the absolute worst form that approach could take, and Congress and the public need to oppose any moves by this administration in that direction.

[Feb 09, 2019] From oil to infrastructure, why China has plenty to lose from political turmoil in Venezuela

Feb 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Teamtc321 , just now link

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

From oil to infrastructure, why China has plenty to lose from political turmoil in Venezuela

As Venezuela's biggest creditor, China is bound to be affected by the outcome.

Here are some of the Chinese investments that have already hit trouble in Venezuela:

Oil-for-loan deals

The last loan Maduro got from China was one of US$5 billion in September 2017. This was in addition to US$65 billion loaned by China to Caracas over the past decade, which the South American nation has been repaying in oil shipments.

Several state-owned Chinese oil corporations have bought stakes in or entered joint ventures with Venezuelan counterparts.

EU parliament recognises Guaido as Venezuelan interim president

But after the escalating political chaos, it was reported last week by Reuters that PetroChina planned to drop Petroleos de Venezuela as a partner in a planned US$10 billion oil refinery and petrochemical project in southern China.

China has provided more than US$100 billion in loan commitments to Latin American countries and firms since 2005. This would mean China's loans to Venezuela accounted for well over half of its loans to South America.

China, as the biggest oil importer in the world, is receiving 240,000 barrels of oil a day – mostly as debt repayment – from Venezuela, which has the world's biggest oil reserves.

Latin America's high-speed railway

Even before the current chaos over the presidential race, Venezuela's economy had long been hampered by its political instability. This led to the abandonment in 2016 of a Chinese-backed high-speed rail project that had cost US$7.5 billion.

The 462km Tinaco-Anaco line was intended to become part of South America's first high-speed rail route and carry 5 million passengers and 9.8 million tonnes of cargo a year.

Beijing-backed China Railway Engineering Corporation had a stake of 40 per cent in the project, with Venezuela holding the rest, and construction began in 2009.

But it fell behind schedule and was abandoned by the Chinese state company in 2015, according to an Associated Press report. By 2016, the construction sites and factories had been ransacked for power generators, computers, metals, ceramics and other materials.

Mining opportunities

In 2017, China agreed to help diversify Venezuela's oil-dependent economy by developing its mining sector. A US$400 million joint venture was established between the Corporacion Venezolana de Mineria, Chinese firms CAMCE and Yankuang Group, and Colombia's Inter-American Coal to boost Venezuela's coal mining and port operations.

CAMCE, a construction engineering affiliate of state-owned China National Machinery Industry Corporation, and Yankuang, a Shandong-based coal company, have also promised to invest US$180 million to develop the country's nickel industry.

No progress has been reported from the project so far, but other mining projects in the country have been hindered.

Baoji Oilfield Machinery Company suspended its activities in Venezuela in 2015 following a series of political protests. In March 2016, a gang gunned down 17 miners in an area of the Orinoco Mining Arc site that was licensed to Yankuang.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/2185467/oil-infrastructure-why-china-has-plenty-lose-political-turmoil

captain noob , 22 seconds ago link

So it seems USA is a much worse place than Venezuela. I call for regime change

Helg Saracen , 1 minute ago link

Everything is as usual. Old American slogan: Do you have oil? We are going to you to teach you democracy (that is, we will rob, but democratically). And after that, Americans sincerely wonder why the rest of the world (except for Israel and Saudi Arabia) "loves" them so much.

nope-1004 , 9 minutes ago link

The USA has no interest in other communist regimes of the world that have no gold or oil. Seems to me the MO is obvious. The use of the outdated MSM planting lies is also worth noting because it's not even on the fringe of expansion or acceptance, it's dying a slow death.

The old American way of invading a country because it has oil and, coincidentally, is experiencing a "humanitarian crisis" while using corrupt MSM outlets is so friggin' old.......

chunga , 3 minutes ago link

It's hard to square when you think of Heather Nauert giggling on camera about school buses getting blown up in Yemen.

Steel Hammerhands , 10 minutes ago link

I went to Venezuela to drink some beer. I find that it's pointless to try to tell the truth about Venezuela to most Americans. People say that, because I went to a small town instead of Caracas, I couldn't possibly know the 'real' situation.

https://youtu.be/yThaTpA07BE?t=1101

JB Say , 10 minutes ago link

Zorov description of Caracas is a giant Potemkin Village. The refugees flooding into Columbia and Brazil are just actors hired by CIA to make Maduro look bad. Sounds like paradise!

LiberateUS , 12 minutes ago link

Plenty of well fed fat people.

johnjkiii , 15 minutes ago link

Gresham's Law is reversed in the socialist paradise and good money drives the bad from circulation? Right. Got it. If this trolling reporter actually believes that, I have some Continentals for him. I'll print them up to order.

me or you , 15 minutes ago link

US one nation on food stamps.

BlackChicken , 17 minutes ago link

I start to think that I don't feel sorry for Maduro at all. He really corrupted en entire country with such generous handouts. And they willingly take, but no one says "thank you," just that they want more and more.

Sounds familiar, I see this **** in the US and the left is setting up it's constituents to starve and suffer.

tmosley , 17 minutes ago link

>There is no starvation in Venezuela

Reminds me of how we were told there was no starvation in North Korea. What's it like outside the capital?

me or you , 18 minutes ago link

Venezuela can be drowning on poverty but there are more homeless and junkies in USA than in Venezuela.

morethan1 , 4 minutes ago link

Not true most likely, but even if it IS, it's by the persons own choice....

VWAndy , 19 minutes ago link

If anyone was talking about going after bankers Id pay attention.

BlackChicken , 15 minutes ago link

The Fed is the very root of the tree of evil; strike the root, not the branches.

Mike Rotsch , 20 minutes ago link

Our Air France flight was grounded in Paris for 5 hours; no one wants to land in Venezuela in the middle of the night, due to the "dangerous criminal situation."

So what would you call the situation in Paris, exactly? Mayberry? And this is precisely why journalistic bias works better than anything else when it comes to exposing the kind of stupidity that rivals what existed during the Dark Age. They call themselves out, shout "Hey! I'm a moron!", and then we all laugh.

me or you , 22 minutes ago link

USA is the only country in the world ruled by dual citizens.

Pollygotacracker , 22 minutes ago link

The people in the photos look better off than Americans in many ways.

chubbar , 9 minutes ago link

I was going to say that it looks like america, at least a few major cities.

Oldwood , 23 minutes ago link

Is it just my imaginings or has ZH gone full MADURO!?

chunga , 13 minutes ago link

I don't know what ZH has gone but on the fake news this morning the experts were telling me Maduro was stopping humanitarian aid sent from the US at the border.

This is the same thing that happens to anybody that questions Trump. Doing that means they support Honest Hill'rey or is a "libtard". Without knowing much at all about Maduro, US intervention in Venezuela is somthing I do not support at all and the maverick outside is POTUS. So right or wrong I blame him.

fbazzrea , 24 minutes ago link

thanks for sharing your boots on the ground perspective... let 'em sort out their own affairs. if they fail, it's their problem. not ours.

reboot!

aloha_snakbar , 31 minutes ago link

Don't we have enough brown drama to deal with in our own country? Leave Venezuela alone, We should be giving zero fuks about what goes on there...

iSage , 26 minutes ago link

Just build the wall...

[Feb 09, 2019] Venezuela is split in half. And the situation there may change at any moment.

Feb 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

A Reporter's Diary From Venezuela: "Insolent American Bastards Should Be Hanged On The First Tree" Via The Saker blog,

Reporter's Diary from Venezuela.

Georgy Zotov (author of AIF weekly)

This is the personal view of the correspondent on today's life of Caracas.

Translated by Scott

Day one...

Our Air France flight was grounded in Paris for 5 hours; no one wants to land in Venezuela in the middle of the night, due to the "dangerous criminal situation." The airliner is half empty, the passengers, judging by nervous conversations, are only Venezuelans. A taxi driver, while leaving the airport, locks the doors, and sweetly warns that after dark, bandits scatter spikes on the roads and rob the stranded cars. "Oh, don't worry, Amigo, I have an old car. They are not interested in old, cars." That's where you understand why Caracas is ranked first in the ranking of the most dangerous cities in the world. It's too late for supper, but I at least want to exchange my US dollars for Venezuelan bolivars. I ask my cab driver. He violently shakes his head:

"No, no, no. I do not mess with such things, it's illegal!"

"Whatever," I laugh at him.

"Tomorrow, someone will take the dollars, maybe even with my hands torn off." I was wrong

The following morning, no one at the hotel wants to look at my dollars.

The hotel employee tells me to go to one of the official "exchange stores" but honestly adds: "only Americans, or complete jerks go there."

In Venezuela, the official dollar exchange rate is 200 bolivars, and the "black market" exchange rate is 2,715. And if you exchange your currency in a bank, then according to this calculation, a bottle of ordinary water will cost 330 rubles, and a modest lunch in an inexpensive cafe -- 7,000 rubles per person. Judging by the stories on the Internet, in Venezuelan people should simply kill each other for dollars, but this is not the case.

There is also other things different from perception. On western news, it is shown that demonstrators fight with police daily, tens killed, hundreds wounded, the sea of blood. But in Caracas, all is quiet. In an afternoon, people are sitting in cafes and idly sipping rum with ice, while maintenance crews sweep the streets. It turns out that the world 's leading TV new sources (including CNN and the BBC) show some fantasy film about Venezuela. "Demonstrations?" yawns Alejandro, a street vendor selling corn. "Well, Saturday there will be one, sort of. On one end of the city will be a rally of opposition supporters, and on the other, Maduro supporters. The police keep them separate to prevent fights."

Amazing.

You browse the Internet, you turn on the TV, and you see the revolution, the people dying on streets to overthrow the "evil dictator Maduro." And you come here, and nobody cares.

Then it got even better. Never in my life have I had so many adventures while trying to exchange one currency for another. The country has a problem with cash money, long queues waiting for the ATM, and even the street dealers of "currency" have no "efectivo," as they call cash. I wander inside a jewelry store and ask if they want some "green." The answer is "No." Everyone acts like law-abiding citizens. I am told that police recently started arresting people for private exchange, that's why people don't want to associate. One owner of the jewelry store almost agrees.

"What do you have? Dollars? No, I won't take that."

"Why now?"

"I take only the Euros dollar, man, is the currency of the aggressor, they try to tell us how to live!"

Damn it! I have money in my pocket, and I can't even buy lunch! Finally, a certain woman, nursing a baby in a workplace, very reluctantly agrees to exchange 2,200 bolivars for a "buck." I want to curse her out, but I have to live somehow. Bolivars seem like a beautiful, unattainable currency, which hides all the benefits of the world, that's why they are so hard to get. I'm nodding in agreement. The woman calls somewhere, and asks to wait. After 15 minutes she tells me that "there is a problem." Of course, money is not to be found. Her man couldn't withdraw them from the ATM, everywhere the ATMs are on a strict daily rate.

"President Maduro is fighting for the strengthening of the national currency," explained the nursing mother. "We all use our cards to pay for everything."

I don't know how it works, but yesterday an exchange rate was 3,200 bolívars for 1 dollar, and today the "bucks" fell to 2,700. I have started to realize that in the very next few days I'll starve to death with dollars in my pocket. A unique fate, perhaps, that has never happen in history.

In the next kiosk cash for gold place I am offered a plastic debit card loaded with local money, and then I would try my luck withdrawing bills from neighboring ATMs. "Or, maybe not, if you're not lucky." Well, of course. By the way, an attempt to buy a SIM card for the phone also fails. They don't sell them to foreigners, you need a Venezuelan ID card. Yes, and I have nothing to pay for it. The feeling is that the dollar is a gift that no one wants. Sadly, I walk by stores. People come out of there with packages of eggs, bread, packs of butter. The range is not like in Moscow, of course, but again, if you believe the news on TV, Venezuela is suffering from a terrible famine, supermarkets are empty, and people are fighting each other for food. Nothing like that. There are queues, but not kilometers long. In general, television stations in the United States and Europe (and ours too) created their own Venezuela, drawn like a terrible cartoon. I walk into a cafe at random.

"Will you accept dollars for lunch?" I ask hopelessly.

"Yes, at the rate of "black market" they whispered to me.

"But the change will also be in dollars... sorry, no bolivars at all...we've been hunting for them ourselves for weeks."

My first day in Venezuela is over. How unusual. I've been here for 24 hours, and I've not held a Bolivian bill in my hand. Oh, but there will be more...

Day two...

60 liters of gasoline here cost five cents, and a basket of basic food products - 50 rubles (about 90 cents).

"The gas station," my driver reaches into his purse and takes out a banknote of 2 Bolivar. The exchange rate of the Venezuelan currency changes every day, and today it is 2,580 bolivars per one dollar. In Russian money, that is 10 cents. "We must now fill a full tank," says the taxi driver. 60 liters of gasoline cost 1 bolívar, but we give the 2 bolivars bill, because there is no 1 bolivar bill. I can't believe that is a full tank of fuel costs FIVE CENTS?

"And how much can you even fill at this price?"

"Once a day for every citizen. And it's enough for me."

All the way to the center city, the driver scolds President Maduro, and tells me how much he loves America, and how it will be good when the "guy with mustache" is finally overthrow by the Americans.

I start to think that I don't feel sorry for Maduro at all. He really corrupted en entire country with such generous handouts. And they willingly take, but no one says "thank you," just that they want more and more.

On the street there is a long line into a "social supermarket," a place you can buy 400 types of goods at the solid low prices. These shops were established by the late President Hugo Chavez "to fight inflation and protect the poor." The stores are funded by the Venezuelan government. The buyer comes with a passport, gets a number, and waits in line until they are allowed to enter and buy a certain set of products. The selection isn't very impressive, only the essentials: chicken, bananas, pineapples, sausages, milk. A box of these food items costs of equivalent of 50 rubles. CNN and the BBC show videos of Venezuelans wrapped in rolls of toilet paper and sadly wandering across the border with Colombia. The toilet paper is found in absolutely every store, and without any problems. I am once again simply amazed: Western TV news is something from Hollywood, they are not reporting but making fantasy blockbusters. On the BBC website I read that hungry Venezuelan children after school go to take a look at the street vendors cooking meat. I've been all over the town. Restaurants, cafes, eateries, during the lunch hour are crowded, and people look well-dressed. The mass hunger, the Western media paints for us, doesn't exist in reality.

I take a few pictures inside the supermarket, and I am immediately approached by the workers or "Maduro followers."

"It's forbidden to take pictures here."

"Is this a military facility?"

"Leave or we'll call the police."

"Listen, everywhere on TV they tell us that there is hunger in Venezuela. I want to prove that the reality is different."

"We are not interested, we just work here: leave immediately!"

I started to understand perfectly well why Nicolas Maduro lost the information war. Hugo Chavez was often praised even in private conversations, but even Chavez supporters find little positive to say about Maduro. When people protested against Hugo's endless nominations as the head of state, he used to meet them with the open arms, smiling and saying : "Guys, what's the problem? I'm your President, I love you, let's sit down and talk!" Maduro doesn't have this image of being one of the guys. He is not able to communicate with the public, and his assistants, like the employees of the social store, can only push and ban and threaten with the police.

On the streets, provincial farmers sell fruits and vegetables: mango, tomatoes, cucumbers. All about the same price of 25 rubles per kilogram. Here, a dozen eggs from street vendors is 4,800 bolivars or about 130 rubles, and that is not cheap . During the peak of oil prices, when a barrel of oil was sold for $150, Venezuela lived on the principle of a rich fool. To develop domestic production? No, what is that nonsense? We can buy every triviality abroad. Even the managers of the oil production weren't local, they hired specialists from Europe, and paid them a lot of money. Food imports into the country reached 95 percent. And now the situation is not too different. When I order my meal in a cafe (incidentally, still paying in dollars, all attempts to change dollars to bolivars failed), I get excellent pork. "Where is it from?" "From Colombia." "And chicken?" "From Brazil, that's why it's so expensive." Even flour for bread comes from neighboring Guyana. Chavez and his successor Maduro wanted to be "people's presidents," handing out money left and right. But then oil prices collapsed, food shortages began, and people rebelled. People demand as before: cheap food in supermarkets, gasoline for nothing, and they don't want to hear anything more or less.

"Chavez was a great guy!" says a fan of the former president, 75-year-old Raul Romero, dressed in a red "chavist" shirt.

"Maduro is nothing like him! There is speculators on the streets, he does nothing. In his time, Chavez arrested the dealers raising food prices, closed their shops, confiscated land from landowners, and gave it to the people. We need a firm hand, a real dictatorship!"

In the TV world, Maduro is portrayed as a dictator and executioner, although in Venezuela, he is openly scolded for being meek; they draw cartoon of him, and insult him as much as they can. But who cares about the truth? Much more colorful to show the suffering for the toilet paper.

Day three...

"I got robbed by a COP for my phone. I'm talking on the cell phone outside, he walks over to me, pokes in my side with his gun. "Give me your mobile." I don't understand immediately, and automatically continue the conversation. He cocks his gun, and says, "Kill." I give him my phone. It's still good, I love being robbed by cops. They are not bandits from the "Barrios," the poor neighborhoods in the mountains, who can shoot you first and then rummage your corpse's pockets. I'm lucky, I've lived in Venezuela for 27 years and this was the first time I was "hop-stopped." A lot of people get robbed every year.

I am talking to Mikhail, a citizen of Russia living in Venezuela since the beginning of the nineties. He helps me move around Caracas and instructs me on how to visit the local slums. "You don't have protection? Oh, who would doubt that. Then leave your watch, phone, and camera at the hotel. Take some money for a taxi, you also have to have some cash in case you get ambushed, otherwise they might get offended and kill you. Sometimes, people get shot in an arm and a leg, that survivable." After such a nice story, I still go to the "Barrios." It is there that the supporters of President Nicolas Maduro mainly live. According to CNN and BBC, impoverished people in Venezuela are revolting against the government. Nothing can be further from the truth; it's a wealthy middle class that goes to demonstrate. Maduro is applauded in poor neighborhoods, because the President gives their residents free food sets enough for a month and gives free (!) apartments. Formally, they belong to the state, but people live in them for generations.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/w-Yf6Jecw7Y

"I will cut a throat for the President," a heavily-tattooed man smiles menacingly, and introduces himself as Emilio.

"Who else would give me food and a 'roof ' for free? He is our father and benefactor."

Maduro deliberately does not touch such people, which is why crime in Caracas gushes over the edge. I am advised not to stop on the street to look at anything, but just to keep going, otherwise bandits will have time to look closely at me. That's why they have constant robberies on the streets, plus the police and the national guard can easily take away your favorite things. No one can be happy about all these. "I love Russians," told me the businessman Carlos while conversing over coffee near the Plaza de Bolivar.

" But you'd better send Maduro economic advisers. Teach him a lesson! He doesn't know anything about economy. He has one recipe for everything, to give more money to the poor, more free apartments, free food, free gasoline, to build a full communism here. But with this, sorry, any state would collapse ."

The opposition rally in the Western part of Caracas is huge, at least 100 thousand people gathered. The protesters are friendly to me, Russia here is respected. It is not considered an enemy. Zero aggression at all and then I wonder about what I see on CNN, videos of the opposition being rolled into a pancake by tanks. The police keep the neutrality, it disappears from the streets, to not give a cause to provocateurs. People are happily waving flying in the sky military helicopter. Many-in t-shirts with the American flag, a man passes by, holding a hand-written poster with the altered slogan of Donald Trump -"Make Venezuela great again."

"Do you love the U.S.?"

"Yes, adore it!"

"I remember you already had a pro-American President in 1993, Carlos Andrés Pérez. He sharply raised the price of gasoline, 80% of the goods were imported, he drove the republic into billions of IMF debts. People went to demonstrations, and Pérez drowned them in blood, killing 2,000 people then he fled to America."

The man freezes, with his mouth open. Finally, he gets the gift of speech back.

"I hope this time the pro-American President will be different."

"Are you sure?"

"Sorry, I have nothing to say."

Asking the girl from the opposition how she feels about the US:

"The US is our neighbor, let them change the power here." "In countries where the US changed power like Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands people were killed. Are you ready for this?"

Again, she pauses and sighs.

"No, no, no. We are not Africa or Asia. All will go peacefully. Venezuelans will not kill each other."

Where the opinions splits is the question of whether the free gasoline and free food packages will remain with an American-instilled government. Many are sincerely sure that the "freebies" will remain under a new president. How else? The minority that recognizes that state gifts will be canceled say that they at least "we will be free." As I said, the protesters are mostly well-dressed, well-off people. By the way, the leader of the opposition, Juan Guido, also has no real economic program promising to "quadruple the oil production." No one thinks that after that price will fall four times. In short, I get a feeling that neither the President, nor the opposition, know anything about the economy in Venezuela.

The demonstrations in support of Maduro take place at the other end of the city, to prevent the opponents from fighting.

"You Americans are insolent!" screamed an old woman in a red t-shirt rushing towards me. "Bastards! You should be hanged on a first tree! Cheers to socialism!"

"I'm Russian, grandma."

The old lady recoils.

"Sorry, please." "Don't get that upset, senora."

Many people gathered here are joyful, dancing and singing. A soldier stands in front of me and doesn't allow me to take any pictures. Not just me, but also other passers-by.

"You can't take pictures here." "Says who?" "President Maduro."

No, Maduro is definitely doing everything he can to be disliked. Those gathering here are poor, blue-collared workers and farmers from the suburbs. I am interested , honestly, were you brought here on the busses? "Yes, he did!" says one grandfather, proudly displaying a portrait of Che Guevara.

"But I would walk here for Maduro! It's a lie that we were paid to be here."

Other people applaud him happily. I shake hands. "Russians are welcome! Venezuela loves you, you're home."

The day of rallies is over. The maintenance crews came to the sidewalk, strewn with plastic bottles, crumpled packs of cigarettes, and other debris left after by a cloud. At the entrance of an old house, old people drink coffee.

"They say that today some general has defected to the side of the opposition," says one of them. "Some significant person." "What's this guy's name?" "Who knows?"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/JV4IjE1m21M

Venezuela is split in half. And the situation there may change at any moment.

[Feb 09, 2019] Basic imperialistic struggle among former hegemon who is going down due to stupidity and bad choices and newly rising hopefuls

Feb 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

Se , rgey Krieger says: February 7, 2019 at 12:16 pm GMT

It is all moving same pieces of capitalistic BS around. Basic imperialistic struggle among former hegemon who is going down due to stupidity and bad choices and newly rising hopefuls.

Once USA is safely put out and hopefully down, new great powers will suck lesser powers dry probably by smarter and less aggressive means but nevertheless.

Souverenity is being used as a tool now, but truly sovereign can be only few great powers in capitalistic world and Venezuela will never be sovereign.

Sacker as usually lacks imagination to go beyond his narrow views. He is also contradictory.

Fighting the only successful socialist state in the world which was the only one capable to put his anglozios in place yet defending this pathetic entity pretending to be socialist.

If it is socialist how come all those oligarchs and their base is still around to keep creating troubles? They should have gotten rid off long time ago and their all assets and capitals nationalized for common good.

Sergey Krieger , says: February 7, 2019 at 12:21 pm GMT
Regarding USA I have never had any illusions about this entity. Not even in 80s. All those birth Mark's were there from the start. As with every old person they turned into marasm at certain age.

[Feb 09, 2019] Venezuela has claimed to have unveiled a mass conspiracy involving military personnel and politicians trying to unseat the country's government by force, as well as plans of potential U.S. military action

Feb 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

tac , says: February 7, 2019 at 10:20 pm GMT

Venezuela has claimed to have unveiled a mass conspiracy involving military personnel and politicians trying to unseat the country's government by force, as well as plans of potential U.S. military action.

Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez has alleged that Julio Borges, an opposition politician and former head of the National Assembly, was behind both a failed 2014 coup and an assassination attempt last August against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. The information was allegedly gathered by confessions from recently-arrested Colonel Oswaldo García, who was behind another unsuccessful conspiracy to unseat Maduro last year and was seen confessing on video during Thursday's conference.

https://www.newsweek.com/venezuela-plot-kill-president-us-action-1322816

The (un)constitutionality of Juan Guaido's claim to power

Labour Party Rejects EU's Recognition of Guaido, Meddling in Venezuela's Affairs

[Feb 09, 2019] Certain groups in Latin America tend to ally with the US. But they do this so they can easier to pursue their own interests. For example imho Pinochet would have successfully overthrown Allende in Chile even without US support. Latin Americans aren't mindless puppets that are controlled and played from Washington. Moscow or Beijing

I am not so sure the Pinochet would be able to overthrow Allende government so early without CIA support and infiltration (people, money, intelligence)
Notable quotes:
"... what more do you to see or hear or read before you believe that US had been hyper -focused and heavily engaged and entirely illegally to destroy Valenzuela independence form crony capitalism? ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

Matthias Eckert , says: February 7, 2019 at 10:27 pm GMT

@mike k I try to separate the effects of US aggression from that effects of the Venezuelan governments own failures.
I agree with what another commentator pointed out. US influence in Latin America is often overestimated. In my opinion by both the "left" who see it as cause of most problems and the "right" who tend to see it positive.

Certain groups in Latin America tend to ally with the US. But they do this so they can easier to pursue their own interests. For example imho Pinochet would have successfully overthrown Allende in Chile even without US support. Latin Americans aren't mindless puppets that are controlled and played from Washington. Moscow or Beijing.

Matthias Eckert , says: February 7, 2019 at 10:37 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc. I don't advocate and American (supposed you are American or British) intervention in Venezuela. I merely wanted to point out that this article/interview one sided and and therefore not better that the bullshit the Murdoch media and their likes are probably spreading lately.
anon [228] Disclaimer , says: February 7, 2019 at 10:57 pm GMT
@Captain Willard A key to Chavez’s current weakness is the decline in the electricity sector. There is the grave possibility that some 70 percent of the country’s electricity grid could go dark as soon as April 2010. Water levels at the Guris dam are dropping, and Chavez has been unable to reduce consumption sufficiently to compensate for the deteriorating industry. This could be the watershed event, as there is little that Chavez can do to protect the poor from the failure of that system. This would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate. At that point in time, an opposition group would be best served to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez and towards their needs. Alliances with the military could be critical because in such a situation of massive public unrest and rejection of the presidency, malcontent sectors of the military will likely decide to intervene, but only if they believe they have sufficient support. This has been the pattern in the past three coup attempts. Where the military thought it had enough support, there was a failure in the public to respond positively (or the public responded in the negative), so the coup failed. --
The GiFiles,
Files released: 5543061
The GiFiles
Specified Search

https://search.wikileaks.org/gifiles/?viewemailid=218642

anon [228] Disclaimer , says: February 7, 2019 at 11:25 pm GMT
@Matthias Eckert For example imho Pinochet would have successfully overthrown Allende in Chile even without US support"

This is called softening of arguments and doubt and making room for possible exoneration of US.

Tomorrow we will hear that Haiti's Aristides would have been forced by Haitian to board plane and leave

Tomorrow we will know that Honduran president would have been anyways sent to the pasture of retirement by some military without Clinton's ( Mrs this time ).

anon [228] Disclaimer , says: February 7, 2019 at 11:38 pm GMT
@Matthias Eckert 1 "Soldiers eat out of garbage cans & their families go hungry in Venezuela while Maduro & friends live like kings & block humanitarian aid," Mr. Rubio wrote. He then added: "The world would support the Armed Forces in #Venezuela if they decide to protect the people & restore democracy by removing a dictator."

2

In a speech in April, when he was still White House policy chief for Latin America, Mr. Cruz issued a message to the Venezuelan military. Referring to Mr. Maduro as a "madman," Mr. Cruz said all Venezuelans should "urge the military to respect the oath they took to perform their functions. Honor your oath."

3
Roberta Jacobson, a former ambassador to Mexico who preceded Ms. Aponte as the top State Department official for Latin America policy, said that while Washington has long regarded the Venezuelan military as "widely corrupt, deeply involved in narcotics trafficking and very unsavory," she saw merit in establishing a back channel with some of them

4. Mr. Tillerson raised the potential for a military coup.
"When things are so bad that the military leadership realizes that it just can't serve the citizens anymore, they will manage a peaceful transition," he said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/08/world/americas/donald-trump-venezuela-military-coup.html

what more do you to see or hear or read before you believe that US had been hyper -focused and heavily engaged and entirely illegally to destroy Valenzuela independence form crony capitalism?

[Feb 09, 2019] There are only two ways to remove Maduro

Feb 09, 2019 | off-guardian.org

vexarb says Feb, 4, 2019

Analyst Canthama agrees with Pepe (BTL SyrPer #286513):

The Saker has a nice article on Venezuela, few days old, but quite balanced on his analysis, people could disagree with one or two things but in general quite to the point on all fronts.

http://www.unz.com/tsaker/the-us-aggression-against-venezuela-as-a-diagnostic-tool/

Though Colombia and Brazil border Venezuela on its West and South, any sort of military invasion from those directions will first have to conquer nature.

So there are only two ways to remove Maduro:

1) US cruise missiles hitting hundreds of spots in Venezuela would be completely unacceptable for any Latina America population, a violence that would cause the US to lose support even its most vassal States.
In parallel, such violence would spark the return of the Colombian guerrilla, blowback will be very bad and wide spread. Thus military intervention is not likely.

2) The second option is assassination of Maduro , and this is where some of Venezuela's allies are trying to help, either with security guards, intel and direct protection.

As in Syria, time is an ally for Venezuela, the Venezuela Government will become stronger and diplomacy will take shape, There is a real danger though for a false flag, and this is in fact what Bolton and Pompeo are preparing with Guaidó's supporters knowledge [as in Syria].

Time is also important since the US regime and its dying fiat economy, 2019 will be a tough year for the G7, meaning theses regimes will either have to create another massive QE that will bring them down or start a big war, which the vast majority of their country citizens will never support, see France with yellow vest, many more countries would see the same -- even the US.

So, time is good friend to the Venezuela, they must push it as long as they can, and things will be all right.

vexarb says Feb, 4, 2019
Pepe Escobar gives the global view; with Venezuela, Iran, Russia and China abandoning the mythical petrodollar, Uncle $cam's fiat currency is heading for the dustbin of history: https://thesaker.is/venezuela-lets-cut-to-the-chase/
vexarb says Feb, 4, 2019
Latest from MOA. Uncle $cam is couped in all alone: https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/02/us-coup-attempt-in-venezuela-lacks-international-support.html
Frank Russell says Feb, 3, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/embed/R_2sf6qnuNU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Frank Russell says Feb, 3, 2019
https://youtu.be/R_2sf6qnuNU
vexarb says Feb, 2, 2019
UN rejects Venezuela's Guaido, will only cooperate with recognized government of Maduro: https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/02/01/587387/UN-reject-Guaido-cooperate-Maduro
vexarb says Feb, 1, 2019
Refusal to hand over Venezuelan gold means end of Britain as a financial center -- Prof. Wolff

https://www.rt.com/business/450144-venezuela-gold-boe-wolff/

"That is a signal to every country that has or may have difficulties with the US, [that they had] better get their money out of England and out of London because it's not the safe place as it once was," he said.

"One of the few things left for Britain is to be the financial center that London has been for so long. And one of the ways you stay a financial center is if you don't play games with other people's money," he said.

Lochearn says Feb, 1, 2019
Jimmy Dore, Abby Martin and others on Venezuela: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98pBLXe7Bmk

crank says Feb, 1, 2019

Listening to David Graeber in this interview there is no mention of declining energy surpluses in the discussion of the economic paradigm of the coming future. No consideration of the role of the labour of fossil fuels in the economy of the past two centuries. It's amazing, the argument seems not to have reached them, such that it is doesn't even get a look in. (Listen from 40 min mark, and you will hear a completely opposite view of what is to come -- " We are not going to have the problem of how to deploy scarce resources, given an only moderate level of productivity ").
https://novaramedia.com/2019/02/01/david-graeber-bullshit-jobs-direct-democracy-the-end-of-capitalism/

Fittingly, there is a fascinating section (52.min 30 sec onwards) exploring Graeber's new book project about how much of the enlightenment thinking of pre-revolutionary France was either a pilfering of, or a reaction to, the ideas of social organisation coming from pre-European Americans.

DunGroanin says Feb, 1, 2019

The Graun seems to have been anti-Chavez from the get go. With a set of 'journalists' who seem to jave made it their lifes work to reverse that democratic revolution. It is not easy to find their biogs.
Johan Meyer says Jan, 31, 2019
This whole business of "recognizing a president" not yet in power has a precedent: Rwanda.

When the bUgandan army invaded Rwanda (with US, Canadian, British and Belgian backing) in 1990 (1 October), or in propaganda terms, the RPA started its "liberation," the US moved its embassy to Mulindi, and sent the bUgandan chief of intelligence from his IMET junket at Fort Leavenworth, to take over in northern Rwanda. I refer to Paul Kagame.

International institutions also started to deal with Mulindi, rather than Kigali. Accusations of genocide within a year

Glasshopper says Jan, 31, 2019
Loathsome though he is, Bolton is probably the only honest neocon around. In Iraq, while the likes of Blair were banging on about 45 minutes, human rights and democracy etc, Bolton always made it clear that is was simply a matter of US interests. AKA Oil. He has never pretended to represent anything but rapacious US self interest.

Fair play. At least you know what you're getting with that tash.

Stonky says Jan, 31, 2019
Prior to being assigned to Latin America, Phillips was the Guardian's China correspondent for five years or so. His task, which he diligently accomplished, was to produce a couple of articles a week on "Why China Is No Good" . I don't think he ever once found anything positive to say about the place.

As an individual he's a complete Jodrell, but there are few to compare with him in his ability to relentlessly toe the Washington neocon line. You couldn't get a fag paper in between him and Luke Harding. I wonder if he's paid for it, or whether it's just that seductive sense of 'belonging' that comes from rubbing shoulders with really powerful people .

Tim Jenkins says Jan, 31, 2019
Principally, the principles , better said the absence of statute & principle in Law, behind mass surveillance, was what Snowden was desperate to highlight and that the public's principal concern of the Guardian's hard drives, were the least of our problems, legally speaking , coz' other copies existed already elsewhere, anyway

OFFG could always ask Glen Greenwald to explain why he ceased to 'copulate' with the Guardian and maybe even 'intercept' an opinion or two from Snowden, whilst he's at it intercepting. Indeed , a few extra nails in the Guardian's coffin , could be delivered quite speedily & succinctly , with some professional journalistic exchange of Question & Answer, with nail-gun loaded & mutual benefit would seem to be an all round obvious win-win debate on matters of principle, legal permissions & submissions.

Andy says Jan, 31, 2019
In some ways it is refreshing to have these power hungry narcissists in charge of the US as they cannot seem to not blurt out their naked ambitions, which in this example ftom the ft basically shows kidnap is an agreeable part of trade negotiation.

'Five days after a top executive of Huawei, the Chinese telecoms group, was arrested on a US request in Canada, President Donald Trump said he was willing to intervene -- if it helped secure "the largest trade deal ever made". The detention of Meng Wanzhou, one of China's best known executives, was undoubtedly an incendiary step, escalating trade tensions with Beijing. But presidential interference in the case would send entirely the wrong message about the US justice system -- and about how the administration conducts international affairs.

The US and western allies have legitimate concerns about China's reputation for digital espionage and theft of intellectual property. They agree a more robust stance is needed towards Beijing. But arresting a star of Chinese business -- Ms Meng has been called China's Sheryl Sandberg -- on a Canadian stopover en route to Mexico from Hong Kong is not the way to persuade Beijing to change its behaviour.

Even if the Huawei chief financial officer was held on unrelated charges of violating US sanctions on Iran, the move smacks of using individuals as pawns in negotiations. It is seen in Beijing as Washington rewriting the rules of engagement. Such waywardness and unpredictability from a country that used to portray itself as a pillar of the international rules-based order will tempt China to respond in kind, leading to a downward spiral of tit-for-tat behaviour. Indeed, the detention of a former Canadian diplomat, Michael Kovrig, in Beijing looks worryingly like retaliation.

It may be necessary to take at face value Mr Trump's claims that he was unaware of the US extradition application, and of the detention itself -- which occurred on the day he was holding talks on a trade truce with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires. Had he known, even Mr Trump seems unlikely to have been cynical enough not to mention the arrest to Mr Xi. Presidential ignorance, however, offers little reassurance.

That Mr Trump would not be notified of such a sensitive case by his justice department strengthens the impression of a dysfunctional administration, whose different arms pursue their agendas with little co-ordination, if not in open competition. It strains credibility that his recent presidential predecessors would have been left in the dark in similar situations. The Huawei incident comes in the same week that John Kelly's departure as chief of staff seemed to confirm the extent to which the Trump White House defies conventional management.

The president's offer to do "whatever's good for this country" regarding Ms Meng's case reflects a dealmaker's desire to put his talks with Mr Xi back on track, while extracting whatever advantage he can. But it amounts, in effect, to saying he is holding the Huawei CFO hostage as a trade negotiating chip. The situation carries echoes of the White House's reversal in July of a seven-year executive ban on ZTE, the Chinese telecoms equipment maker, on purchasing critical equipment from the US, in what appeared a tactical concession to Beijing.

Presidential interference in Ms Meng's case would send a worse signal: that rule of law in the US is a function of the whim of the chief executive, or that illegal behaviour can be up for negotiation. It risks creating an impression that there is little difference between America's judicial system and that of, say, Turkey -- or indeed China. The Huawei executive's detention was damaging. It is, however, not for the White House, but for independent courts in Canada and -- if Ms Meng is extradited -- the US to determine what happens next.'

lundiel says Jan, 31, 2019
It all depends on your acceptance of "legality" of American sanctions on Iran. I don't, therefore American action against Ms Meng imo is political and nothing to do with the rule of law. Mr Trump's opinions are irrelevant.
Jen says Jan, 31, 2019
President Trump's comments and opinions as expressed on Twitter will become relevant in Sabrina Meng's court case. Her legal defence could use Trump's opinions as evidence that her arrest was politically motivated and therefore she should not be extradited.

Canadian PM Justin Bieber Trudeau sacked the Ambassador to China for saying this and expressing other opinions, among them Canada's view as to whether the current (and new) US sanctions on Iran are binding on Canada.

harry stotle says Jan, 31, 2019
Just to add I see the US are sending their finest war criminals to 'help' Venezuela.

Elliot Abrams really is a piece of work -- perhaps not everybody realises quite how bad this guy is.

Absolutely shocking allegations here.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IrcT3GJuh0A?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Kathy says Jan, 31, 2019
The hypocrisy of the MSM in all this is yet again. So blatant it is sickening. At the same time as Yemen is being battered by bombs with the Wests names on them. Deliberately starved to death. With Western MSM indifference. Not to even mention. All the other countries Western powers have illegally devastated. The hand ringing over the plight of the Venezuelan people under Maduro is suddenly more then they can all bare. Western sanctioning and deliberate sabotage by the West against the country. Undermining any chance of peace. Don't get a peep of a mention by the MSM.
Here we go again. Roll up roll up. This is the latest hypocritical propaganda media show. Maduro is evil we must save his country from this evil. Saintly peace bringing Western alliance must save Venezuela. All that's needed is a more pliant Western puppet or chaos and civil war. Oil Opps sorry shh don't mention the oil. Does any one really buy into this deranged demented narrative any more. For gods sake how many more times do we have to say. NO NOT IN MY NAME.
Yarkob says Jan, 31, 2019
This is good: https://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/29/the-making-of-juan-guaido-how-the-us-regime-change-laboratory-created-venezuelas-coup-leader/

same old characters..OTPOR in particular has a rosy past. Mixed up with DynCorp and the Serbian "police" abuse fiasco

wardropper says Jan, 31, 2019
The likes of Bolton haven't seen any reason to conceal their wicked agenda for some time. They are so sure that their god has made them untouchable.
mark says Jan, 31, 2019
$13 billion in Venezuelan assets have been stolen by Uncle Sam and his satraps over the past few days. Why oh why oh why do countries and foreign individuals persist in keeping their assets in the US/ UK??????. Billions were stolen from Libya in a few days in 2011. Where it all went is one of life's big mysteries. Cameron even stole a boat load of Libyan currency that had been printed in the UK.
Francis Lee says Jan, 31, 2019
Yes, guilt by omission, the preferred mendacity of the MSM. 'When truth is met by silence, silence is a lie.' Yevgeny Yevtushenko.
mark says Feb, 3, 2019
A Parliamentary Committee has been set up to agitate for sanctions against China on behalf of the "poor oppressed Uighurs" in China. Shedding buckets of tears over the lack of "yuman rights." While supplying British sniper rifles to the Zionists to gun down Palestinian kids with dum dum bullets and planes, cluster bombs and RAF advisors to slaughter kids in Yemen.
harry stotle says Jan, 31, 2019
Trump imposed broader economic sanctions on Venezuela because;
*serious human rights abuses (by Maduro),
*antidemocratic actions, and,
*responsibility for the deepening humanitarian crisis.
https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IF10715.pdf

So definitely nothing to do with the oil, or international relations between Venezuela and other powers that neocons are at war with (wars being conducted in the media, financial markets and on the ground) while the phony who preceeded Trump (Obama) claimed Venezeula posed an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to US national security (which is a bit like Tyson Fury saying he is frightened by a 90 year old woman who is blind and only has one leg).
https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/12885

Isn't there just one soul at the Guardian who will stand up for what is really happening here (as in all other parts of the world where the US has harmed so many people because of its insatiable pursuit of oil and power) -- just one?

I must admit I am not getting my hopes up -- while the Guardian excels at drawing attention to Maduros failings they seem to be deaf, dumb and blind to the geopolitical context in which Venezuela is doing its utmost to escape the tentacles of US-backed neocons in their endless quest for violent regime change.

Maggie says Jan, 31, 2019
Here is a most excellent expose by Jimmy Dore:
?v=whgOvbw53WY

Article 7 of the Rome Statute says US sanctions are illegal because they were not sanctioned by the UN.

So WHY THE FCK DON;'T THEY TURN THE UN TROOPS ON THEM.:
Oh, I know why.. because they are toothless windbags.

Time to sanction the US,,,, NOW!!!

harry stotle says Jan, 31, 2019
Jimmy is an exception.

In general those in the know loath the MSM because of the role they play in backing the gangsters.

"Our own fate as Latin American writers is linked to the need for profound social transformations. To narrate is to give oneself: it seems obvious that literature, as an effort to communicate fully, will continue to be blocked so long as misery and illiteracy exist, and so long as the possessors of power continue to carry on with impunity their policy of collective imbecilization through the mass media. (Open veins of Latin America -- Eduardo Galeano)

http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/More_Books_and_Reports/Open_Veins_of_Latin_America.pdf

Ingwe says Jan, 31, 2019
A good article on the Graun's pro-USA stance on Venezuela. But the analysis in the linked article provides a more nuanced analysis of what's really going on there and it's not just about oil.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/01/30/trumps-coup-in-venezuela-the-full-story/
vexarb says Jan, 31, 2019
Ingwe, I started reading the Counter Punch, agreed it was not _only_ the oil so what were the other motives for U$ Grand Theft Larceny Fraud with Violence? Got as far as this:

"It should be remembered that the Obama Administration had imposed sanctions against Moscow in March 2014 over the Russian annexation of Crimea, and later involvement in the civil war in Eastern Ukraine."

Could not read follow that, because I remember no such things as Russian annexation of Crimea (at least, not since Catherine the Great), nor do I remember a civil war in Eastern Ukraine (though quite aware that the U$-imposed Jewish Junta with their neo-Nazi stormtroops are continually shelling Russian-speaking Eastern Ukraine).

Ingwe says Jan, 31, 2019
vexarb, pity you didn't bother to read further for, if you did, you'd get a rather more serious analysis than "USA bad and after the oil; Russia good and bringing enlightenment to the world" .
Francis Lee says Jan, 31, 2019
Excuse me but where did Vexarb say or intimated that 'Russia was good and bringing enlightenment to the world.' I can't seem to find this.
Antonym says Jan, 31, 2019
Why is anyone sane still reading (or referring to) the Guardian?
RealPeter says Jan, 31, 2019
I think the reason some of us still look at the Graun is that we can't quite believe how appalling it's got, especially when, like me, you're old enough to remember the old newspaper from the time when it had some principles and a lot of good writing. It has the sickly fascination of something you know is really bad for you, like Nutella or reality TV shows. You end up wallowing in its sheer awfulness, unlike, say, the Mail and the Sun, which you always know from the start are going to be barking mad and have no element of surprise.
bc says Jan, 31, 2019
It's pretty obvious Anthony. Because the Guardian, like the BBC and C4 News, presents itself as and is widely regarded to be an authorititative, non-biased news source. Hence it is hugely influential in forming opinion in the corridors of power and in educated society. Opinion that allow bad things to happen and ends up impacting lives. That is reality regardless of comments dismissing these news sources on the internet. And it is why it is appropriate for offguardian and others to try and highlight and expose the dangerous lies and omissions of these wide-reaching propagandists.
bevin says Jan, 31, 2019
It's good for cricket: the best paper in Canada for cricket news. Also for cycling. Since I first began to read the Manchester Guardian for Neville Cardus's famous writing on cricket, I stick with it.
As for foreign affairs, once it has been told by the Foreign Office, who the current enemies are it goes for them. Those who recall the 'good old days' when Latin America and the Middle East, including Palestine got reasonable coverage which sometimes was very good indeed, ought to bear in mind that, in those Cold War days, the main enemy was the Soviet Union and it was necessary to be equivocal about liberation struggles. After all, 'we' were pretending to be desperately sorry about the sufferings of the Russian people, and those of eastern Europe, so it was necessary to tone down the imperialist message.
Now the Establishment is dead set on recovering Latin America in toto, banishing alien (Chinese Russian) influences and consolidating its base in the western hemisphere.
Here comes the Atlantic Treaty Organisation ATO.
Jen says Jan, 31, 2019
Why is anyone sane still reading (or referring to) the Guardian?

This is like the old Soviet joke: Why are the capitalist nations on the edge of a precipice?

Answer: To get a better view of us down here.

The reason sane people still occasionally read or refer to The Guardian is to see how far gone down the abyss the newspaper has descended.

George Cornell says Feb, 1, 2019
Because the people they represent are the biggest threats to world peace.
George Cornell says Feb, 1, 2019
Because they represent and front the interests of the greatest threats to world peace.
George Cornell says Feb, 1, 2019
Sorry about the echolalia
Richard Audet says Jan, 31, 2019
Can't resist.

The oft-used cliche of the kid (not brain washed yet) saying out loud that the emperor has no clothes amongst a crowd propagandized, hypnotized and incentivized not to see and not to know truth from falsehood.

The role of the MSM it seems is to perpetrate this mass denial. Thanks to kids like Kit and those that support sites such as this other kids are catching on. But, alas we are just kids after all and the grown ups have the power to spank us for such blasphemy. It is a risk we kids take to speak the truth we see. When you see and when you know remaining silent can make you sick (despair, anhedonia, addiction etc.). I'll take my chances with the spanking and say as loud as I can that the emperor is a fucking war-mongering liar and thief.

rogerglewis says Jan, 31, 2019
https://d.tube/#!/v/tonefreqhz/2zkhc50m This Russel Brand film did get a limited general release but was quickly dispatched to the memory hole,

This David Malone FIlm Icon Earth got him into a ton of trouble at the Beeb back in 1995 it presages stage 2 of the Liberalisation process

https://d.tube/#!/v/tonefreqhz/siz03mvr

I have uploaded various things to DTube and Steemit This film from the Guardian is very good and relevant to Venezuela its on Bit CHute and survives on Youtube for now.

https://www.bitchute.com/video/uvnkjQDcIxCD/

https://steemit.com/deathsquds/@tonefreqhz/from-el-salvador-to-iraq-washington-s-man-behind-brutal-police-squads

https://www.youtube.com/embed/0iEhXHITAsQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&start=2&wmode=transparent

Gezzah Potts says Jan, 31, 2019
Thank you Kit (and others) for starting up OffGuardian. Its a very precious place to vent, and to read the very enlightened, highly informative, and at times profound comments of all the other commenters here. Have made numerous comments about the situation in Venezuela on other recent stories here, so not going to keep repeating myself. Regards the state of the World: surreal and orwellian and just plain bonkers much of the time seems to be the case. At least Bolton was honest in stating the bleedin obvious, which anyone with even one eye open already knew. Thanks for your work.
Loverat says Jan, 31, 2019
Indeed. I came across Off Guardian not long ago and I'm highly impressed by the quality. A site to vent -- yes but that's just a small part of it. What is it now -- 3,000 articles published in just nearly 4 years?. A level of committment by its founders not matched in many places elsewhere that I can see.

What I like about this is the quality and depth of the articles -- and the fact each attracts a large number of readers commenting.

I've been looking around various sites lately. It seems to be a mixture of those which produce good articles but don't seem to have the following -- or at least there's a lack of reader participation. Or sites where the analysis is not so good but attract a large volume of comments not necessarily of great quality.

Off G seems to have struck a really good balance which I think means it has more potential to grow further and build on its success.

I wonder (maybe this has been done before) if Off G thought about organising an event to celebrate its next birthday. Might be a good way to raise funds and further interest.

David William Pear says Jan, 31, 2019
I am surprised that the Guardian even mentioned oil and Venezuela in the same story. Did they also say it has lots of gold, coltron, and many other natural resources. Neoliberals just can't stand seeing all those profits going to "waste on the serfs".
notheonly1 says Jan, 31, 2019
Very likely McCain. Fortunately though, he already croaked. There was never a regime change or war he did not support, or demand. The sooner his warmongering Fascist buddies follow him, the better for mankind. I can imagine what "Bomb. bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" would have said about Venezuela. As I said before, Venezuela is venomous to those who want to destroy it. For all American sheeple to understand: The Bucket stops here. Exactly here.
Jerry Alatalo says Jan, 31, 2019
Bolton's casual mention of U.S. oil corporations going into Venezuela and controlling operation of the nation's oil sector, as if it's already a "done deal", goes right along with Pompeo's focused use of the term "former president Maduro" in the psychological operation aspect of the fully-mapped out coup's full court press. Someone famously described the U.S.-led coup in Ukraine of February 2014 as the most blatant, obvious coup ever, but amazingly this one involving Venezuela has even surpassed Ukraine in insane illegal boldness.

USA Inc.'s use of criminal aggressive war as a business tactic since false flag 9/11 resulted in the self-destruction of American reputation in the Middle East and North Africa region. For that reason the attack on the Venezuelan people for their oil was not surprising. Who will stand for peace? People might think creatively and act to prevent any repeat of senseless violence and horror as experienced by people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.

Peace.

Tim Jenkins says Jan, 31, 2019
For the record, the "USA Inc.'s use of criminal aggressive war as a business tactic since false flag 9/11 resulted in the self-destruction of American reputation " Globally.

Sorry to correct you, but no matter where I go, my first test of any persons intellect is "What do you think happened to WTC 7 ?" and until you get that sorted , the USA is the laughing stock of the 'brave new world' outside Government & MSM >>> Fact , clearly "you cannot be serious", nor the Guardian nor the BBC nor Die Zeit nor Swiss national Television, nor Le Monde &&& and the whole damn network of partners in deep state crimes against innocent people , to further corporate goals.

to even contemplate something in Venezuela is so absurd , when US Governance is so infiltrated with Deep State Dictators & actors, bolstered by Hollywood >>> get own house in order , before becoming guests elsewhere. This clearly applies to Britain & France , as well, indeed all NATO partners.

Trump is gonna' have a real tough time with Xi, coz' you don't get to insult the Chinese in public & arrest CFO's for extradition , without some form of comeback & consequence and Chinese & Russian Military towards region Panama seems almost assured and the USS Fitzgerald warning ? how quickly people forget the 7 dead ! from just a container ship, lol connect the 9 Dot line -- -- --

The world does not want and never needed policing by the U$A, nor their methods of financial control & strangulation with credit on a scale far greater than Ponzi himself. And as for WTC 7 , this made not only the USA a laughing stock in the minds of all intelligent people, it dragged down & outed the very IN-credibility of every single politician in the western world , who accepted the award winning WTC 7 TonyAndyPandy story for CHILDREN !

it's time we got adults back into politics , coz' at present all we have, without exception, is precisely what George Carlin described in 'a few cultural issues' "Garbage in Garbage out" !

and we can be 100% sure that they are all GARBAGE, because they cannot even recognise a controlled explosion, let alone cooking the history books >>> not even one !

The USA has YANKed all their strings, on behalf of Zion and corporate control >>> fact, not one politician permitted to call a spade a spade or WTC 7 a controlled demolition let alone MSM.

Long live the revolution & evolution of political conscience !

[Feb 09, 2019] Post Coup Agenda Items

Feb 09, 2019 | off-guardian.org

mark says Jan, 31, 2019

Post Coup Agenda Items:-

1. Switch payment for Venezuelan oil from yuan back to dollars.
2. Confiscate Chinese and Russian oil investments in Venezuela.
3. Privatise Venezuelan oil to Wall Street at knock down prices.

Or, as the Orange Baboon himself croaked like a two bit Mafia hood, "Grab the oil! Grab the oil! Grab the oil!!"

[Feb 09, 2019] They had 20 years to diversify the Venezuelan economy and failed completely. The prime example of success in fairly modern times are countries in Asia with national unity and rather authoritarian government.

Feb 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

Matthias Eckert , says: February 7, 2019 at 11:17 am GMT

This interview is a whitewash for the Venezuelan government. While I don't doubt that the described sabotage and subversion orchestrated by the US the Chavistas are clearly incompetent and corrupt.

They had 20 years to diversify the Venezuelan economy and failed completely. Instead of decreasing the reliance on oil exports the increased it.
Most of what was left off the venezuelan agricultural sector got destroyed by handing it to Chavez followers. Similar with almost all other economic sectors. Even the oil production is much lower than it was in 1998 and this is not because of sanctions. They simply didn't invest enough into replacing equipment that got worn out. They had 20 years to build refineries for venezuelan oil in Venezuela, China or somewhere else out of US influence, they didn't.

Matthias Eckert , says: February 7, 2019 at 11:27 am GMT
@Matthias Eckert Same goes for almost anything else. Why does Venezuela still have gold deposited in the US and Britain? it's not like these never seized (not to say stole) foreign assets before.

Just because the Chavistas are enemies of the American oligarchy doesn't mean the aren't oligarchs themselves.

ps. That Anglo habit to start nationalities with a capital letter even when used as adjective is an insult to logic

/lasse , says: February 7, 2019 at 8:11 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read Natural resources get its value by the knowledge to create something useful out of them. The economy is human activities, the way we create value by using our knowledge and talents.
As Hudson say Chavez tried to create at mixed economy. Its not an easy task, something that takes long time, e.g. raising the general educational level, infrastructure, health and so on.
If Chavez and PSUV did approach this task good or bad I do not know.
As I understand are Venezuela a country riddled with enormous obstacles to achieve this. It probably needs a high amount of social capital. Add on western hostility that third world countries do this.
The prime example of success in fairly modern times are countries in Asia with national unity and rather authoritarian government.
annamaria , says: February 7, 2019 at 8:21 pm GMT
@Matthias Eckert "This interview is a whitewash for the Venezuelan government They had 20 years "

-- You are not a child, aren't you? How about the industrial base in the mighty US?
There is also the US infrastructure, the improvement of which requires some $4 trillion "They" (the richest country in the world) had how many years?

Besides, the main point of the article is in a color graph showing % of votes /% of all registered voters .

Look again at the graph, carefully. What are the numbers for Mr. Guaido? Have not we seen enough of "democracy on the march" and other US-led "improvements" and "humanitarian interventions" in Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine?

[Feb 09, 2019] No amount of needle point proof can pop the balloon that is the collective brains of Americans that have a CIA propaganda(via the media) myth inserted in their head that "it's because of socialism!"

Notable quotes:
"... When you stand up to a bully, you don't need to win, but to prove it's not worth going after you in the future. ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

Biff , says: February 7, 2019 at 6:29 am GMT

These pro-U.S. policies made Venezuela a typically polarized Latin American oligarchy. Despite being nominally rich in oil revenue, its wealth was concentrated in the hands of a pro-U.S. oligarchy that let its domestic development be steered by the World Bank and IMF.

No amount of needle point proof can pop the balloon that is the collective brains of Americans that have a CIA propaganda(via the media) myth inserted in their head that "it's because of socialism!" Venezuela is in economic turmoil.
Other CIA created myths(that happen to work):
"They need democracy restored"
"They need our help"
"They have weapons of mass destruction"
"They harbor terrorists"
"They peddle fake news"
"They hack our elections"
Etc .
Collect your own, and trade them with your friends.

Miro23 , says: February 7, 2019 at 7:11 am GMT

At least China and Russia can provide an alternative bank clearing mechanism to SWIFT, so that Venezuela can bypass the U.S. financial system and keep its assets from being grabbed at will by U.S. authorities or bondholders. And of course, they can provide safe-keeping for however much of Venezuela's gold it can get back from New York and London.

There's a good general rule here to keep independent country assets and financial transactions away from the US – especially making them non- US dollar based.

This would confront U.S. financial strategists with a choice: if they continue to treat the IMF, World Bank, ITO and NATO as extensions of increasingly aggressive U.S. foreign policy, they will risk isolating the United States. Europe will have to choose whether to remain a U.S. economic and military satellite, or to throw in its lot with Eurasia.

Europe would have to make this choice – and it looks like the European public is in fact already starting to make it – which greatly troubles the US's elite European collaborators.

Refusal of England and the U.S. to pay Venezuela means that other countries realize that foreign official gold reserves can be held hostage to U.S. foreign policy, and even to judgments by U.S. courts to award this gold to foreign creditors or to whoever might bring a lawsuit under U.S. law against these countries.

True. Now is reflection time for any country that holds physical gold in New York or London. Also time to think in general about reserves held in US dollars (Treasury bonds).

Being a Roman Catholic country, Venezuela might ask for papal support for a debt write-down and an international institution to oversee the ability to pay by debtor countries without imposing austerity, emigration, depopulation and forced privatization of the public domain.

Whatever happens Venezuela is going to get austerity, but it could be a difficult self respecting and self sufficient kind, excluding the US (the primary source of its problems) and taking assistance from any friends that it may have.

HiHo , says: February 7, 2019 at 9:36 am GMT
Another Saker article that ignores the elephant in the room completely

Looking ahead, therefore, China, Russia, Iran and other countries need to set up a new international court to adjudicate the coming diplomatic crisis and its financial and military consequences. Such a court – and its associated international bank as an alternative to the U.S.-controlled IMF and World Bank – needs a clear ideology to frame a set of principles of nationhood and international rights with power to implement and enforce its judgments.

A great idea but the world banks are NOT US controlled. They are run by the Rothschilds, and until writers like Saker face up to this fact the problems will not be resolved. Rothschild has to be dealt with, put out of business and closed down permanently.

Michael Kenny , says: February 7, 2019 at 10:46 am GMT
What Mr Hudson's answers make clear is that Putin is increasingly bogged down in yet another fight, a fight which Mr Hudson tacitly believes to be unwinnable.
McBride , says: February 7, 2019 at 9:55 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny Putin does not need to win, only impose more pain on the US than he himself suffers. If Maduro stays in power, that is a big win for Russia and further proves their ability to stand up the US of A.

Venezuela would prove Syria was not just luck but the start of a changing tide. If Guaido eventually takes power, it will have costed the US much more now that Russia is there.

A couple old planes and 400 Russian special forces means that the US needed to put 5000 troops in Colombia.

When you stand up to a bully, you don't need to win, but to prove it's not worth going after you in the future.

[Feb 08, 2019] How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump's Coup in Venezuela by Eric Zuesse

The key question is how strong is Maduro support within Venezuela? When oil is in stake, imperial powers usually take gloves off pretty quickly.
All this rhetoric of Eric Zuesse does not answer the key question: does Maduro movement propose sustainable alternative to neoliberalism in Venezuela and has unwavering support of armed forces and population in view of this externally driven aggression? Because if the model is unsustainable (iether for internal or external reasons -- presence of neoliberal 3000 pound guerilla on the continent) it will eventually be crushed. What is the plan and what Maduro is trying to built? Left government in several other countries of LA were recently deposed by openly neoliberal puppets: Argentina and Brazil are two recent examples.
"Progressive regimes" all run into problems in economics (which are given due to neocolonial nature of the current World order) which in turn creates social problems and the precondition for neoliberal coup d'état sponsored from Washington. So there is a Neoliberal Catch 22 for all countries who want to excape dependence on the USA: neoliberals new order guarantee that economic condition of peripheral countries do not improve; that creates social discontent that allows to propose population a neoliberal carrot -- elect a neoliberal leader and your standard of living "soon" will be like in the USA. neoliberal coup d'état can now succeed. Further impoverishing follows but it is too late -- the train has left the station.
While convention to to more extreme version of neoliberalism does not solve the problems in economics (Argentina here is nice example of "What happens next after neoliberals came back to power") and impoverishment of population is given. But at the same time the civil war is prevented and the support of the USA guarantee a certain period of political stability.
In other words this struggle is about alternatives to neoliberalism and anti-neoliberal governments have a huge handicap in a form of the USA presence on the continent. It looks like Canada is just another neoliberal puppet of the USA in this game/
Notable quotes:
"... Venezuelan soldiers have blocked the crossing ahead of a delivery arranged by opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself interim president ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | off-guardian.org
8 August 2017 in order to overthrow and replace Venezuela's current President Nicolás Maduro. She stated in her February 5th announcement :

Today, we have been joined by our Lima Group partners, from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Saint Lucia. We have also been joined in our conversations with our partners from other countries, for this Lima Group ministerial meeting. These include Ecuador, the European Union, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States."

She, along with U.S. President Donald Trump, had, all along, been the actual leaders of this international diplomatic effort, to violate the Venezuelan Constitution blatantly , so as to perpetrate the coup in Venezuela. Her active effort to replace Venezuela's Government began with her formation of the Lima Group, nearly two years ago.

Canada's Ottawa Citizen headlined on 19 August 2017, "Choosing Danger" , and their reporter Peter Hum interviewed Canada's Ambassador to Venezuela, Ben Rowswell, who was then retiring from the post. Rowswell said that Venezuelans who wanted an overthrow of their Government would continue to have the full support of Canada's Government : "'I think that some of them were sort of anx­ious that it (the em­bassy's support for hu­man rights and democ­racy in Venezuela) might not con­tinue after I left,' Rowswell said. 'I don't think they have any­thing to worry about be­cause Minister (of Foreign Affairs Chrystia) Freeland has Venezuela way at the top of her priority list.'"

Maybe it wasn't yet at the top of Trump's list, but it was at the top of hers. And she and Trump together chose whom to replace Venezuela's President, Nicholas Maduro, by: Juan Guaido . Guaido had secretly courted other Latin American leaders for this, just as Freeland had already done, by means of her secretly forming the Lima Group.

On 25 January 2019, the AP bannered "AP Exclusive: Anti-Maduro coalition grew from secret talks" and reported that the man who now claims to be Venezuela's legitimate President (though he had never even run for that post), Juan Guaido, had secretly visited foreign countries in order to win their blessings for what he was planning:

In mid-December, Guaido quietly traveled to Washington, Colombia and Brazil to brief officials on the opposition's strategy of mass demonstrations to coincide with Maduro's expected swearing-in for a second term on Jan. 10 in the face of widespread international condemnation, according to exiled former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, an ally.

Playing a key role behind the scenes was Lima Group member Canada, whose Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to Guaido [9 January 2019] the night before Maduro's swearing-in ceremony [on 10 January 2019] to offer her government's support should he confront the socialist leader [Maduro], the Canadian official said. Also active was Colombia, which shares a border with Venezuela and has received more than two million migrants fleeing economic chaos, along with Peru and Brazil's new far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

To leave Venezuela, he sneaked across the lawless border with Colombia, so as not to raise suspicions among immigration officials who sometimes harass opposition figures at the airport and bar them from traveling abroad, said a different anti-government leader, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss security arrangements.

During the last days in office of Canada's Ambassador to Venezuela Rowswell, U.S. President Donald Trump went public with his overt threat to invade Venezuela. On 11 August 2017, McClatchy's Miami Herald bannered "Trump was making friends in Latin America -- before he raised Venezuela 'military option'" , and Patricia Mazzei reported that "President Donald Trump's unexpected suggestion Friday that he might rely on military force to deal with Venezuela's pressing political crisis was an astonishing statement that strained not only credulity but also the White House's hard-won new friendships in Latin America."

Even a spokesperson from the Atlantic Council (which is the main PR agency for NATO) was quoted as saying that "U.S. diplomats, after weeks of carefully building the groundwork for a collective international response, suddenly find their efforts completely undercut by a ridiculously over the top and anachronistic assertion. It makes us look imperialistic and old-time. This is not how the U.S. has behaved in decades!" However, Peru's Foreign Minister, Ricardo Luna, was just as eager for a coup in Venezuela as were Trump and Freeland.

On 26 October 2017, Peru's Gestion TV reported that Luna was the co-chair of the meeting of the Lima Group in Toronto, which Freeland chaired, and that (as translated into English here) "Luna added that the objective of the meeting of the Group of Lima 'is to create a propitious situation' so that the regime of Nicolás Maduro 'feels obligated to negotiate' not only an exit to the crisis, 'but also an exit to his own regime'."

This gang was going to make Maduro an offer that he couldn't refuse. So, the Lima Group, which was founded by Luna and by Freeland, was taking the initiative as much and as boldly as Trump was, regardless of what NATO might think about it. The topic of that news-report, and its headline, was "Peru proposes Grupo de Lima to involve the UN to face the Venezuelan crisis." Four days later, Freeland and Luna met privately at the U.N., in New York, with the Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

Inner City Press reported that "The title of the meeting is 'the situation in Venezuela and efforts by regional organizations to resolve the crisis per Chapter VIII of the UN Charter' [see it here ] and the briefer will be not USG [Under Secretary General] Jeffrey Feltman but his Assistant, ASG [Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs] Miroslav Jenca."

Jeffrey Feltman was the person who, in the secretly recorded 27 January 2014 phone-conversation in which U.S. President Barack Obama's agent, Victoria Nuland -- planning and overseeing the February 2014 coup that overthrew Ukraine's democratically elected President -- instructed the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, that, after Ukraine's President is ousted, Arseniy "Yats" Yatsenyuk was to be appointed as Ukraine's 'interim' leader as the new Prime Minister, to replace the President. She also said :

"I talked to Jeff Feltman this morning; he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry. He's now gotten both Serry and Ban ki-Moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. That would be great, I think, to help glue this thing, and to have the UN help glue it, and, you know, fuck the EU."

So, the still Under Secretary General of the U.N, Mr. Feltman, is still America's fixer there, who "glues" whatever the U.S. President orders the U.N. to do, and his Assistant was filling in for him that day. Therefore, if Trump and Freeland turn out to be as successful as Obama was, then the U.N. will "glue" the outcome. Chrystia Freeland happens also to be a friend of Victoria Nuland, and a passionate supporter of her coup in Ukraine.

... ... ...

Of course, the man whom the U.S. and Canadian regimes and the Lima Group are trying to install as Venezuela's President, Juan Guaido, had been well-groomed for that job, but not by political and electoral experience, of which he has almost none, but by his foreign sponsors. On 29 January 2019 the Gray Zone Project bannered "The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela's Coup Leader" , and their two star investigative journalists, Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal, opened: "Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington's elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization."

This report also noted that "The 'real work' began two years later, in 2007, when Guaidó graduated from Andrés Bello Catholic University of Caracas. He moved to Washington, DC to enroll in the Governance and Political Management Program at George Washington University, under the tutelage of Venezuelan economist Luis Enrique Berrizbeitia, one of the top Latin American neoliberal economists. Berrizbeitia is a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) [and the IMF is a central part the operation that's described in John Perkins's now-classic Confessions of an Economic Hit Man] who spent more than a decade working in the Venezuelan energy sector, under the old oligarchic regime that was ousted by Chávez."

Moreover, "Stratfor and CANVAS – key advisors of Guaidó and his anti-government cadre – devised a shockingly cynical plan to drive a dagger through the heart of the Bolivarian revolution. The scheme hinged on a 70% collapse of the country's electrical system by as early as April 2010." Etc. This is how 'democracy' now functions. It's not democracy -- it is fascism. The euphemisms for it are "neoliberalism" and "neoconservatism."

Regardless of whether or not the Trump-Freeland-Luna program for Venezuela succeeds, democracy and human rights won't be advanced by it; but, if it succeeds, the fortunes of US-and-allied billionaires will be . It's part of their global privatization program .

Sidebar: If you want to understand what was the historical context where Inner City Press reported that "The title of the meeting is 'the situation in Venezuela and efforts by regional organizations to resolve the crisis per Chapter VIII of the UN Charter'" ; then Luk Van Langenhove has summarized that context , by saying:

Few invocations of Chapter VIII's provisions were made during the cold war period. But when the bipolar world system collapsed and spawned new global security threats, the explosion of local and regional armed conflicts provoked a renewed interest in regional organizations and their role in the maintenance of regional peace and security. The United Nations was forced to acknowledge its inability to solely bear the responsibility for providing peace and security worldwide."

So, "during the cold war period," this provision of the UN Charter remained virtually inactive. Then, suddenly, after 1991, when the Soviet Union and its communism and its Warsaw Pact military alliance to counter America's NATO military alliance, all ended (with no concessions being made on the American side ), America could no longer use 'communism' as a 'justification' to invade or perpetrate coups against foreign governments that were friendly toward or else allied with Russia.

So, now, this provision of the U.N.'s Charter became activated by the U.S. and its allies, in order to be able to say that The West's coups and invasions aren't actually to build-out the U.S. empire, but are instead for (in the terms of this part of the U.N.'s Charter) "the maintenance of international peace and security" -- so as to 'authorize' coups and international invasions by the U.S. and its vassal nations, such as are the members of NATO.

This is what U.S. President G.H.W. Bush had in mind to rely upon, when he told the leaders of the U.S. regime's vassal states, secretly at Camp David, on the night of 24 February 1990, that the 'Cold War' would now continue secretly on the U.S.-allied side, against Russia and against any nation's leaders (such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, and Viktor Yanukovych) that aren't hostile toward Russia, by Bush's saying then to them, that no compromise must ever be allowed "with Moscow," because "To hell with that! We prevailed, they didn't."

In other words, whereas the U.N. had been set up by FDR to evolve ultimately into the global democratic federation of nation-states -- a democratic world-government -- so as to become the sole possessor of control over all strategic weaponry, and thus to become the democratic republic of the entire world authorized to settle international disputes peacefully, the subterranean Nazis and other fascists whom U.S. President Truman and the Bilderberg group represented, were determined that the U.S. and its vassal nations would ultimately become the dictatorship over all nations, the entire world. That's what Ukraine, and now Venezuela, and many other U.S. coups and invasions, are -- and have been -- really about. It's about the 'peace' of the graveyard, NOT any democracy, anywhere at all.

That's their dream. They want to monopolize the corruption everywhere, not to end it, anywhere. And that's why they distort and blatantly lie about Venezuela's democratic constitution now , just as they did about Ukraine's democratic constitution in February 2014. It's, essentially, a lawless international gang of billionaire thugs. It is the international Deep State . It consists of the under 2,000 people who are international billionaires in the U.S. and secondarily in the U.S.-allied countries, and of those billionaires' millions of hirees. 585 of those under-2,000 are Americans .

But the wealthiest person on the planet isn't even listed on any of the standard lists of billionaires, and he is the King of Saudi Arabia . That person is the U.S. aristocracy's #1 international ally, because ever since the 1970s when gold no longer backed the U.S. dollar but instead oil did, that person's decisions have enabled the U.S. dollar to continue as being the world's reserve currency, no matter how big the U.S. economy's trade deficits are, and no matter how high the U.S. Government's fiscal deficits are.

Below those billionaires (and trillionaire), and below their millions of hirees, are the billions of serfs; and, below those, at the very bottom, are the approximately 40 million slaves , and the many millions imprisoned -- virtually all of whom have extremely low (if any) net worth at all, since slavery and imprisonment are, in the real world, only for the very poor, not at all for the international gangsters, except for a very few exceptions (such as, perhaps, "El Chapo").

The billionaires command, and the governments obey; that's 'democracy', and it's 'the rule of law', today. Everything to the contrary is propaganda, such as that what Trump-Freeland-Luna want for Venezuela is to decrease corruption and to increase democracy and human rights.

At least the more blatant fascist John Bolton was honest when he said on January 28th : "It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela." But he would have been lots more honest if he had acknowledged, instead, that "It will make a big difference to the United States billionaires economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela."

This is all that the fascists ever really cared about. Mussolini called it "corporationism." Now, decades in the wake of the Allies' supposed 'victory against fascism' -- against the Axis powers -- in WW II, we all (at least the realists) are acknowledging that we clearly are staring in the face the raw fact that fascism has finally won, or at least very nearly totally won, in the world.

Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito, died; but their ideological followers today rule the world, and FDR would be turning in his grave.

  1. tutisicecream

    Unfortunately the Orange one is being wagged again by those who are most seriously plotting his demise and over reach in Venezuela may be just as much part of the plan as it was in pushing him into launching an attack on Syria. It is true that the global elites are at a loss what to do, as the fracturing of the global oligarchies is proving Marx right . capitalist are just a band of warring brothers [brigands, robbers, pirates – all!]. As there is no serious ideological threat to their hegemony at the moment they fight amongst themselves with imperial designs.

    The threat to the imperium is the chaos which ensues when the elite power struggles fracture their hegemony and an uncontrollable uprising ensues. Who shapes that revolution will be central to this. Where it will come from is not evident yet but let's hope it's a grass roots one!


  1. Yes, they will never stop. Just think of this brand-new propaganda lie of Maduro allegedly preventing aid shipment to come into Venezuela. See BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47143492 : "Venezuelan soldiers have blocked the crossing ahead of a delivery arranged by opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself interim president".

    Notice the word "ahead" in this sentence. This word appears because there was never a "delivery" (truck) with aid shipment at the bridge!
    The Venezuelan government ("Maduro") blocked the bridge only because of war-threatening Columbia and USA.
    If you want to send aid shipment to Venezuela you can send as much as you want anytime. Of course you have to respect the regulations of the custom (like in every other country!). But that's all!

    Whets foul with this story?
    Well, this aid "delivery" cannot have been collected in Colombia – and thus being taken away from the people of Colombia, who are much poorer than the people of Venezuela. So it would have to come from other country (USA, Europe, China, Japan). And then you would not land this aid shipment in Columbia (a harbour, an airport), drive it, in hot-humid air, through half of Colombia to the border crossing bridge of Cúcuta. Then cross the bridge and then drive it through half of Venezuela!
    Instead aid shipments for Venezuela would be landed directly in Venezuela – in an Venezuelan harbour or airport.

    "Everything (to the contrary) is propaganda".
    Or "Fake News"! So don't miss James Corbett's "FAKE NEWS AWARD" – https://www.corbettreport.com/episode-351-the-2nd-annual-real-fake-news-awards/

  1. Of course I'm speaking rhetorically: we all know what the answer is and it ain't looking very pretty.

[Feb 08, 2019] The Lima Group International Outlaws New Eastern Outlook

Which means that Maduro movement is isolated within is own continent.
Notable quotes:
"... Since there can be no intervention without the presence of force or threats of its use the actions taken and threats made against Venezuela constitute the crime of aggression under international law. ..."
"... The US and Canada are now threatening the use of armed force against Venezuela. John Bolton stated that all options are on the table and has even threatened Maduro with imprisonment in the US torture chambers of Guantanamo Bay. Britain has seized Venezuelan funds sitting in London banks, and the US and its flunkies are now trying to stop Venezuela and Turkey from dealing in Venezuelan gold, and, to add to their net, accuse them of sending the gold to Iran in violation of their illegal "sanctions." ..."
"... "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations." ..."
"... "refrain from any threats or acts, direct or indirect, aimed at impairing the freedom, independence or integrity of any State, or at fomenting civil strife and subverting the will of the people in any state."' ..."
"... "1. No State has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. Consequently, armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements, are condemned.' ..."
"... "2. No State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another state in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights or to secure from it advantages of any kind. Also, no state shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed toward the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State." ..."
"... "refrain from armed intervention or the promotion or organization of subversion, terrorism or other indirect forms of intervention for the purpose of changing by violence the existing system in another State or interfering in civil strife in another State." ..."
"... "to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in acts of civil strife or terrorist acts in another State or to allow such acts to be operated from its territory." ..."
"... Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel " Beneath the Clouds . He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook." https://journal-neo.org/2019/02/04/the-lima-group-international-outlaws/ ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | journal-neo.org
Politics Region: Canada

3342

The covert and overt interventions taking place against Venezuela by the United States and its allies are a form of aggression and a violation of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter making the nations involved international outlaws.

The attempted coup against President Maduro of Venezuela may have failed so far but the jackals that instigated it have not given up their objective of forcing the majority of Venezuelans benefiting from the Bolivarian revolution begun by President Chavez, back to the misery the revolution is trying to save them from. The United States and its allied governments and media, working with American military and civilian intelligence services, are pumping out a constant flow of propaganda about the start of affairs in Venezuela to mislead and manipulate their own peoples so that they support their aggression and to undermine Venezuelans support for their revolution.

We have seen this type of propaganda before, the fake stories about "human rights" abuses, economic conditions, the cries of "democracy," the propaganda about an "authoritarian" leader, a "tyrant," "dictator", all labels they have used before against leaders of nations that they have later murdered; President Arbenz, Allende, Torrijos, Habyarimana, Milosevic, Hussein, Ghaddafi are examples that come quickly to mind, so that the same threats against Maduro are not just propaganda but direct physical threats.

We see the same pretexts for military aggression used and same euphemisms being employed, the same cries for "humanitarian intervention," which we now know are nothing more than modern echoes of Hitler's pretexts for the invasion of Czechoslovakia, to "save the oppressed Germans."

We see the same smug lies and hypocrisy about the rule of law as they openly brag about their violation of international law with every step they take and talk as if they are gods ruling the world.

The United States is the principal actor in all this but it has beside it among other flunkey nations, perhaps the worst of them all, Canada, which has been an enthusiastic partner in crime of the United States since the end of the Second World War. We cannot forget its role in the aggression against North Korea, the Soviet Union, China, its secret role in the American aggression against Vietnam, against Iraq, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, Haiti, Iran, and the past several years Venezuela.

Canada will take the lead in the aggression against Venezuela on Monday February 4 th when it hosts a meeting in Ottawa of a group of international war crime conspirators, known as The Lima Group, a group of Latin American and Caribbean lackeys of the United States, including Mexico and Canada which was set up by the United States at a meeting in Lima, Peru on August 8, 2017 with the express purpose of overthrowing President Maduro.

Canada's harridan of foreign affairs, Chrystia Freeland, stated to the press recently that "Canada needs to play a leading role in the Lima Group because the crisis in Venezuela is unfolding in Canada's global backyard. This is our neighbourhood. We have a direct interest in what happens in our hemisphere."

"In Canada's global backyard?" It's astonishing to read it. Canada regards the globe as its backyard? She manages to reveal a severe case of megalomania and insult the rest of the nations of the world at the same time. Her statement that Venezuela "is our neighbourhood" is almost a direct adoption of the American claim to hegemony and "interventionism" in the western hemisphere as if Canada completely identifies itself with the United States, that is, in terms of foreign policy, has completely merged with the United States.

But, by doing so, the Canadian elite show themselves to be the enemies of progress and economic and social justice; shows them to be the antihuman reactionaries that they are. They also make themselves world outlaws.

Freeland claims that the Lima Group meeting will "address the political and economic crisis in Venezuela," yet it is Canada that, along with the United States that has created the very crisis they are using as a pretext to attack President Maduro. It is they that have tried to topple both him and Chavez through assassination plots, threatened military invasion and economic warfare that has the sole purpose of disrupting the social and economic life of Venezuela, of making life as miserable as possible in order to foment unrest while conspiring with internal reactionary forces.

The Lima Group, began its dirty work in 2017 by issuing statements condemning the Bolivarian revolution, claimed that there was a break down of law and order in Venezuela and attempted to cancel the elections just held which gave President Maduro a solid majority of 68% of the votes in what all international elections observers judged free and fair.

Following the election of Maduro all of these nations withdrew their ambassadors from Venezuela. They did all this while claiming that their actions were taken "with full respect for the norms of international law and the principle of nonintervention" when they are plainly violating all norms of international law and the principle of non-intervention. They are also violating the UN Charter that prohibits any nation or group of nations from taken action outside the framework of the UN Security Council against any other nation.

The Ottawa meeting is in fact a meeting of criminal conspirators that are intent on committing acts of aggression, the supreme war crime against a sovereign nation and people. Intervention is generally prohibited under international law because it violates the concept of independent state sovereignty. All nations have the right to govern themselves as they deem fit and that no nation could rightfully interfere in the government of another. Since there can be no intervention without the presence of force or threats of its use the actions taken and threats made against Venezuela constitute the crime of aggression under international law.

The US and Canada are now threatening the use of armed force against Venezuela. John Bolton stated that all options are on the table and has even threatened Maduro with imprisonment in the US torture chambers of Guantanamo Bay. Britain has seized Venezuelan funds sitting in London banks, and the US and its flunkies are now trying to stop Venezuela and Turkey from dealing in Venezuelan gold, and, to add to their net, accuse them of sending the gold to Iran in violation of their illegal "sanctions."

The hypocrisy hits you in the face especially when some of the same nations in the Lima Gang recognised as far bas as 1826 at the Congress of Panama the absolute prohibition of intervention by states in each other's internal affairs. In attendance, were the states of Columbia, Central America, Mexico, and Peru. Led by Simon Bolivar, the Congress declared its determination to maintain "the sovereignty and independence of all and each of the confederated powers of America against foreign subjection."

At the Seventh International Conference of American States held in Montevideo in 1933, The Convention on Rights and Duties of States, issued at the conclusion of the conference, to which the U.S. was a signatory, declared that "no state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another." The legal position of the doctrine of nonintervention was solidified three years later at Buenos Aires with the adoption of the Additional Protocol Relative to Non-Intervention. This document declared "inadmissible the intervention of any of the parties to the treaty, directly or indirectly, and for whatever reason, in the internal or external affairs of any other of the Parties." The U.S. government agreed to this treaty without reservation as well.

The United Nations has become the primary source of the rules of International behavior since World War II. The principle of nonintervention between states is everywhere implicit in the Charter of the United Nations. Article 1 of the U.N. Charter sets out the four purposes of the organization, one of which is "to maintain international peace and security," a task which includes the suppression of "threats to the peace," "acts of aggression" and "other breaches of the peace." Another is "to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people." Article 2(1) goes on to base the organization on "the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members."Articles 2(3) and 2(4) require Member States to utilize peaceful means in the settlement of disputes and to refrain from the use of force.

Article 2(4) states:

"All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."

Thus, Article 2(4) prohibits the use of the economic and political pressures and the indirect subversion which is an integral part of covert action.

That covert action is forbidden under the law of the U.N. is supported

by the numerous resolutions passed by the General Assembly which assert the right to national sovereignty and the principle of nonintervention in general, while specifically condemning particular tactics used in covert action.

At the risk of tiring the reader, I think it is worthwhile to reiterate what the General Assembly of the United Nations has stated over and again beginning with Resolution 290 (iv) in 1949. Referred to as the "Essentials of Peace"

Resolution, this enactment called upon every nation to "refrain from any threats or acts, direct or indirect, aimed at impairing the freedom, independence or integrity of any State, or at fomenting civil strife and subverting the will of the people in any state."'

Resolution 1236(XII)passed in 1957, declared that "peaceful and tolerant relations among States" should be based upon "respect for each other's sovereignty,equality and territorial integrity and nonintervention in one another's internal affairs.'

The first General Assembly resolution specifically prohibiting covert action was Resolution 213 1(XX). Entitled the "Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty," this resolution was based on proposals made by the Soviet Union, nineteen Latin American States, and the United Arab Republic, whose draft resolution

was co-sponsored by 26 other non-aligned countries. The declaration restated the aims and purposes of the U.N. and noted the importance of recognizing State sovereignty and freedom to self-determination in the current political atmosphere. The eighth preambular paragraph of Resolution stated that, "direct intervention, subversion and all forms of indirect intervention are contrary" to the principles of the U.N. and, "consequently,

constitute a violation of the Charter of the United Nations."' The operative portion of the declaration consists of eight paragraphs, the first of which makes clear there can be no "intervention as of right":

"1. No State has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. Consequently, armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements, are condemned.'

In another paragraph the Resolution precisely defined the scope of its prohibition against intervention, demonstrating the illicit status of covert activities:

"2. No State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another state in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights or to secure from it advantages of any kind. Also, no state shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed toward the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State."

Resolution 2225(XXI) reaffirmed the principles and rules ex-pressed in Resolution 2131 (XX), and urged "the immediate cessation of intervention,in any form whatever, in the domestic or external affairs of States," and condemned "all forms of intervention . . . as a basic source of danger to the cause of world peace."

Finally, the Resolution called upon all states to, "refrain from armed intervention or the promotion or organization of subversion, terrorism or other indirect forms of intervention for the purpose of changing by violence the existing system in another State or interfering in civil strife in another State."

By Resolution 2625 (XXV), the General Assembly adopted the "Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations." The Declaration had its origins with the first meeting of the Special Committee on the Principles of International Law held in 1964 in Mexico City. This document asserted seven basic principles of international law, then elaborated how these principles were to be realized. The seven principles embodied in the Declaration were: a) the principle prohibiting the threat or use of force in international relations;b) the principle requiring the peaceful settlement of disputes; c)the duty of nonintervention; d) the duty of states to cooperate with each other; e) the principle of equal rights and self-determination of all people;f) the principle of sovereign equality of states; and g) the good faith duty of states to fulfill their obligations under the Charter.

In its discussion of the first principle – that states refrain from the threat or use of force – the Declaration emphasizes the duty of each state "to refrain from organizing or encouraging the organization of irregular forces or armed bands, including mercenaries, for incursion into the territory of another state." In addition, the Declaration insists that every state has a duty "to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in acts of civil strife or terrorist acts in another State or to allow such acts to be operated from its territory."

I can go on listing other UN resolutions stating the same. Again and again the General Assembly hammered home the importance of the principle of nonintervention as a central maxim of international law.

Resolution 34/103 addressed the inadmissibility of the policy of "hegemonism" in international relations and defined that term as the "manifestation of the policy of a State, or a group of States, to control, dominate and subjugate, politically, economically, ideologically or militarily, other States, peoples or regions of the world."' The resolution,inter alia, called upon states to observe the principles of the Charter and the principle of nonintervention. By this resolution it was declared that the General Assembly, "Resolutely condemns policies of pressure and use or threat of use of force, direct or indirect aggression,occupation and the growing practice of interference and intervention,overt or covert, in the internal affairs of states."'

In 1981, the "Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States" was adopted by the General Assembly through Resolution 36/103. One of the duties imposed upon states by the Declaration was: "The duty of a State to refrain from armed intervention, subversion, military occupation or any other form of intervention and interference,overt or covert, directed at another State or group of States, or any act of military, political or economic interference in the internal affairs of another State, including acts of reprisal involving the use of force.' In addition, the Declaration called upon states to refrain from any action which seeks to disrupt the unity or to undermine or subvert the political order of other States, training and equipping mercenaries or armed bands, hostile propaganda, and the use of "external economic assistance" programs or "transnational and multinational corporations under its jurisdiction and control as instruments of political pressure and control."'

So, there you have it; the law. The world can see that the Lima Gang, who like to use the phrase "the rule of law" in their diktats to others, are committing egregious crimes under international law and together these crimes are components of the supreme war crime of aggression. The Lima Group therefore is a group of international criminal conspirators and the every individual involved is a war criminal. So when the Lima conspirators issue their press statement after the Ottawa meeting, planning aggression against Venezuela, calling for the overthrow, for the head of President Maduro and dressing it up in the usual language of the aggressor, of "human rights" and "democracy" and their fake and illegal doctrine of "responsibility to protect" it will not be issued by nations interested in peace or who have respect for international law but by a gang of criminals, of international outlaws.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel " Beneath the Clouds . He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."
https://journal-neo.org/2019/02/04/the-lima-group-international-outlaws/

[Feb 08, 2019] Michael Hudson The Shape of the Venezuelan Economy, from Chavez to Maduro and Beyond

Notable quotes:
"... Interview conducted by The Saker with Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is ..."
"... . Cross-posted from Hudson's site . ..."
"... Maduro's defensive move is showing other countries the need to protect themselves from becoming "another Venezuela" by finding a new safe haven and paying agent for their gold, foreign exchange reserves and foreign debt financing, away from the dollar, sterling and euro areas. ..."
"... The Trump administration is destroying illusion more thoroughly than any anti-imperialist critic or economic rival could do! ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Interview conducted by The Saker with Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is J is for Junk Economics . Cross-posted from Hudson's site .

1. Could you summarize the state of Venezuela's economy when Chavez came to power?

Venezuela was an oil monoculture. Its export revenue was spent largely on importing food and other necessities that it could have produced at home. Its trade was largely with the United States. So despite its oil wealth, it ran up foreign debt.

From the outset, U.S. oil companies have feared that Venezuela might someday use its oil revenues to benefit its overall population instead of letting the U.S. oil industry and its local comprador aristocracy siphon off its wealth. So the oil industry – backed by U.S. diplomacy – held Venezuela hostage in two ways.
First of all, oil refineries were not built in Venezuela, but in Trinidad and in the southern U.S. Gulf Coast states. This enabled U.S. oil companies – or the U.S. Government – to leave Venezuela without a means of "going it alone" and pursuing an independent policy with its oil, as it needed to have this oil refined. It doesn't help to have oil reserves if you are unable to get this oil refined so as to be usable.

Second, Venezuela's central bankers were persuaded to pledge their oil reserves and all assets of the state oil sector (including Citgo) as collateral for its foreign debt. This meant that if Venezuela defaulted (or was forced into default by U.S. banks refusing to make timely payment on its foreign debt), bondholders and U.S. oil majors would be in a legal position to take possession of Venezuelan oil assets.

These pro-U.S. policies made Venezuela a typically polarized Latin American oligarchy. Despite being nominally rich in oil revenue, its wealth was concentrated in the hands of a pro-U.S. oligarchy that let its domestic development be steered by the World Bank and IMF. The indigenous population, especially its rural racial minority as well as the urban underclass, was excluded from sharing in the country's oil wealth. The oligarchy's arrogant refusal to share the wealth, or even to make Venezuela self-sufficient in essentials, made the election of Hugo Chavez a natural outcome.

2. Could you outline the various reforms and changes introduced by Hugo Chavez? What did he do right, and what did he do wrong?

Chavez sought to restore a mixed economy to Venezuela, using its government revenue – mainly from oil, of course – to develop infrastructure and domestic spending on health care, education, employment to raise living standards and productivity for his electoral constituency.

What he was unable to do was to clean up the embezzlement and built-in rake-off of income from the oil sector. And he was unable to stem the capital flight of the oligarchy, taking its wealth and moving it abroad – while running away themselves.

This was not "wrong". It merely takes a long time to change an economy's disruption – while the U.S. is using sanctions and "dirty tricks" to stop that process.

3. What are, in your opinion, the causes of the current economic crisis in Venezuela – is it primarily due to mistakes by Chavez and Maduro or is the main cause US sabotage, subversion and sanctions?

There is no way that's Chavez and Maduro could have pursued a pro-Venezuelan policy aimed at achieving economic independence without inciting fury, subversion and sanctions from the United States. American foreign policy remains as focused on oil as it was when it invaded Iraq under Dick Cheney's regime. U.S. policy is to treat Venezuela as an extension of the U.S. economy, running a trade surplus in oil to spend in the United States or transfer its savings to U.S. banks.

By imposing sanctions that prevent Venezuela from gaining access to its U.S. bank deposits and the assets of its state-owned Citco, the United States is making it impossible for Venezuela to pay its foreign debt. This is forcing it into default, which U.S. diplomats hope to use as an excuse to foreclose on Venezuela's oil resources and seize its foreign assets much as Paul Singer's hedge fund sought to do with Argentina's foreign assets.

Just as U.S. policy under Kissinger was to make Chile's "economy scream," so the U.S. is following the same path against Venezuela. It is using that country as a "demonstration effect" to warn other countries not to act in their self-interest in any way that prevents their economic surplus from being siphoned off by U.S. investors.

4. What in your opinion should Maduro do next (assuming he stays in power and the USA does not overthrow him) to rescue the Venezuelan economy?

I cannot think of anything that President Maduro can do that he is not doing. At best, he can seek foreign support – and demonstrate to the world the need for an alternative international financial and economic system.

He already has begun to do this by trying to withdraw Venezuela's gold from the Bank of England and Federal Reserve. This is turning into "asymmetrical warfare," threatening what to de-sanctify the dollar standard in international finance. The refusal of England and the United States to grant an elected government control of its foreign assets demonstrates to the entire world that U.S. diplomats and courts alone can and will control foreign countries as an extension of U.S. nationalism.

The price of the U.S. economic attack on Venezuela is thus to fracture the global monetary system. Maduro's defensive move is showing other countries the need to protect themselves from becoming "another Venezuela" by finding a new safe haven and paying agent for their gold, foreign exchange reserves and foreign debt financing, away from the dollar, sterling and euro areas.

The only way that Maduro can fight successfully is on the institutional level, upping the ante to move "outside the box." His plan – and of course it is a longer-term plan – is to help catalyze a new international economic order independent of the U.S. dollar standard. It will work in the short run only if the United States believes that it can emerge from this fight as an honest financial broker, honest banking system and supporter of democratically elected regimes. The Trump administration is destroying illusion more thoroughly than any anti-imperialist critic or economic rival could do!

Over the longer run, Maduro also must develop Venezuelan agriculture, along much the same lines that the United States protected and developed its agriculture under the New Deal legislation of the 1930s – rural extension services, rural credit, seed advice, state marketing organizations for crop purchase and supply of mechanization, and the same kind of price supports that the United States has long used to subsidize domestic farm investment to increase productivity.

[Feb 08, 2019] The Inside Story Of Juan Guaido's Big Gamble For Venezuela

Along with the USA there is a group La countries (and Canada) with the specific goal of "regime change" in Venezuela. Much like multinational forces in Iraq. From Wikipedia: ... established following the Lima Declaration on 8 August 2017 in the Peruvian capital of Lima, where representatives of 12 countries met in order to establish a peaceful exit to the crisis in Venezuela.[1] Among other issues, the now 14-country group demands the release of political prisoners, calls for free elections, offers humanitarian aid and criticizes the breakdown of democratic order in Venezuela under the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela.
Notable quotes:
"... Not everyone agreed that Guaido and his Popular Will party should be the one to be pushed forward as "Interim President" but the moment it happened, this forced the opposition to immediately unify behind him, based on the no turning back momentum created : ..."
"... The results of that fateful decision are still being played out in the streets, and on the international stage as countries line up for and against Maduro (China, Russia and Turkey among Maduro supporters, with the US and European countries backing Guaido as legitimate leader). ..."
"... However, the WSJ report closes with crucial bombshell information regarding what it took for the opposition to cross that line, and for Guaido to step out in confidence. What was the key factor in the final push? First, Canada and US allies in Latin America initiated something dramatic... ..."
"... But most importantly, Washington came calling at a key moment the opposition was fractured and still indecisive and divided , in what is a central revelation concerning the anti-Maduro movement's calculations : ..."
"... And there it is -- a stunning mainstream media admission that the political drama and crisis now unfolding in Venezuela, now quickly turning into a global geopolitical pressure spot and conflagration -- was pushed forward and given assistance directly from the White House from the very beginning . ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

A new WSJ report asks what the Hell is going on? in Venezuela and provides new information behind How a Small Group Seized Control of Venezuela's Opposition to make the extremely risky move of pushing forward 35-year old opposition leader and National Assembly head Juan Guaido to declare himself "Interim President" -- precipitating the crisis that's seen the noose tighten around President Nicolas Maduro's rule as over a dozen countries led by the US have declared him "illegitimate".

For starters, the report paints current events as having started with a "big gamble" that was largely unplanned and unexpected within even the political opposition itself, and which further had the hidden hand of the White House and State Department behind it from the very beginning, pushing the opposition forward at the most critical juncture . Outlining the past difficulties of Venezuela's "notoriously fractious opposition" and the deep divide over the question of whether to enter direct negotiations or take more aggressive action to undermine Maduro, the WSJ describes :

When Juan Guaidó declared himself Venezuela's interim president on Jan. 23 in front of a crowd of 100,000 people under a broiling sun, some leading opposition figures had no idea he would do so, say people who work with Mr. Guaidó and other top leaders . That included a few standing alongside him. A stern look of shock crossed their faces. Some quietly left the stage.

"What the hell is going on?" one member of a group of politicians wrote to the others in a WhatsApp group chat. "How come we didn't know about this."

The plan was so risky -- especially to Guaido personally as he had been arrested and briefly detained after his vehicle was rushed by secret police only less than two weeks prior -- that the final decision of public confrontation with the Maduro regime was left entirely up to him in the hours leading up to the Jan.23 rally.

Not everyone agreed that Guaido and his Popular Will party should be the one to be pushed forward as "Interim President" but the moment it happened, this forced the opposition to immediately unify behind him, based on the no turning back momentum created :

Mr. Guaidó himself only agreed to act the day before he declared himself interim president, his aides said. Some politicians -- including those in the traditional Democratic Action Party, the largest opposition party -- weren't told of the plan .

"We didn't want them to mess it up," said one opposition leader who knew of the strategy.

The results of that fateful decision are still being played out in the streets, and on the international stage as countries line up for and against Maduro (China, Russia and Turkey among Maduro supporters, with the US and European countries backing Guaido as legitimate leader).

The high stakes maneuver "was largely devised by a group of four opposition leaders -- two in exile, one under house arrest and one barred from leaving the country" and was predictably immediately denounced by Maduro "as part of a U.S.-backed coup to overthrow his government."

But as the WSJ concludes, "The act of political skulduggery paid off. The crowd reacted ecstatically to Mr. Guaidó, and one nation after another recognized him within hours." Among the "plotters" included Guaido's political mentor Leopoldo López, now under house arrest in Caracas, and Edgar Zambrano, vice president of the National Assembly of power allied opposition party Democratic Action.

Zambrano related to the WSJ that the risk was so high that in the end the "final decision" to pull the trigger laid with Guaido:

Mr. Zambrano, one of the opposition leaders who appeared surprised on stage on Jan. 23, said the possibility of Mr. Guaidó assuming the presidency had been discussed in the weeks before, but that the final decision was in the hands of the young leader because of the risks it entailed .

However, the WSJ report closes with crucial bombshell information regarding what it took for the opposition to cross that line, and for Guaido to step out in confidence. What was the key factor in the final push? First, Canada and US allies in Latin America initiated something dramatic...

A breakthrough came on Jan. 4, when the Lima Group of 14 Latin American countries and Canada issued a letter calling on Mr. Maduro to hand over power to the National Assembly. The near-bellicose nature of the letter surprised opposition leaders, reinforcing the idea they should take action .

But most importantly, Washington came calling at a key moment the opposition was fractured and still indecisive and divided , in what is a central revelation concerning the anti-Maduro movement's calculations :

When Mr. Guaidó should try to assume the interim presidency was up for debate. Some argued that it should happen before Mr. Maduro took the oath. Others proposed creating a commission to challenge Mr. Maduro's claim to office.

As late as Jan. 22, the day before it happened, Mr. Guaidó wasn't fully convinced . He came around after Vice President Mike Pence called to assure that, if he were to invoke the Venezuelan constitution in being sworn in as the country's rightful leader, the U.S. would back the opposition.

And there it is -- a stunning mainstream media admission that the political drama and crisis now unfolding in Venezuela, now quickly turning into a global geopolitical pressure spot and conflagration -- was pushed forward and given assistance directly from the White House from the very beginning .


r0mulus , 40 minutes ago link

Guaido: "Gee I can't wait for all that Western oil money to fill up meh pockets. EhhhrrMMMmm I can't wait to sell out the Venezuelan people to the FED, BoE and ECB. D'oh- where'd my CIA handler go?"

Also, lol at the Journal for this gem " The act of political skulduggery paid off. The crowd reacted ecstatically to Mr. Guaidó, and one nation after another recognized him within hours. " Translation: "Wow- we're SO surprised that the Western vassal states all followed their master's lead by kowtowing in quick succession! Gee whiz- mind BLOWN!"

JamesinNM , 11 minutes ago link

Read the Saker's interview with economist Michael Hudson at UNZ web site.

Scipio Africanuz , 49 minutes ago link

The WSJ has provided the "House" plausible deniability, will the "House" take it, or will the minions sabotage? Stay tuned folks, as we discover who's honorable, who's courageous, and who's pragmatic...

IronForge , 50 minutes ago link

Jimmy Dore Show(Guest Martin and Others) on Guaido.

Opposition have Higher Disapproval Ratings...

https://youtu.be/98pBLXe7Bmk

dirty fingernails , 1 hour ago link

RT is reporting this CIA stooge is considering "authorizing" thw US to attack Maduro.

admin user , 1 hour ago link

Pretty savvy if Trump's team pull it off.

Big ******* mess if it backfires.

1.21 jigawatts , 1 hour ago link

I never in a million years thought I'd ever be rooting for Maduro.

AllBentOutOfShape , 1 hour ago link

This POS is even considering "authorizing" a US invasion, even though he has no such authority.

https://www.rt.com/news/451026-guaido-venezuela-military-intervention/

Further proof this guy is a treasonous little bitch that needs to be arrested and prosecuted by the Supreme Tribunal Court of Venezuela. He's a traitor to ALL Venezuelans by colluding with foreign powers to overthrow his elected president.

dirty fingernails , 1 hour ago link

Lets be honest, sending in the US military was the first choice and all the rest of this has been setting the stage. It's been 2 years, time for Trump to start a war, by the prevailing MIC schedule.

eurotrash96 , 59 minutes ago link

Oh please. Maduro the elected president? He won his election after blocking the opposition parties to take part. Please read the Venezuelan Constitution before commenting. Not any election is valid or democratic. Maduro should be in jail. Guaido is asking for new and fair elections. ... OOOOH how undemocratic!!! I am against foreign intervention, but in this case the 3 million Venezuelan real refugees (10% of the Venezuelan population and not organised political caravans trying to reach the USA) in neighbour countries tips my view. Therefore I support the constitutional president Guaido and any help the international community can give him.

pablozz , 1 hour ago link

Idiot . The opposition boycotted the election as they couldn't win. International observers (usa wouldn't come) say it was fairer than usa elections lol. Sure maduro isn't a saint. He also gave out prizes to collect after voting . But that's not bribing people could vote for anyone and still collect a few foods in a bag

eurotrash96 , 46 minutes ago link

Glad you easily and simply solved the reason why the opposition boycotted, not the presidential election , but the assembly's.

Betrayed , 1 hour ago link

That a boy Trumpy! You got the right FukWits on the job. Bibi and Sheldon are jumping for joy with the addition of Abrams. Now you got your Zio dream team. BoltON, PompAss, and Abram's. Just think what a murderous war mongering team for IsraHell you could have if ya rolled **** Chenney in the mix. Now there's someone who won't **** around getting a Zio war going.

eekastar , 1 hour ago link

Just in:

Guaido is ruling out "authorizing" US intervention

https://www.rt.com/news/451026-guaido-venezuela-military-intervention/

So intervention is immenent and his hands are "clean?"

Betrayed , 1 hour ago link

Get it Right.

He ISN'T ruling out authorizing US intervention.

4Celts , 1 hour ago link

Cheney , the virtue less, honor less, 2 time OUI conviction,electricians apprentice , went as far as helping to murder 3,000 Americans . All so he could impress his societal status ambitious wife . A Rumsfeld ass kissing loser . Spineless goy are 50% of the problem .

LolitaExpressPizzaGate , 1 hour ago link

Brother Nathanael on Venezuela. Short and to the point...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZg1akT24XQ

yMorH , 2 hours ago link

Maduro crimes, Chavez crimes or US crimes! Read this: http://thesaker.is/saker-interview-with-michael-hudson-on-venezuela-february-7-2019/

Whatch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-8nT_OD0MU

navy62802 , 2 hours ago link

Guaido is obviously an agent of the CIA. This fact does not absolve Maduro of his crimes. But it does show that the US is balls deep in the Venezuela problem.

Zeusky Babarusky , 51 minutes ago link

The US has slaughtered over 60,000,000 since 1973. Wonder how that stacks up against Maduro's numbers?

[Feb 07, 2019] I believe I've found the reason for Canada's active participation in the coup

Feb 07, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bobzibub , Feb 7, 2019 8:49:59 PM | link

I believe I've found the reason for Canada's active participation in the coup. Venezuela was harming Canadian mining company interests. Haiti redux?
John Gilberts , Feb 7, 2019 8:52:21 PM | link
How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump's Coup in Venezuela

https://off-guardian.org/2019/02/07/how-chrystia-freeland-organized-donald-trumps-coup-in-venezuela

Canada's friendly fascist Freeland...

james , Feb 7, 2019 8:56:53 PM | link
@50 bobzibub... your link doesn't bring me to the article, but i suspect it is more then just crystallix - the canuck gold mining company - that are pushing for a change in power in venezuala.. as i understand it, there are a number of canuck mining and oil related interests where they would like to exploit venezuala and can't seem to get around the democractically elected gov't of maduros..

looks like this might be related, or the article you were trying to post? an american judge says crystallex can have citgo, lol....

[Feb 07, 2019] Venezuela's central bankers were persuaded to pledge their oil reserves and all assets of the state oil sector (including Citgo) as collateral for its foreign debt

Feb 07, 2019 | www.unz.com

kauchai, February 7, 2019 at 1:51 am GMT

" Second, Venezuela's central bankers were persuaded to pledge their oil reserves and all assets of the state oil sector (including Citgo) as collateral for its foreign debt. This meant that if Venezuela defaulted (or was forced into default by U.S. banks refusing to make timely payment on its foreign debt), bondholders and U.S. oil majors would be in a legal position to take possession of Venezuelan oil assets."

Solid proof that it was the empire who invented the practice of "debt trap" and is still flourishing with it.

hunor, February 7, 2019 at 6:24 am GMT

Thank you ! Made it very clear. Perfect reflection of the " Values of Western Civilization ".

Reaching to grab the whole universe, with no holds barred . And never show of any interest for the " truth". They are not even pretending anymore , awakening will be very painful for some.

Reuben Kaspate, February 7, 2019 at 2:38 pm GMT • 100 Words

Why would the U. S. based White-Protestant aristocracy care a hoot about the Brown-Catholic elites in the far off land? They don't! The comprador aristocracy in question isn't what it seems It's the same group that plagues the Americans.

The rootless louts, whose only raison d'ę·tre is to milk everything in sight and then retire to coastal cities, i.e. San Francisco, if you are a homosexual or New York City and State, if you are somewhat religious.

Poor Venezuelans don't stand a chance against the shysters!

[Feb 07, 2019] Venezuela - U.S. Aid Gambit Fails - War Plans Lack Support

Notable quotes:
"... Qatar's ambassador in Mauritania allegedly offered his Syrian counterpart an advance payment of US$1 million and a monthly salary of $20,000 over 20 years, trying to convince the diplomat to defect and voice support for the opposition. ..."
"... All they need is a couple of snipers to kill protesters and the Mighty Wurlitzer of propaganda will supply the war, to paraphrase William Randolph Hearst. ..."
"... Elliot Abrams seems to be having trouble getting this coup off the ground. He must wonder what happened to the good old days of death squads and contras.... ..."
Feb 07, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

A day after the U.S. coup attempt in Venezuela the U.S. game plan was already quite obvious:

The opposition in Venezuela will probably use access to that 'frozen' money to buy weapons and to create an army of mercenaries to fight a 'civil' war against the government and its followers. Like in Syria U.S. special forces or some CIA 'contractors' will be eager to help. The supply line for such a war would most likely run through Colombia. If, like 2011 in Syria, a war on the ground is planned it will likely begin in the cities near that border.

bigger

The U.S. is using the pretext of 'delivering humanitarian aid' from Columbia to Venezuela to undermine the government and to establish a supply line for further operations. It is another attempt to pull the military onto the coup plotter's side:

[I]f the trucks do get across, the opposition can present itself as an answer to Venezuela's chronic suffering, while Mr. Maduro will appear to have lost control of the country's borders. That could accelerate defections from the ruling party and the military.

Dimitris Pantoulas, a political scientist in Caracas, called the opposition's aid delivery plan a high-stakes gamble.

...

"This is 99 percent about the military and one percent about the humanitarian aspects," he said. "The opposition is testing the military's loyalty, raising their cost of supporting Maduro. Are they with Maduro, or no? Will they reject the aid? If the answer is no, then Maduro's hours are numbered."

A New York Times op-ed by a right-wing former foreign minister of Mexico, Jorge G. Castañeda, details the escalation potential :

According to Mr. Guaidó and other sources, $20 million in American medicines and food will be unloaded this week just outside Venezuelan territory in Cúcuta, Colombia; Brazil, and on a Caribbean island -- either Aruba or Curaçao -- near the Venezuelan coast.

Venezuelan military officials and troops in exile will then move these supplies into Venezuela, where if all goes well, army troops still loyal to Mr. Maduro will not stop their passage nor fire upon them. If they do, the Brazilian and Colombian governments may be willing to back the anti-Maduro soldiers.

The threat of a firefight with their neighbors might just be the incentive the Venezuelan military need to jettison Mr. Maduro, making the reality of combat unnecessary.

This escalation strategy is unlikely to work unless some additional provocation is involved. The Venezuelan government blocked the border bridge between Cúcuta in Colombia and San Cristobal in Venezuela. Its military stands ready to stop any violation of the country's border.

The U.S. responded to the blocking of the road with a sanctimonious tweet:

Secretary Pompeo @SecPompeo - 16:55 utc - 6 Feb 2019

The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The U.S. & other countries are trying to help, but #Venezuela's military under Maduro's orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE. #EstamosUnidosVE

The U.S. government, which actively helps to starve the people of Yemen into submission, is concerned about Venezuela where so far no one has died of starvation? The lady ain't gonna believe that.

The Venezuelan military has shown no sign of interest to change its loyalty. The fake aid will be rejected.

The government of Venezuela does not reject aid that comes without political interference. Last year it accepted modest UN aid which consisted mostly of medical supplies from which Venezuela had been cut off due to U.S. sanctions. The UN claimed that around 12 percent of Venezuelans are undernourished. But such claims have been made for years while reports from Venezuela (vid) confirmed only some scarcity of specific products. There is no famine in Venezuela that would require immediate intervention.

The International Red Cross, the Catholic church's aid organization Caritas and the United Nations rejected U.S. requests to help deliver the currently planned 'aid' because it is so obviously politicized:

"Humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or other objectives," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York on Wednesday.

...

"What is important is that humanitarian aid be depoliticised and that the needs of the people should lead in terms of when and how humanitarian aid is used," Dujarric added.

Rejecting aid out of political reasons is not unusual. When the hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused huge damage along the U.S. gulf coast, a number of countries offered humanitarian and technical aid. U.S. President Bush accepted help from some countries, but rejected aid from other ones :

An offer of aid from the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, which included two mobile hospital units, 120 rescue and first aid experts and 50 tonnes of food, has been rejected, according to the civil rights leader, Jesse Jackson.

Mr Jackson said the offer from the Venezuelan leader, whom he recently met, included 10 water purification plants, 18 power generation plants and 20 tonnes of bottled water.

The U.S. intent to establish a 'humanitarian aid' supply line into Venezuela has a secondary purpose. Such aid is the ideal cover for weapon supplies. In the 1980s designated 'humanitarian aid' flights for Nicaragua were filled with weapons . The orders for those flights were given by Elliot Abrams who is now Trump's special envoy for Venezuela.

While the trucks from Colombia are blocked at the border other 'humanitarian aid' from the United States reached the country .

Officials in Venezuela have accused the US of sending a cache of high-powered rifles and ammunition on a commercial cargo flight from Miami so they would get into the hands of President Nicolás Maduro's opponents.

Members with the Venezuelan National Guard [GNB] and the National Integrated Service of Customs and Tax Administration [SENIAT] made the shocking discovery just two days after the plane arrived at Arturo Michelena International Airport in Valencia.

Inspectors found 19 rifles, 118 magazines and 90 wireless radios while investigating the flight which they said arrived Sunday afternoon. Monday's bust also netted four rifle stands, three rifle scopes and six iPhones.

The pictures show sufficient equipment for an infantry squad. Fifteen AR-15 assault rifles (5.56), one squad automatic weapon (7.62) with a drum magazine, and a Colt 7.62 sniper gun as well as accessory equipment. What is missing is the ammunition.

Where one such weapon transport is caught multiple are likely to go through. But to run a war against the government pure weapon supplies are not enough. The U.S. will have to establish a continuous supply line for heavy and bulky ammunition. That is where 'humanitarian aid' convoys come in.

Unless a large part of the Venezuelan military changes sides, any attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government by force is likely doomed to fail. The U.S. could use its full military might to destroy the Venezuelan army. But the U.S. Senate is already quarreling about the potential use of U.S. forces in Venezuela. The Democrats strongly reject that.

A Senate resolution to back Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, once expected to get unanimous support, has been torpedoed by a disagreement over the use of military force, according to aides and senators working on the issue.
...
"I think it's important for the Senate to express itself on democracy in Venezuela, supporting interim President Guaido and supporting humanitarian assistance. But I also think it should be very clear in fact that support stops short of any type of military intervention," [Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.] told NBC News.

It is unlikely that Trump would order a military intervention without bipartisan support.

The a clandestine insertion of a mercenary 'guerrilla' force into Venezuela is surely possible. Minor supply lines can be established by secret means. But, as the war on Syria demonstrates, such plans can not be successful unless the people welcome the anti-government force.

Under the current government most people in Venezuela are still better off than under the pre-Chavez governments. This lecture and this thread explain the economic history of Venezuela and the enormous progress that was made under Chavez and Maduro. The people will not forget that even when the economic situation will become more difficult. They know who is pulling the strings behind the Random Guy Guaido who now claims the presidency. They know well that these rich people are unlikely to better their plight.

U.S. politicians are making the same mistakes with regards to Venezuela as they made with the regime change wars on Iraq and Syria. They believes that all people are as corrupt and nihilistic as they are. They believe that others will not fight for their own believes and their own style of life. They will again be proven wrong.


Never Mind the Bollocks , Feb 7, 2019 2:20:56 PM | link

Government shutdown, Venezuela: Donald Trump evolves into the best propagator of neoliberal fascism that tends to become a norm

mauisurfer , Feb 7, 2019 2:27:33 PM | link

Saker interview with Michael Hudson on Venezuela, February 7, 2019
http://thesaker.is/saker-interview-with-michael-hudson-on-venezuela-february-7-2019/
Peter AU 1 , Feb 7, 2019 2:48:55 PM | link
that the US cannot buy any part of the Venezuelan military is encouraging, though the US may be about to step things up a notch.

U.S. military ready to protect diplomats in Venezuela: admiral
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-veneuela-politics-usa-military/u-s-military-ready-to-protect-diplomats-in-venezuela-admiral-idUSKCN1PW1WG

US now has enough bootlickers signed up to the project that there will be no move against the US at the UNGA. 'Protecting' its diplomats will be a big enough fig leaf for the Trump admin.

https://sputniknews.com/world/201902071072214455-washington-decision-intervention/
According to Zakharova, the decision on the use of force has already been made by Washington, "everything else is nothing more than a covering operation".

james , Feb 7, 2019 2:51:13 PM | link
thanks b, for this and all the links to read... i liked your line here "The U.S. government, which actively helps to starve the people of Yemen into submission, is concerned about Venezuela where so far no one has died of starvation?" indeed and as you note in the last paragraph - "U.S. politicians are making the same mistakes with regards to Venezuela as they made with the regime change wars on Iraq and Syria. They believes that all people are as corrupt and nihilistic as they are. They believe that others will not fight for their own believes and their own style of life. They will again be proven wrong."

all these people preaching this kind of crap, must be getting good returns from who is paying them... the other person in the usa, europe and etc - don't believe this b.s. anymore..

Jonathan Gillispie , Feb 7, 2019 2:56:55 PM | link
As I predicted and expected this regime change stunt is already showing lots of holes.
Miss Lacy , Feb 7, 2019 2:57:04 PM | link
Bulletin Bulletin Bulletin. This just posted on RT. According to geography challenged (!!!!!) Pompous Pompeo = Hezbollah is now in Zenezuela. Yes. You read that right. And further more it's an Iranian Hezbollah. Look out.

Here's the money quote: "People don't recognize that Hezbollah has active cells -- the Iranians are impacting the people of Venezuela and throughout South America," adding that "We have an obligation to take down that risk for America."

He also is now referring to Guido-chump as "the duly elected president of Zenezuela." Transmutation Does exist. Amazing.
"throughout South America" Wow. A population explosion!

Is this guy Pompous Pompeo very very very confused?

psychohistorian , Feb 7, 2019 3:07:09 PM | link
Thanks for the ongoing reporting of this spinning plate of late empire.

It is encouraging to read that others are standing up to empire in their own little ways that all add up.

From reading comments here and on other sites I am also happy to be reading less BS about Trump being some sort of hidden savior as compared to Clinton II. He is a front for the elite just like Clinton II is/would have been.

mauisurfer , Feb 7, 2019 3:07:59 PM | link
Superimperialism, The Economic Strategy of American Empire by Michael Hudson, 2d edition 2003

https://michael-hudson.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/superimperialism.pdf

Peter AU 1 , Feb 7, 2019 3:13:18 PM | link
Fox news acclimatising their viewers to a military strike on Venezuela. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoHXWdwgH2c
Peter AU 1 , Feb 7, 2019 3:29:54 PM | link
From Hudson's piece linked to by mauisurfer

"Indeed ,the more America began to lose its hold on its noncommunist allies, the closer America and the Soviet Union drew together, precisely to threaten Europe and Asia with what Henry Kissinger called a new condominium, that is, joint imperialism of America and
Russia against their respective satellites."

This is what Kissinger and Trump are now trying to do. Trumps friendliness toward Russia has nothing to do with peace and goodness and everything to do with US domination of Asia and Europe.

S , Feb 7, 2019 3:34:05 PM | link
@mauisurfer #9: The reason your link breaks the page is that it does not have enough hyphens in it. So it stretches the page until there's a hyphen (between "michael" and "hudson"), whereupon the link finally wraps to the next line. This is not the first time you are ruining the page. In fact, we've talked about this quite recently. I will repeat what I wrote then: press "Preview" button before posting, check that everything looks right, only then press "Post". Please respect other posters.
Virgile , Feb 7, 2019 3:52:01 PM | link
Bloody Canada: Cheerleading the Lima Group's Plot to Overthrow the Government of Venezuela
by Maria Paez Victor
(María Páez Victor, Ph.D. is a Venezuelan born sociologist living in Canada).
Guaidó, a son of Spanish immigrants, is a useful idiot, a thug who will be thrown into the trashcan of history for his treason. He does not command any type of institution, not one policeman, not one ministry, no official agency of any sort. He is a president in his own mind and that of the USA Embassy where he is holed out.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/06/bloody-canada-cheerleading-the-lima-groups-plot-to-overthrow-the-government-of-venezuela/
Alpi57 , Feb 7, 2019 4:01:48 PM | link
And this today from RT:

https://www.rt.com/news/450925-pompeo-america-obligated-fights-iran-venezuela/

Are there any bounds to indecency and intellectual bankruptcy of these people? Is there a line, however desperate, they will not cross in order to achieve their goal? the answer is NO. This is a lost country morally, socially and economically. US is a country that needs a direct military intervention.......by all.

These are truly bizarre times we are living at.

karlof1 , Feb 7, 2019 4:15:32 PM | link
At Hudson's website, he gave the interview with Saker this title : "Venezuela as the pivot for New Internationalism?" Spread out in answer to Saker's questions are Hudson's suggestions for the institutions and mechanisms for such a new internationalism:

"The only way that Maduro can fight successfully is on the institutional level, upping the ante to move "outside the box." His plan – and of course it is a longer-term plan – is to help catalyze a new international economic order independent of the U.S. dollar standard. It will work in the short run only if the United States believes that it can emerge from this fight as an honest financial broker, honest banking system and supporter of democratically elected regimes. The Trump administration is destroying illusion more thoroughly than any anti-imperialist critic or economic rival could do!...

"Looking ahead, therefore, China, Russia, Iran and other countries need to set up a new international court to adjudicate the coming diplomatic crisis and its financial and military consequences. Such a court – and its associated international bank as an alternative to the U.S.-controlled IMF and World Bank – needs a clear ideology to frame a set of principles of nationhood and international rights with power to implement and enforce its judgments.

"This hostage-taking [of gold and other assets] now makes it urgent for other countries to develop a viable alternative , especially as the world de-dedollarizes and a gold-exchange standard remains the only way of constraining the military-induced balance of payments deficit of the United States or any other country mounting a military attack."...

"Given the fact that the EU is acting as a branch of NATO and the U.S. banking system, that alternative would have to be associated with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the gold would have to be kept in Russia and/or China ."...

"The best thing neighboring Latin American countries can do is to join in creating a vehicle to promote de-dollarization and, with it, an international institution to oversee the writedown of debts that are beyond the ability of countries to pay without imposing austerity and thereby destroying their economies .

" An alternative also is needed to the World Bank that would make loans in domestic currency, above all to subsidize investment in domestic food production so as to protect the economy against foreign food-sanctions – the equivalent of a military siege to force surrender by imposing famine conditions. This World Bank for Economic Acceleration would put the development of self-reliance for its members first , instead of promoting export competition while loading borrowers down with foreign debt that would make them prone to the kind of financial blackmail that Venezuela is experiencing."...

" Two international principles are needed. First, no country should be obliged to pay foreign debt in a currency (such as the dollar or its satellites) whose banking system acts to prevent payment .

" Second, no country should be obliged to pay foreign debt at the price of losing its domestic autonomy as a state: the right to determine its own foreign policy, to tax and to create its own money, and to be free of having to privatize its public assets to pay foreign creditors . Any such debt is a "bad loan" reflecting the creditor's own irresponsibility or, even worse, pernicious asset grab in a foreclosure that was the whole point of the loan." [Emphasis mine to highlight Hudson's suggestions.]

It ought to be clear that Hudson's proposing a new international financial and political/judicial system to ultimately replace the UN and Bretton Woods created institutions. This is certainly the minimum requirement since the Outlaw US Empire has completely trashed the post WW2 system itself designed. Unfortunately, there's still the issue of containing and disciplining the Outlaw US Empire and subduing it so it cannot threaten the newly established institutions.

Martin , Feb 7, 2019 4:27:20 PM | link

According to the German newspaper Junge Welt the border bridge between Cúcuta in Colombia and San Cristobal in Venezuela, which you mentioned, has not been closed, since it has never been open. The article says, the alleged closure of the bridge is fake news to support the coup. https://www.jungewelt.de/artikel/348717.kampf-um-venezuela-no-pasar%C3%A1n.html

Nevertheless, thank you for your thoughts and information and please keep up the good work!

Posted by: Martin | Feb 7, 2019 4:27:20 PM | link

Mark2 , Feb 7, 2019 4:31:40 PM | link
Found this hope it might be of interest
https://mobile.twitter.com/venanalysis/status/1093324202717913089/photo/1
spudski , Feb 7, 2019 4:38:10 PM | link
Virgile @15

Couldn't agree more - we are such a US flunky. Also, the cbc has become increasingly pathetic and irrelevant - they're getting a good rogering on other sites such as Babble for their extraordinarily biased coverage of everything imperial.

In case no one has linked to it, here's a letter sent to the EU re May 20 elections in Venezuela:

https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/international-observers-to-venezuelas-election-pen-letter-to-the-eu

(Hopefully this is formatted okay.)

Pnyx , Feb 7, 2019 4:51:34 PM | link
"They know well that these rich people are unlikely to better their plight."
This is certainly correct but a terrible understatement. It should read: 'They know only to well out of experience, that the Venezuelan Sucker class will take bloody revenge if they succeed to gain power again.'
kem , Feb 7, 2019 4:57:07 PM | link
hope you are right, b. We will see how resilient the government is when the first public massacre of demonstrators happen which appears to be imminent as we all have seen this so many times.
jsb , Feb 7, 2019 4:58:42 PM | link
Venezuela has claimed to have unveiled a mass conspiracy involving military personnel and politicians trying to unseat the country's government by force, as well as plans of potential U.S. military action.

Britian's navy and marines are conducting military exercises close to Venezuela, the Morning Star has discovered.

Miss Lacy , Feb 7, 2019 5:35:37 PM | link
to Zanon. # 7 Yes of course they are allies. However, you must, I hope, admit that the idea of Hezbollah "cells" all over south america is a wee bit comical. The fact that the two countries are allies does not necessarily translate to "we must take them down." The way His Pomposity puts it, those cells are just sprouting up every where. It's a bit ridiculous.
Madmen , Feb 7, 2019 5:47:35 PM | link
B, don't forget the regime change playbook also involves bribing public officials to come over to their side. Here's any example of how it was done Syria:

Qatar's ambassador in Mauritania allegedly offered his Syrian counterpart an advance payment of US$1 million and a monthly salary of $20,000 over 20 years, trying to convince the diplomat to defect and voice support for the opposition.

https://www.rt.com/news/syria-ambassador-qatar-defection-421/

wagelaborer , Feb 7, 2019 6:52:26 PM | link
All they need is a couple of snipers to kill protesters and the Mighty Wurlitzer of propaganda will supply the war, to paraphrase William Randolph Hearst. You would think that the propaganda receivers would learn by now, with the same propaganda used time after time, year after year, war after war. You would be wrong. I am losing sympathy for the people of the imperial countries, and their inability to learn from experience.
Lozion , Feb 7, 2019 7:29:00 PM | link
@40 wagelaborer. Therein lies the challenge. Will Humanity keep listening to Ole Wurly's tune til the end or will it learn from its mistake and abandon the old schemes? In other words, will Man (and Woman, or course) become sovereign or will he/she stay a slave? Recent developments in Ukraine and especially Syria give hope that Homo Sapiens Ethicus is emerging..
Victor J. , Feb 7, 2019 7:29:38 PM | link
According to military expert Yuri Liamin Venezuela has S-300VM Antey-2500 and Buk-M2E long range air defenses, and Pechora-2M middle range air defenses. T-72B1V, BMP-3, BTR-80A, SAU Msta-S tanks. Noah-SVK, MLRS Grad and Smerch automatic propulsion arms. Su-30MK2 fighters. Well trained ground troops with Igla-S MANPADS and ZU-23 / 30m1-4.

And thousands of armed and well trained militias, expected to grow to over a million strong ( as per Fidel Castro instructions, haha)

dh , Feb 7, 2019 7:34:40 PM | link
Elliot Abrams seems to be having trouble getting this coup off the ground. He must wonder what happened to the good old days of death squads and contras....

>Elliott Abrams, who leads the Trump administration's special envoy to Venezuela, said on Thursday that several countries have offered to take in Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro.

"I think it is better for the transition to democracy in Venezuela that he be outside the country," Abrams said. "And there are a number of countries who are willing to accept him." "Which ones?" Bloomberg reporter Nick Wadhams asked. "He's got friends in places like Cuba and Russia," Abrams said. "And there are some other countries actually, that have come to us privately and said they would be willing to take members of the current illegitimate regime, if it would help the transition." "Can you name any?" Wadhams asked. "No," Abrams responded.<

https://freebeacon.com/national-security/elliott-abrams-number-of-countries-have-offered-to-accept-maduro/

karlof1 , Feb 7, 2019 7:42:08 PM | link
Nice graphic to support fact that "Unlike UK and most of EU - and contrary to BBC repetition - 'the international community' has not fallen into line behind Trump on Venezuela."

Victor J @44--

Pepe Escobar posits there're "arguably 15,000 Cubans who are in charge of security for the Maduro government; Cubans have demonstrated historically they are not in the business of handing over power." They're likely well versed in the use of those Russian armaments. It's also likely that there's a Russian or Chinese satellite in geosync orbit above the region using its sophisticated sensors to detect infiltration attempts, something Central Americans lacked during the Contra-Terror.

bevin , Feb 7, 2019 8:11:06 PM | link
The embarassment of being associated with Trump must now be getting through even to the most fanatical fascists such as Freeland. And the Europeans. From a PR point of view statements such as Abrams' "The time to negotiate with Maduro is long past." Or the original ultimatum demanding elections within 8 days!

Are completely over the top. And likely to be seen as such. Sanctioning members of the Constituent Assembly- the elections to which were uncontroversial-also indicates that what the opposition and the United States want is war, they will continue to turn down peremptorily all offers to mediate or compromise.

If they don't end things soon they will be completely discredited everywhere outside the political caste. Even the MSM are going to find it hard to keep up looking the other way and pretending not to know the most elementary facts.

Circe , Feb 7, 2019 8:24:07 PM | link
Yes, the corrupt Trump and his administration will be proven wrong as were Obama's and Bush's administrations, but unfortunately Venezuelans, and perhaps Iranians soon, will be used as pawns, and people will suffer, their lives will be destroyed as hell is being unleashed on their lives. Meanwhile the media, damn them as well, are useful tools for the Administration, spouting regime-change humanitarian propaganda, just like they did with the Syrian Observatory's reports and White Helmet footage.

Debunking this avalanche of bull is what you do best as demonstrated with this article. Let's not forget that alongside the proxy regime change civil war, a propaganda and mass deception war is waged on the minds of Venezuelans deprived by sanctions and on all of us sick and tired, weary, of the AZ Empire's successive wars. So pull down on to your anti-bullshet visor cause it's just starting again, the worst is yet to come, and so far Russia's hardly around to help with the pushback.

(I see someone unwittingly mucked up this thread misusing tags with an excessively long link making it impossible to read comments. It's even difficult to comment. 😕)

bobzibub , Feb 7, 2019 8:49:59 PM | link
I believe I've found the reason for Canada's active participation in the coup. Venezuela was harming Canadian mining company interests. Haiti redux?
james , Feb 7, 2019 8:52:03 PM | link
@ bevin - i agree with @49 psychohistorian.. the msm is a huge part of the problem.. here in canada, our national outlet - cbc - are a disgrace.. here) is today's fluff piece on guaido and hit piece on maduro... the cbc have become so predictable for carrying water for the empire, that many are getting ready turned off by them.. for a national news outlet paid for by canuck taxpayers, it is truly pathetic.. they need to do hit pieces on this fascist freeland, but instead want to turn reality upside down..

on a positive note, i am quite sure when the federal election happens in oct of this year, as memory serves - the liberals will not remain in power and Freeland can get back to writing George Soros memoirs..

John Gilberts , Feb 7, 2019 8:52:21 PM | link
How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump's Coup in Venezuela

https://off-guardian.org/2019/02/07/how-chrystia-freeland-organized-donald-trumps-coup-in-venezuela

Canada's friendly fascist Freeland...

[Feb 07, 2019] The US has been working to get to the point of invading Venezuela for a while now

Notable quotes:
"... There are also three or four books written by Anna Lilia Perez with regard to the sacking of PEMEX by the previous 4 presidents. She names Blackrock, the Carlyle Group and numerous Banks in the conspiracy. 60% of Mexican oil was being loaded on Tankers and sold in the Black Market. Google her name and you can get a list of her books. ..."
"... New York Times Article: Mexico could press bribery charges, it just hasn't https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/world/americas/mexico-odebrecht-investigation.html ..."
Feb 07, 2019 | www.unz.com

J. Gutierrez , says: February 7, 2019 at 9:33 pm GMT

The US has been working to get to the point of invading Venezuela for a while now. They just needed to wait for 2 things to fall into place. The election of Duque in Colombia and Bolsanado in Brazil. Now that they have these two ultraright wing leaders to provide the brunt of the invasion force, they can begin to execute their plan. There's a youtuber in Florida that has been on top of this plan for a while now, informing his followers.

Here's a link to his Florida Maquis site:

10 steps to understand what really happened in Venezuela

... ... ...

I'll attach a couple more links about Chavez talking about the Jews and the Assasination of Chavez.

Shocking! Netanyahu

... ... ...

The Assasination of Hugo Chavez

... ... ...

Blackstone Intelligence has an interesting video that focuses on articles from The Economists. I will also attach:

How NeoCons are helping the Bankers take over Venezuela

... ... ...

There are also three or four books written by Anna Lilia Perez with regard to the sacking of PEMEX by the previous 4 presidents. She names Blackrock, the Carlyle Group and numerous Banks in the conspiracy. 60% of Mexican oil was being loaded on Tankers and sold in the Black Market. Google her name and you can get a list of her books. There is so much information in her books, information she had to fight in court to get copies. She had to move to Germany because of threats she received.

Today the new president shut down 26 of the 56 shell companies created under another shell company of PEMEX, PEMEX International. The government is having a hard time investigating these company's books because they claim to be private companies. They found a refinery in Texas that they didn't even know existed, that is half owned by Royal Dutch Shell. 200 million dollars a year in business and none of it is shown on PEMEX's books.

New York Times Article: Mexico could press bribery charges, it just hasn't https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/world/americas/mexico-odebrecht-investigation.html

[Feb 07, 2019] The key point is, the US actions against Venezuela are not about legitimacy, they are about oil and money. A robber takes your valuables not because you are not legitimate enough, but because he is a robber. That's the whole point, the rest is hot air.

Feb 07, 2019 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , says: February 7, 2019 at 10:27 pm GMT

Anyone with a brain always knew that Maduro is more legitimate than Trump, May, Sanchez, or Macron. Now we have the numbers confirming that. Anyone with a brain knew that the Guaido personage is no more than the puppet of the Empire, a nonentity with zero legitimacy.

But key point is, the US actions against Venezuela are not about legitimacy, they are about oil and money. A robber takes your valuables not because you are not legitimate enough, but because he is a robber. That's the whole point, the rest is hot air.

[Feb 07, 2019] Bloody Canada: Cheerleading the Lima Group's Plot to Overthrow the Government of Venezuela

Feb 07, 2019 | www.unz.com

annamaria says: February 7, 2019 at 9:17 pm GMT 400 Words A magical country of Canada, where banderites unite with zionists: https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/06/bloody-canada-cheerleading-the-lima-groups-plot-to-overthrow-the-government-of-venezuela/ "Bloody Canada: Cheerleading the Lima Group's Plot to Overthrow the Government of Venezuela"

Guaido's party Voluntad Popular (VP), is the most violent and right wing opposition party in Venezuela. One of its leaders, Maria Corina Machado was interviewed on the public Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) on Feb. 1. She has openly, repeatedly, shamelessly and in front of numerous TV and radio cameras, urged mobs to violence and she has most recently publicly threatened the life of President Maduro. She has also been invited to speak with Ottawa politicians.

Guaidó and his party carried out the terrible street violence of 2014, which they named "La Salida" (The Exit). It resulted in 114 innocent people being killed. Several young men were burned alive suspected of being "Chavistas". This was the worst street violence ever seen on the streets of Venezuela. The leader of the party, Leopoldo López was jailed, after a long and fair trial with the best lawyers money can buy, sentenced for his responsibility for unleashing this terror and the ensuing 114 deaths.

Guaidó, a son of Spanish immigrants, is a useful idiot, a thug who will be thrown into the trashcan of history for his treason. He does not command any type of institution, not one policeman, not one ministry, no official agency of any sort. He is a president in his own mind and that of the USA Embassy where he is holed out.

And who is the ideological leader of Canada? -- Certain Chrystia Freeland, a proud progeny of a famous Nazi-collaborator Chernyak and an active banderite herself (and, unsurprisingly, a darling of Jewish Community of Canada and Israel: https://www.cjnews.com/news/canada/chrystia-freeland-discusses-her-trip-to-israel-during-speech-at-toronto-shul ).

Exxon Mobil wants the oil. The international banks want the gold. Colombia wants to control or possess the eastern oil rich area next to its border. Brazil wants carte blanche for its big energy corporation. Guyana wants the Esequivo region on the eastern border handed to them – that is, to Exxon Mobil, and Paraguay wants the huge debt it owes to Venezuela to quietly disappear. And it is not a wild guess to think that Canada obtained its recent Free Trade deal with Trump as a quid-pro-quo: lead the charge against Venezuela and you get your deal. And the oil producers in Canada (mostly USA owned) will shed no tears over the destruction of Venezuelan crude production. Make no mistake about it, these are the modern carpetbaggers.

[Feb 07, 2019] Glad someone posted the Economic Hit Man video.

Feb 07, 2019 | www.unz.com

Rurik , says: February 7, 2019 at 6:38 pm GMT

Excellent article.

Just the kind of thing I come to Unz to read, and get a glimmer at the man behind the curtain.

I'll share an anecdote, for what it's worth. Some years back I went into the local bank. The (young and attractive) gal who helped me out, was -- it turned out, from Venezuela.

This was when Chavez was still alive, and after he had mocked the chimp at the UN, talking about the smell of sulfur. I remember being impressed by his antics, and thinking 'wow, there's a guy who not only hates Dubya almost as much as I do, but has the cajones to call the bitch out in front of the whole world.

So I was curious what this pretty (many of them are) Venezuelan girl thought of Chavez, and I asked her.

She did not like him. No effn' way. It turns out her father was a hard working schlep who came from nothing, but had worked his arse off his entire life, to build a second home, and to rent the first one out, as a retirement income of sorts.

Well, according to this gal, the Chavez regime had confiscated the rental home because it was exploitation in their view. So I had to re-think my opinion of this guy, if her story is true. Why don't these commies ever go after the One Percent's wealth? Why do they always go after the working and middle class?

Just an anecdote for what it's worth.

Also glad someone posted the Economic Hit Man video.

The last sentence of this article, (in particular) made me think of that video.

Rurik , says: February 7, 2019 at 6:59 pm GMT
@Captain Willard

But folks thinking we have designs on Venezuela are just nuts

the first thing that's necessary is to define who "we" are.

Because there are two Americas, and we should make the distinction.

First there is the America of the American people. Poor, working class, middle class, and somewhat well-off upper-middle class. These are the "we" that had nothing whatsoever to do with the wars, except to vote relentlessly for politicians to end them, and are always betrayed.

Which brings us to the other "we". The Deepstate scumfucks who bomb and loot nations, when they aren't looting the American working and middle class to fund their Eternal Wars, or selecting cannon fodder from the working class or poor, to act as their Janissaries for globo-domination and rapine.

Joe the Plumber is the poster boy for the first "we", and yes, there are lots and lots of butt-hurt arseholes who would like to pin it all on Joe. He's white, CIS, American and the perfect scapegoat for butt-hurt loser's (of all stripes) hate.

John McBloodstain in the perfect (if rotting) poster boy for the other "we". The Deepstate scumfucks who are just as much the enemy of the American people as they are the enemy of all who don't bow down to the Fiend.

So there are two very separate and very distinct "we"s.

The reason we can be sure the problems being caused in Venezuela are being done so by the Deepstate 'Americans', is because Trump appointed one of the worst Deepstate scumfucks to look after "our" interests down there; Eliot Abrams – a scumfuck of the highest order, and an existential enemy of Joe the Plumber and all Americans of good will.

It would be good if this distinction between the two "we"s, could be made more routinely. IMHO

[Feb 07, 2019] The 12-Step Method Of Regime Change by Vijay Prashad

Notable quotes:
"... Nixon and Kissinger, according to the notes kept by CIA Director Richard Helms, wanted to 'make the economy scream' in Chile; they were 'not concerned [about the] risks involved'. War was acceptable to them as long as Allende's government was removed from power. The CIA started Project FUBELT, with $10 million as a first installment to begin the covert destabilisation of the country. ..."
"... Emboldened by Western domination, monopoly firms act with disregard for the law. ..."
"... Unable to raise money from commodity sales, hemmed in by a broken world agricultural system and victim of a culture of plunder, countries of the Global South have been forced to go hat in hand to commercial lenders for finance. ..."
"... Impossible to raise funds, trapped by the fickleness of international finance, governments are forced to make deep cuts in social spending. Education and health, food sovereignty and economic diversification – all this goes by the wayside. International agencies such as the IMF force countries to conduct 'reforms', a word that means extermination of independence. Those countries that hold out face immense international pressure to submit under pain of extinction, as the Communist Manifesto (1848) put it. ..."
"... The migration out of Venezuela is not unique to that country but is now merely the normal reaction to the global crisis. Migrants from Honduras who go northward to the United States or migrants from West Africa who go towards Europe through Libya are part of this global exodus. ..."
"... Venezuela has faced harsh US sanctions since 2014, when the US Congress started down this road. The next year, US President Barack Obama declared Venezuela a 'threat to national security'. The economy started to scream. ..."
"... This is what the US did to Iran and this is what they did to Cuba. The UN says that the US sanctions on Cuba have cost the small island $130 billion. Venezuela lost $6 billion for the first year of Trump's sanctions, since they began in August 2017 ..."
Feb 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Vijay Prashad via Counterpunch.org,

On 15 September 1970, US President Richard Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger authorised the US government to do everything possible to undermine the incoming government of the socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende. Nixon and Kissinger, according to the notes kept by CIA Director Richard Helms, wanted to 'make the economy scream' in Chile; they were 'not concerned [about the] risks involved'. War was acceptable to them as long as Allende's government was removed from power. The CIA started Project FUBELT, with $10 million as a first installment to begin the covert destabilisation of the country.

CIA memorandum on Project FUBELT, 16 September 1970.

... ... ...

US business firms, such as the telecommunication giant ITT, the soft drink maker Pepsi Cola and copper monopolies such as Anaconda and Kennecott, put pressure on the US government once Allende nationalised the copper sector on 11 July 1971. Chileans celebrated this day as the Day of National Dignity (Dia de la Dignidad Nacional). The CIA began to make contact with sections of the military seen to be against Allende. Three years later, on 11 September 1973, these military men moved against Allende, who died in the regime change operation. The US 'created the conditions' as US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger put it, to which US President Richard Nixon answered, 'that is the way it is going to be played'. Such is the mood of international gangsterism.

Phone Call between Richard Nixon (P) and Henry Kissinger (K) on 16 September 1973.

... ... ...

Chile entered the dark night of a military dictatorship that turned over the country to US monopoly firms. US advisors rushed in to strengthen the nerve of General Augusto Pinochet's cabinet.

What happened to Chile in 1973 is precisely what the United States has attempted to do in many other countries of the Global South. The most recent target for the US government – and Western big business – is Venezuela. But what is happening to Venezuela is nothing unique. It faces an onslaught from the United States and its allies that is familiar to countries as far afield as Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The formula is clichéd. It is commonplace, a twelve-step plan to produce a coup climate, to create a world under the heel of the West and of Western big business.

Step One: Colonialism's Traps.

Most of the Global South remains trapped by the structures put in place by colonialism. Colonial boundaries encircled states that had the misfortune of being single commodity producers – either sugar for Cuba or oil for Venezuela. The inability to diversify their economies meant that these countries earned the bulk of their export revenues from their singular commodities (98% of Venezuela's export revenues come from oil). As long as the prices of the commodities remained high, the export revenues were secure. When the prices fell, revenue suffered. This was a legacy of colonialism. Oil prices dropped from $160.72 per barrel (June 2008) to $51.99 per barrel (January 2019). Venezuela's export revenues collapsed in this decade.

Step Two: The Defeat of the New International Economic Order.

In 1974, the countries of the Global South attempted to redo the architecture of the world economy. They called for the creation of a New International Economic Order (NIEO) that would allow them to pivot away from the colonial reliance upon one commodity and diversify their economies. Cartels of raw materials – such as oil and bauxite – were to be built so that the one-commodity country could have some control over prices of the products that they relied upon. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), founded in 1960, was a pioneer of these commodity cartels. Others were not permitted to be formed. With the defeat of OPEC over the past three decades, its members – such as Venezuela (which has the world's largest proven oil reserves) – have not been able to control oil prices. They are at the mercy of the powerful countries of the world.

Step Three: The Death of Southern Agriculture.

In November 2001, there were about three billion small farmers and landless peasants in the world. That month, the World Trade Organisation met in Doha (Qatar) to unleash the productivity of Northern agri-business against the billions of small farmers and landless peasants of the Global South. Mechanisation and large, industrial-scale farms in North America and Europe had raised productivity to about 1 to 2 million kilogrammes of cereals per farmer. The small farmers and landless peasants in the rest of the world struggled to grow 1,000 kilogrammes of cereals per farmer. They were nowhere near as productive. The Doha decision, as Samir Amin wrote , presages the annihilation of the small farmer and landless peasant. What are these men and women to do? The production per hectare is higher in the West, but the corporate take-over of agriculture (as Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research Senior Fellow P. Sainath shows) leads to increased hunger as it pushes peasants off their land and leaves them to starve.

Step Four: Culture of Plunder.

Emboldened by Western domination, monopoly firms act with disregard for the law. As Kambale Musavuli and I write of the Democratic Republic of Congo, its annual budget of $6 billion is routinely robbed of at least $500 by monopoly mining firms, mostly from Canada – the country now leading the charge against Venezuela. Mispricing and tax avoidance schemes allow these large firms (Canada's Agrium, Barrick and Suncor) to routinely steal billions of dollars from impoverished states.

Step Five: Debt as a Way of Life.

Unable to raise money from commodity sales, hemmed in by a broken world agricultural system and victim of a culture of plunder, countries of the Global South have been forced to go hat in hand to commercial lenders for finance. Over the past decade, debt held by the Global South states has increased, while debt payments have ballooned by 60%. When commodity prices rose between 2000 and 2010, debt in the Global South decreased. As commodity prices began to fall from 2010, debts have risen.

The IMF points out that of the 67 impoverished countries that they follow, 30 are in debt distress, a number that has doubled since 2013. More than 55.4% of Angola's export revenue is paid to service its debt. And Angola, like Venezuela, is an oil exporter. Other oil exporters such as Ghana, Chad, Gabon and Venezuela suffer high debt to GDP ratios. Two out of five low-income countries are in deep financial distress.

Step Six: Public Finances Go to Hell.

With little incoming revenue and low tax collection rates, public finances in the Global South has gone into crisis. As the UN Conference on Trade and Development points out, 'public finances have continued to be suffocated'. States simply cannot put together the funds needed to maintain basic state functions. Balanced budget rules make borrowing difficult, which is compounded by the fact that banks charge high rates for money, citing the risks of lending to indebted countries.

Step Seven: Deep Cuts in Social Spending .

Impossible to raise funds, trapped by the fickleness of international finance, governments are forced to make deep cuts in social spending. Education and health, food sovereignty and economic diversification – all this goes by the wayside. International agencies such as the IMF force countries to conduct 'reforms', a word that means extermination of independence. Those countries that hold out face immense international pressure to submit under pain of extinction, as the Communist Manifesto (1848) put it.

Step Eight: Social Distress Leads to Migration.

The total number of migrants in the world is now at least 68.5 million. That makes the country called Migration the 21st largest country in the world after Thailand and ahead of the United Kingdom. Migration has become a global reaction to the collapse of countries from one end of the planet to the other. The migration out of Venezuela is not unique to that country but is now merely the normal reaction to the global crisis. Migrants from Honduras who go northward to the United States or migrants from West Africa who go towards Europe through Libya are part of this global exodus.

Step Nine: Who Controls the Narrative?

The monopoly corporate media takes its orders from the elite. There is no sympathy for the structural crisis faced by governments from Afghanistan to Venezuela. Those leaders who cave to Western pressure are given a free pass by the media. As long as they conduct 'reforms', they are safe. Those countries that argue against the 'reforms' are vulnerable to being attacked. Their leaders become 'dictators', their people hostages. A contested election in Bangladesh or in the Democratic Republic of Congo or in the United States is not cause for regime change. That special treatment is left for Venezuela.

Step Ten: Who's the Real President?

Regime change operations begin when the imperialists question the legitimacy of the government in power: by putting the weight of the United States behind an unelected person, calling him the new president and creating a situation where the elected leader's authority is undermined. The coup takes place when a powerful country decides – without an election – to anoint its own proxy. That person – in Venezuela's case Juan Guaidó – rapidly has to make it clear that he will bend to the authority of the United States. His kitchen cabinet – made up of former government officials with intimate ties to the US (such as Harvard University's Ricardo Hausmann and Carnegie's Moisés Naím) – will make it clear that they want to privatise everything and sell out the Venezuelan people in the name of the Venezuelan people.

Step Eleven: Make the Economy Scream.

Venezuela has faced harsh US sanctions since 2014, when the US Congress started down this road. The next year, US President Barack Obama declared Venezuela a 'threat to national security'. The economy started to scream. In recent days, the United States and the United Kingdom brazenly stole billions of dollars of Venezuelan money, placed the shackles of sanctions on its only revenue generating sector (oil) and watched the pain flood through the country.

This is what the US did to Iran and this is what they did to Cuba. The UN says that the US sanctions on Cuba have cost the small island $130 billion. Venezuela lost $6 billion for the first year of Trump's sanctions, since they began in August 2017. More is to be lost as the days unfold. No wonder that the United Nations Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy says that 'sanctions which can lead to starvation and medical shortages are not the answer to the crisis in Venezuela'. He said that sanctions are 'not a foundation for the peaceful settlement of disputes'. Further, Jazairy said, 'I am especially concerned to hear reports that these sanctions are aimed at changing the government of Venezuela'. He called for 'compassion' for the people of Venezuela.

Step Twelve: Go to War.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton held a yellow pad with the words 5,000 troops in Colombia written on it. These are US troops, already deployed in Venezuela's neighbour. The US Southern Command is ready. They are egging on Colombia and Brazil to do their bit. As the coup climate is created, a nudge will be necessary. They will go to war.

None of this is inevitable. It was not inevitable to Titina Silá, a commander of the Partido Africano para a Independència da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC) who was murdered on 30 January 1973. She fought to free her country. It is not inevitable to the people of Venezuela, who continue to fight to defend their revolution. It is not inevitable to our friends at CodePink: Women for Peace, whose Medea Benjamin walked into a meeting of the Organisation of American States and said – No!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/QS3s9xFhzGc

It is time to say No to regime change intervention. There is no middle ground.

[Feb 06, 2019] South America Venezuela -- The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency

The country is in deep economic crisis with rampant inflation and high unemployment rate. As such it is an easy target for color revolutions...
Venezuela has around 32 Million population. unemployment is around total: 14.6% (2015 est.) Growth rate is negative -14% (2017 est.) -16.5% (2016 est.). -6.2% (2015 est.) . Inflation rate is 254.4% (2016 est.) Exchange rate is 3,345 bolivars per dollar (2017 est.). University professor salary is around US$ 27,449. The cost of living is three times lower then in the USA.
Feb 06, 2019 | www.cia.gov
  • Background :

    Venezuela was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and New Granada, which became Colombia). For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military strongmen who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Under Hugo CHAVEZ, president from 1999 to 2013, and his hand-picked successor, President Nicolas MADURO, the executive branch has exercised increasingly authoritarian control over other branches of government. In 2016, President MADURO issued a decree to hold an election to form a "Constituent Assembly." A 30 July 2017 poll approved the formation of a 545-member Constituent Assembly and elected its delegates, empowering them to change the constitution and dismiss government institutions and officials. The US Government does not recognize the Assembly, which has generally used its powers to rule by decree rather than to reform the constitution. Simultaneously, democratic institutions continue to deteriorate, freedoms of expression and the press are curtailed, and political polarization has grown. The ruling party's economic policies have expanded the state's role in the economy through expropriations of major enterprises, strict currency exchange and price controls that discourage private sector investment and production, and overdependence on the petroleum industry for revenues, among others. Current concerns include human rights abuses, rampant violent crime, high inflation, and widespread shortages of basic consumer goods, medicine, and medical supplies.

  • Location : Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana Geographic coordinates more

    Population distribution : most of the population is concentrated in the northern and western highlands along an eastern spur at the northern end of the Andes, an area that includes the capital of Caracas

    Natural hazards : This entry lists potential natural disasters. For countries where volcanic activity is common, a volcanism subfield highlights historically active volcanoes. subject to floods, rockslides, mudslides; periodic droughts

    Environment - current issues Acidification - the lowering of soil and water pH due to acid precipitation and deposition usually through precipitation; this process disrupts ecosystem nutrient flows and may kill freshwater fish and plants dependent on more neutral or alkaline conditions (see acid rain). Acid rain - characterized as containing harmful levels of sulfur dioxi . . . more

    sewage pollution of Lago de Valencia; oil and urban pollution of Lago de Maracaibo; deforestation; soil degradation; urban and industrial pollution, especially along the Caribbean coast; threat to the rainforest ecosystem from irresponsible mining operations

    Environment - international agreements : This entry separates country participation in international environmental agreements into two levels - party to and signed, but not ratified. Agreements are listed in alphabetical order by the abbreviated form of the full name. party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

    Geography - note : This entry includes miscellaneous geographic information of significance not included elsewhere. note 1: the country lies on major sea and air routes linking North and South America

    note 2: Venezuela has some of the most unique geology in the world; tepuis are massive table-top mountains of the western Guiana Highlands that tend to be isolated and thus support unique endemic plant and animal species; their sheer cliffsides account for some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world including Angel Falls, the world's highest (979 m) that drops off Auyan Tepui

  • Population : 31,689,176 (July 2018 est.) country comparison to the world: 43 Nationality

    nominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%

    Demographic profile :

    Social investment in Venezuela during the CHAVEZ administration reduced poverty from nearly 50% in 1999 to about 27% in 2011, increased school enrollment, substantially decreased infant and child mortality, and improved access to potable water and sanitation through social investment. "Missions" dedicated to education, nutrition, healthcare, and sanitation were funded through petroleum revenues. The sustainability of this progress remains questionable, however, as the continuation of these social programs depends on the prosperity of Venezuela's oil industry. In the long-term, education and health care spending may increase economic growth and reduce income inequality, but rising costs and the staffing of new health care jobs with foreigners are slowing development.

    While CHAVEZ was in power, more than one million predominantly middle- and upper-class Venezuelans are estimated to have emigrated. The brain drain is attributed to a repressive political system, lack of economic opportunities, steep inflation, a high crime rate, and corruption. Thousands of oil engineers emigrated to Canada, Colombia, and the United States following CHAVEZ's firing of over 20,000 employees of the state-owned petroleum company during a 2002-03 oil strike. Additionally, thousands of Venezuelans of European descent have taken up residence in their ancestral homelands. Nevertheless, Venezuela has attracted hundreds of thousands of immigrants from South America and southern Europe because of its lenient migration policy and the availability of education and health care. Venezuela also has been a fairly accommodating host to Colombian refugees, numbering about 170,000 as of year-end 2016. However, since 2014, falling oil prices have driven a major economic crisis that has pushed Venezuelans from all walks of life to migrate or to seek asylum abroad to escape severe shortages of food, water, and medicine; soaring inflation; unemployment; and violence.

    As of October 2018,an estimate 3 million Venezuelans were refugees or migrants worldwide, with 2.4 million in Latin America and the Caribbean (notably Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Chile, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, and Curacao).

    Asylum applications increased significantly in the US and Brazil in 2016 and 2017. Several receiving countries are making efforts to increase immigration restrictions and to deport illegal Venezuelan migrants - Ecuador and Peru in August 2018 began requiring valid passports for entry, which are difficult to obtain for Venezuelans. Nevertheless, Venezuelans continue to migrate to avoid economic collapse at home.

    Age structure : This entry provides the distribution of the population according to age. Information is included by sex and age group as follows: 0-14 years (children), 15-24 years (early working age), 25-54 years (prime working age), 55-64 years (mature working age), 65 years and over (elderly). The age structure of a population affects a nation's key socioeconomic issues. Countries with young populations (high percentage under age 15) need to invest more in schools, while countries with older population . . . more

    Population growth rate : 1.21% (2018 est.)

    Net migration rate : -1.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 143

    Population distribution :

    urban population: 88.2% of total population (2018) rate of urbanization: 1.28% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

    Major urban areas - population : 2.935 million CARACAS (capital), 2.179 million Maracaibo, 1.734 million Valencia, 1.178 million Maracay, 1.189 million Barquisimeto (2018) Sex ratio : This entry includes the number of males for each female in five age groups - at birth, under 15 years, 15-64 years, 65 years and over, and for the total population. Sex ratio at birth has recently emerged as an indicator of certain kinds of sex discrimination in some countries. For instance, high sex ratios at birth in some Asian countries are now attributed to sex-selective abortion and infanticide due to a strong preference for sons. This will affect future marriage patterns and fertilit . . . more

    Life expectancy at birth Total population: 76.2 years (2018 est.) male: 73.2 years (2018 est.) female: 79.3 years (2018 est.) country comparison to the world: 93

    Total fertility rate : 2.3 children born/woman (2018 est.) country comparison to the world: 87

    Obesity - adult prevalence rate : 25.6% (2016) country comparison to the world: 50

    Children under the age of 5 years underweight : 2.9% (2009) country comparison to the world: 102

    Education expenditures : 6.9% of GDP (2009) country comparison to the world: 22

    Literacy : total population: 97.1% (2016 est.) male: 97% (2016 est.) female: 97.2% (2016 est.)

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) : total: 14 years (2009) male: NA (2009) female: NA (2009)

    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 : total: 14.6% (2015 est.) male: NA (2015 est.) female: NA (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 92

  • Economy - overview : Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for almost all export earnings and nearly half of the government's revenue, despite a continued decline in oil production in 2017. In the absence of official statistics, foreign experts estimate that GDP contracted 12% in 2017, inflation exceeded 2000%, people faced widespread shortages of consumer goods and medicine, and the central bank's international reserves dwindled. In late 2017, Venezuela also entered selective default on some of its sovereign and state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., (PDVSA) bonds. Domestic production and industry continues to severely underperform and the Venezuelan Government continues to rely on imports to meet its basic food and consumer goods needs.

    Falling oil prices since 2014 have aggravated Venezuela's economic crisis. Insufficient access to dollars, price controls, and rigid labor regulations have led some US and multinational firms to reduce or shut down their Venezuelan operations. Market uncertainty and PDVSA's poor cash flow have slowed investment in the petroleum sector, resulting in a decline in oil production.

    Under President Nicolas MADURO, the Venezuelan Government's response to the economic crisis has been to increase state control over the economy and blame the private sector for shortages. MADURO has given authority for the production and distribution of basic goods to the military and to local socialist party member committees. The Venezuelan Government has maintained strict currency controls since 2003. The government has been unable to sustain its mechanisms for distributing dollars to the private sector, in part because it needed to withhold some foreign exchange reserves to make its foreign bond payments. As a result of price and currency controls, local industries have struggled to purchase production inputs necessary to maintain their operations or sell goods at a profit on the local market. Expansionary monetary policies and currency controls have created opportunities for arbitrage and corruption and fueled a rapid increase in black market activity.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) : $381.6 billion (2017 est.) $443.7 billion (2016 est.) $531.1 billion (2015 est.) note: data are in 2017 dollars country comparison to the world: 47

    GDP (official exchange rate) : $210.1 billion (2017 est.)

    GDP - real growth rate : -14% (2017 est.) -16.5% (2016 est.) -6.2% (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 222

    GDP - per capita (PPP) : This entry shows GDP on a purchasing power parity basis divided by population as of 1 July for the same year. $12,500 (2017 est.) $14,400 (2016 est.) $17,300 (2015 est.) note: data are in 2017 dollars country comparison to the world: 126

    Gross national saving : 12.1% of GDP (2017 est.) 8.6% of GDP (2016 est.) 31.8% of GDP (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 150

    GDP - composition, by end use : household consumption: 68.5% (2017 est.) government consumption: 19.6% (2017 est.) investment in fixed capital: 13.9% (2017 est.) investment in inventories: 1.7% (2017 est.) exports of goods and services: 7% (2017 est.) imports of goods and services: -10.7% (2017 est.)

    GDP - composition, by sector of origin : agriculture: 4.7% (2017 est.) industry: 40.4% (2017 est.) services: 54.9% (2017 est.) Agriculture - products : This entry is an ordered listing of major crops and products starting with the most important. corn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish

    Labor force : 14.21 million (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 40

    Labor force - by occupation : agriculture: 7.3% industry: 21.8% services: 70.9% (4th quarter, 2011 est.)

    Unemployment rate : This entry contains the percent of the labor force that is without jobs. Substantial underemployment might be noted. 27.1% (2017 est.) 20.6% (2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 199

    Population below poverty line : 19.7% (2015 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share : lowest 10%: 1.7% highest 10%: 32.7% (2006)

    Distribution of family income - Gini index : 39 (2011) 49.5 (1998) country comparison to the world: 74

    Budget : revenues: 92.8 billion (2017 est.) expenditures: 189.7 billion (2017 est.)

    Taxes and other revenues : 44.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 25

    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) : -46.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 220

    Public debt : 38.9% of GDP (2017 est.) 31.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices) : 1,087.5% (2017 est.) 254.4% (2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 226

    Central bank discount rate : This entry provides the annualized interest rate a country's central bank charges commercial, depository banks for loans to meet temporary shortages of funds. 29.5% (2015) country comparison to the world: 1 Commercial bank prime lending rate : This entry provides a simple average of annualized interest rates commercial banks charge on new loans, denominated in the national currency, to their most credit-worthy customers. 21.1% (31 December 2017 est.) 20.78% (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 12 Stock of narrow money : This entry, also known as "M1," comprises the total quantity of currency in circulation (notes and coins) plus demand deposits denominated in the national currency held by nonbank financial institutions, state and local governments, nonfinancial public enterprises, and the private sector of the economy, measured at a specific point in time. National currency units have been converted to US dollars at the closing exchange rate for the date of the information. Because of exchange rate moveme . . . more

    $149.8 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $163.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 29 Stock of broad money : This entry covers all of "Narrow money," plus the total quantity of time and savings deposits, credit union deposits, institutional money market funds, short-term repurchase agreements between the central bank and commercial deposit banks, and other large liquid assets held by nonbank financial institutions, state and local governments, nonfinancial public enterprises, and the private sector of the economy. National currency units have been converted to US dollars at the closing exchange r . . . more

    Exports - partners : US 34.8%, India 17.2%, China 16%, Netherlands Antilles 8.2%, Singapore 6.3%, Cuba 4.2% (2017)

    Exports - commodities : This entry provides a listing of the highest-valued exported products; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value. petroleum and petroleum products, bauxite and aluminum, minerals, chemicals, agricultural products Imports : This entry provides the total US dollar amount of merchandise imports on a c.i.f. (cost, insurance, and freight) or f.o.b. (free on board) basis. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. $11 billion (2017 est.) $16.34 billion (2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 100 Imports - commodities : This entry provides a listing of the highest-valued imported products; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value. agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products Imports - partners : This entry provides a rank ordering of trading partners starting with the most important; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value. US 24.8%, China 14.2%, Mexico 9.5% (2017)

    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold : $9.661 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $11 billion (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 75

    Debt - external : $100.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $109.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 47

    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home : $32.74 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $33.78 billion (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 70

    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad : $35.15 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $31.12 billion (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 47

    Exchange rates : bolivars (VEB) per US dollar - 3,345 (2017 est.) 673.76 (2016 est.) 48.07 (2015 est.) 13.72 (2014 est.) 6.284 (2013 est.)

  • [Feb 06, 2019] Saker interview with Michael Hudson on Venezuela by The Saker and Michael Hudson

    Notable quotes:
    "... There is a great deal of controversy about the true shape of the Venezuelan economy and whether Hugo Chavez' and Nicholas Maduro's reform and policies were crucial for the people of Venezuela or whether they were completely misguided and precipitated the current crises. Anybody and everybody seems to have very strong held views about this. But I don't simply because I lack the expertise to have any such opinions. So I decided to ask one of the most respected independent economists out there, Michael Hudson, for whom I have immense respect and whose analyses (including those he co-authored with Paul Craig Roberts ) seem to be the most credible and honest ones you can find. In fact, Paul Craig Roberts considers Hudson the " best economist in the world "! ..."
    "... I am deeply grateful to Michael for his replies which, I hope, will contribute to a honest and objective understanding of what really is taking place in Venezuela. ..."
    "... : Could you summarize the state of Venezuela's economy when Chavez came to power? ..."
    "... : Could you outline the various reforms and changes introduced by Hugo Chavez? What did he do right, and what did he do wrong? ..."
    "... : What are, in your opinion, the causes of the current economic crisis in Venezuela – is it primarily due to mistakes by Chavez and Maduro or is the main cause US sabotage, subversion and sanctions? ..."
    "... : What in your opinion should Maduro do next (assuming he stays in power and the USA does not overthrow him) to rescue the Venezuelan economy? ..."
    "... What about the plan to introduce a oil-based crypto currency? Will that be an effective alternative to the dying Venezuelan Bolivar? ..."
    "... Trade, Develpoment and Foreign Debt ..."
    "... : How much assistance do China, Russia and Iran provide and how much can they do to help? Do you think that these three countries together can help counter-act US sabotage, subversion and sanctions? ..."
    "... : Venezuela kept a lot of its gold in the UK and money in the USA. How could Chavez and Maduro trust these countries or did they not have another choice? Are there viable alternatives to New York and London or are they still the "only game in town" for the world's central banks? ..."
    "... Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire ..."
    "... : What can other Latin American countries such as Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba and, maybe, Uruguay and Mexico do to help Venezuela? ..."
    "... : Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my questions! ..."
    Feb 06, 2019 | www.unz.com

    Introduction: There is a great deal of controversy about the true shape of the Venezuelan economy and whether Hugo Chavez' and Nicholas Maduro's reform and policies were crucial for the people of Venezuela or whether they were completely misguided and precipitated the current crises. Anybody and everybody seems to have very strong held views about this. But I don't simply because I lack the expertise to have any such opinions. So I decided to ask one of the most respected independent economists out there, Michael Hudson, for whom I have immense respect and whose analyses (including those he co-authored with Paul Craig Roberts ) seem to be the most credible and honest ones you can find. In fact, Paul Craig Roberts considers Hudson the " best economist in the world "!

    I am deeply grateful to Michael for his replies which, I hope, will contribute to a honest and objective understanding of what really is taking place in Venezuela.

    The Saker

    The Saker : Could you summarize the state of Venezuela's economy when Chavez came to power?

    Michael Hudson : Venezuela was an oil monoculture. Its export revenue was spent largely on importing food and other necessities that it could have produced at home. Its trade was largely with the United States. So despite its oil wealth, it ran up foreign debt.

    From the outset, U.S. oil companies have feared that Venezuela might someday use its oil revenues to benefit its overall population instead of letting the U.S. oil industry and its local comprador aristocracy siphon off its wealth. So the oil industry – backed by U.S. diplomacy – held Venezuela hostage in two ways.

    First of all, oil refineries were not built in Venezuela, but in Trinidad and in the southern U.S. Gulf Coast states. This enabled U.S. oil companies – or the U.S. Government – to leave Venezuela without a means of "going it alone" and pursuing an independent policy with its oil, as it needed to have this oil refined. It doesn't help to have oil reserves if you are unable to get this oil refined so as to be usable.

    Second, Venezuela's central bankers were persuaded to pledge their oil reserves and all assets of the state oil sector (including Citgo) as collateral for its foreign debt. This meant that if Venezuela defaulted (or was forced into default by U.S. banks refusing to make timely payment on its foreign debt), bondholders and U.S. oil majors would be in a legal position to take possession of Venezuelan oil assets.

    These pro-U.S. policies made Venezuela a typically polarized Latin American oligarchy. Despite being nominally rich in oil revenue, its wealth was concentrated in the hands of a pro-U.S. oligarchy that let its domestic development be steered by the World Bank and IMF. The indigenous population, especially its rural racial minority as well as the urban underclass, was excluded from sharing in the country's oil wealth. The oligarchy's arrogant refusal to share the wealth, or even to make Venezuela self-sufficient in essentials, made the election of Hugo Chavez a natural outcome.

    The Saker : Could you outline the various reforms and changes introduced by Hugo Chavez? What did he do right, and what did he do wrong?

    Michael Hudson : Chavez sought to restore a mixed economy to Venezuela, using its government revenue – mainly from oil, of course – to develop infrastructure and domestic spending on health care, education, employment to raise living standards and productivity for his electoral constituency.

    What he was unable to do was to clean up the embezzlement and built-in rake-off of income from the oil sector. And he was unable to stem the capital flight of the oligarchy, taking its wealth and moving it abroad – while running away themselves.

    This was not "wrong". It merely takes a long time to change an economy's disruption – while the U.S. is using sanctions and "dirty tricks" to stop that process.

    The Saker : What are, in your opinion, the causes of the current economic crisis in Venezuela – is it primarily due to mistakes by Chavez and Maduro or is the main cause US sabotage, subversion and sanctions?

    Michael Hudson : There is no way that Chavez and Maduro could have pursued a pro-Venezuelan policy aimed at achieving economic independence without inciting fury, subversion and sanctions from the United States. American foreign policy remains as focused on oil as it was when it invaded Iraq under Dick Cheney's regime. U.S. policy is to treat Venezuela as an extension of the U.S. economy, running a trade surplus in oil to spend in the United States or transfer its savings to U.S. banks.

    By imposing sanctions that prevent Venezuela from gaining access to its U.S. bank deposits and the assets of its state-owned Citco, the United States is making it impossible for Venezuela to pay its foreign debt. This is forcing it into default, which U.S. diplomats hope to use as an excuse to foreclose on Venezuela's oil resources and seize its foreign assets much as Paul Singer hedge fund sought to do with Argentina's foreign assets.

    Just as U.S. policy under Kissinger was to make Chile's "economy scream," so the U.S. is following the same path against Venezuela. It is using that country as a "demonstration effect" to warn other countries not to act in their self-interest in any way that prevents their economic surplus from being siphoned off by U.S. investors.

    The Saker : What in your opinion should Maduro do next (assuming he stays in power and the USA does not overthrow him) to rescue the Venezuelan economy?

    Michael Hudson : I cannot think of anything that President Maduro can do that he is not doing. At best, he can seek foreign support – and demonstrate to the world the need for an alternative international financial and economic system.

    ORDER IT NOW

    He already has begun to do this by trying to withdraw Venezuela's gold from the Bank of England and Federal Reserve. This is turning into "asymmetrical warfare," threatening to de-sanctify the dollar standard in international finance. The refusal of England and the United States to grant an elected government control of its foreign assets demonstrates to the entire world that U.S. diplomats and courts alone can and will control foreign countries as an extension of U.S. nationalism.

    The price of the U.S. economic attack on Venezuela is thus to fracture the global monetary system. Maduro's defensive move is showing other countries the need to protect themselves from becoming "another Venezuela" by finding a new safe haven and paying agent for their gold, foreign exchange reserves and foreign debt financing, away from the dollar, sterling and euro areas.

    The only way that Maduro can fight successfully is on the institutional level, upping the ante to move "outside the box." His plan – and of course it is a longer-term plan – is to help catalyze a new international economic order independent of the U.S. dollar standard. It will work in the short run only if the United States believes that it can emerge from this fight as an honest financial broker, honest banking system and supporter of democratically elected regimes. The Trump administration is destroying illusion more thoroughly than any anti-imperialist critic or economic rival could do!

    Over the longer run, Maduro also must develop Venezuelan agriculture, along much the same lines that the United States protected and developed its agriculture under the New Deal legislation of the 1930s – rural extension services, rural credit, seed advice, state marketing organizations for crop purchase and supply of mechanization, and the same kind of price supports that the United States has long used to subsidize domestic farm investment to increase productivity.

    The Saker: What about the plan to introduce a oil-based crypto currency? Will that be an effective alternative to the dying Venezuelan Bolivar?

    Michael Hudson : Only a national government can issue a currency. A "crypto" currency tied to the price of oil would become a hedging vehicle, prone to manipulation and price swings by forward sellers and buyers. A national currency must be based on the ability to tax, and Venezuela's main tax source is oil revenue, which is being blocked from the United States. So Venezuela's position is like that of the German mark coming out of its hyperinflation of the early 1920s. The only solution involves balance-of-payments support. It looks like the only such support will come from outside the dollar sphere.

    The solution to any hyperinflation must be negotiated diplomatically and be supported by other governments. My history of international trade and financial theory, Trade, Develpoment and Foreign Debt , describes the German reparations problem and how its hyperinflation was solved by the Rentenmark.

    Venezuela's economic-rent tax would fall on oil, and luxury real estate sites, as well as monopoly prices, and on high incomes (mainly financial and monopoly income). This requires a logic to frame such tax and monetary policy. I have tried to explain how to achieve monetary and hence political independence for the past half-century. China is applying such policy most effectively. It is able to do so because it is a large and self-sufficient economy in essentials, running a large enough export surplus to pay for its food imports. Venezuela is in no such position. That is why it is looking to China for support at this time.

    The Saker : How much assistance do China, Russia and Iran provide and how much can they do to help? Do you think that these three countries together can help counter-act US sabotage, subversion and sanctions?

    Michael Hudson : None of these countries have a current capacity to refine Venezuelan oil. This makes it difficult for them to take payment in Venezuelan oil. Only a long-term supply contract (paid for in advance) would be workable. And even in that case, what would China and Russia do if the United States simply grabbed their property in Venezuela, or refused to let Russia's oil company take possession of Citco? In that case, the only response would be to seize U.S. investments in their own country as compensation.

    At least China and Russia can provide an alternative bank clearing mechanism to SWIFT, so that Venezuela can by pass the U.S. financial system and keep its assets from being grabbed at will by U.S. authorities or bondholders. And of course, they can provide safe-keeping for however much of Venezuela's gold it can get back from New York and London.

    Looking ahead, therefore, China, Russia, Iran and other countries need to set up a new international court to adjudicate the coming diplomatic crisis and its financial and military consequences. Such a court – and its associated international bank as an alternative to the U.S.-controlled IMF and World Bank – needs a clear ideology to frame a set of principles of nationhood and international rights with power to implement and enforce its judgments.

    This would confront U.S. financial strategists with a choice: if they continue to treat the IMF, World Bank, ITO and NATO as extensions of increasingly aggressive U.S. foreign policy, they will risk isolating the United States. Europe will have to choose whether to remain a U.S. economic and military satellite, or to throw in its lot with Eurasia.

    However, Daniel Yergin reports in the Wall Street Journal (Feb. 7) that China is trying to hedge its bets by opening a back-door negotiation with Guaido's group, apparently to get the same deal that it has negotiated with Maduro's government. But any such deal seems unlikely to be honored in practice, given U.S. animosity toward China and Guaido's total reliance on U.S. covert support.

    The Saker : Venezuela kept a lot of its gold in the UK and money in the USA. How could Chavez and Maduro trust these countries or did they not have another choice? Are there viable alternatives to New York and London or are they still the "only game in town" for the world's central banks?

    Michael Hudson : There was never real trust in the Bank of England or Federal Reserve, but it seemed unthinkable that they would refuse to permit an official depositor from withdrawing its own gold. The usual motto is "Trust but verify." But the unwillingness (or inability) of the Bank of England to verify means that the formerly unthinkable has now arrived: Have these central banks sold this gold forward in the post-London Gold Pool and its successor commodity markets in their attempt to keep down the price so as to maintain the appearance of a solvent U.S. dollar standard.

    Paul Craig Roberts has described how this system works. There are forward markets for currencies, stocks and bonds. The Federal Reserve can offer to buy a stock in three months at, say, 10% over the current price. Speculators will by the stock, bidding up the price, so as to take advantage of "the market's" promise to buy the stock. So by the time three months have passed, the price will have risen. That is largely how the U.S. "Plunge Protection Team" has supported the U.S. stock market.

    The system works in reverse to hold down gold prices. The central banks holding gold can get together and offer to sell gold at a low price in three months. "The market" will realize that with low-priced gold being sold, there's no point in buying more gold and bidding its price up. So the forward-settlement market shapes today's market.

    The question is, have gold buyers (such as the Russian and Chinese government) bought so much gold that the U.S. Fed and the Bank of England have actually had to "make good" on their forward sales, and steadily depleted their gold? In this case, they would have been "living for the moment," keeping down gold prices for as long as they could, knowing that once the world returns to the pre-1971 gold-exchange standard for intergovernmental balance-of-payments deficits, the U.S. will run out of gold and be unable to maintain its overseas military spending (not to mention its trade deficit and foreign disinvestment in the U.S. stock and bond markets). My book on Super-Imperialism explains why running out of gold forced the Vietnam War to an end. The same logic would apply today to America's vast network of military bases throughout the world.

    Refusal of England and the U.S. to pay Venezuela means that other countries realize that foreign official gold reserves can be held hostage to U.S. foreign policy, and even to judgments by U.S. courts to award this gold to foreign creditors or to whoever might bring a lawsuit under U.S. law against these countries.

    This hostage-taking now makes it urgent for other countries to develop a viable alternative, especially as the world de-dedollarizes and a gold-exchange standard remains the only way of constraining the military-induced balance of payments deficit of the United States or any other country mounting a military attack. A military empire is very expensive – and gold is a "peaceful" constraint on military-induced payments deficits. (I spell out the details in my Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972), updated in German as Finanzimperium (2017).

    The U.S. has overplayed its hand in destroying the foundation of the dollar-centered global financial order. That order has enabled the United States to be "the exceptional nation" able to run balance-of-payments deficits and foreign debt that it has no intention (or ability) to pay, claiming that the dollars thrown off by its foreign military spending "supply" other countries with their central bank reserves (held in the form of loans to the U.S. Treasury – Treasury bonds and bills – to finance the U.S. budget deficit and its military spending, as well as the largely military U.S. balance-of-payments deficit.

    Given the fact that the EU is acting as a branch of NATO and the U.S. banking system, that alternative would have to be associated with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the gold would have to be kept in Russia and/or China.

    The Saker : What can other Latin American countries such as Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba and, maybe, Uruguay and Mexico do to help Venezuela?

    Michael Hudson : The best thing neighboring Latin American countries can do is to join in creating a vehicle to promote de-dollarization and, with it, an international institution to oversee the writedown of debts that are beyond the ability of countries to pay without imposing austerity and thereby destroying their economies.

    An alternative also is needed to the World Bank that would make loans in domestic currency, above all to subsidize investment in domestic food production so as to protect the economy against foreign food-sanctions – the equivalent of a military siege to force surrender by imposing famine conditions. This World Bank for Economic Acceleration would put the development of self-reliance for its members first, instead of promoting export competition while loading borrowers down with foreign debt that would make them prone to the kind of financial blackmail that Venezuela is experiencing.

    Being a Roman Catholic country, Venezuela might ask for papal support for a debt write-down and an international institution to oversee the ability to pay by debtor countries without imposing austerity, emigration, depopulation and forced privatization of the public domain.

    Two international principles are needed. First, no country should be obliged to pay foreign debt in a currency (such as the dollar or its satellites) whose banking system acts to prevents payment.

    Second, no country should be obliged to pay foreign debt at the price of losing its domestic autonomy as a state: the right to determine its own foreign policy, to tax and to create its own money, and to be free of having to privatize its public assets to pay foreign creditors. Any such debt is a "bad loan" reflecting the creditor's own irresponsibility or, even worse, pernicious asset grab in a foreclosure that was the whole point of the loan.

    The Saker : Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my questions!

    [Feb 06, 2019] US 'Regime Changes' The Historical Record by James Petras

    Feb 06, 2019 | www.unz.com
    Imperialism in Lati... Blogview James Petras Archive

    As the US strives to overthrow the democratic and independent Venezuelan government, the historical record regarding the short, middle and long-term consequences are mixed.

    We will proceed to examine the consequences and impact of US intervention in Venezuela over the past half century.

    We will then turn to examine the success and failure of US 'regime changes' throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Venezuela: Results and Perspectives 1950-2019

    During the post WWII decade, the US, working through the CIA and the Pentagon, brought to power authoritarian client regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Peru, Chile, Guatemala, Brazil and several other countries.

    In the case of Venezuela, the US backed a near decade long military dictatorship (Perez Jimenez ) roughly between 1951-58. The dictatorship was overthrown in 1958 and replaced by a left-center coalition during a brief interim period. Subsequently, the US reshuffled its policy, and embraced and promoted center-right regimes led by social and christian democrats which alternated rule for nearly forty years.

    In the 1990's US client regimes riddled with corruption and facing a deepening socio-economic crises were voted out of power and replaced by the independent, anti-imperialist government led by President Chavez.

    The free and democratic election of President Chavez withstood and defeated several US led 'regime changes' over the following two decades.

    Following the election of President Maduro, under US direction,Washington mounted the political machinery for a new regime change. Washington launched, in full throttle, a coup by the winter of 2019.

    The record of US intervention in Venezuela is mixed: a middle term military coup lasted less than a decade; US directed electoral regimes were in power for forty years; its replacement by an elected anti-imperialist populist government has been in power for nearly 20 years. A virulent US directed coup is underfoot today.

    The Venezuela experience with 'regime change' speaks to US capacity to consummate long-term control if it can reshuffle its power base from a military dictatorship into an electoral regime, financed through the pillage of oil, backed by a reliable military and 'legitimated' by alternating client political parties which accept submission to Washington.

    US client regimes are ruled by oligarchic elites, with little entrepreneurial capacity, living off of state rents (oil revenues).

    Tied closely to the US, the ruling elites are unable to secure popular loyalty. Client regimes depend on the military strength of the Pentagon -- but that is also their weakness.

    Regime Change in Regional-Historical Perspective

    Puppet-building is an essential strategic goal of the US imperial state.

    The results vary over time depending on the capacity of independent governments to succeed in nation-building.

    US long-term puppet-building has been most successful in small nations with vulnerable economies.

    The US directed coup in Guatemala has lasted over sixty-years – from 1954 -2019. Major popular indigenous insurgencies have been repressed via US military advisers and aid.

    Similar successful US puppet-building has occurred in Panama, Grenada, Dominican Republic and Haiti. Being small and poor and having weak military forces, the US is willing to directly invade and occupy the countries quickly and at small cost in military lives and economic costs.

    In the above countries Washington succeeded in imposing and maintaining puppet regimes for prolonged periods of time.

    The US has directed military coups over the past half century with contradictory results.

    In the case of Honduras, the Pentagon was able to overturn a progressive liberal democratic government of very short duration. The Honduran army was under US direction, and elected President Manual Zelaya depended on an unarmed electoral popular majority. Following the successful coup the Honduran puppet-regime remained under US rule for the next decade and likely beyond.

    Chile has been under US tutelage for the better part of the 20th century with a brief respite during a Popular Front government between 1937-41 and a democratic socialist government between 1970-73. The US military directed coup in 1973 imposed the Pinochet dictatorship which lasted for seventeen years. It was followed by an electoral regime which continued the Pinochet-US neo-liberal agenda, including the reversal of all the popular national and social reforms. In a word, Chile remained within the US political orbit for the better part of a half-century.

    Chile's democratic-socialist regime (1970-73) never armed its people nor established overseas economic linkage to sustain an independent foreign policy.

    It is not surprising that in recent times Chile followed US commands calling for the overthrow of Venezuela's President Maduro.

    Contradictory Puppet-Building

    Several US coups were reversed, for the longer or shorter duration.

    The classical case of a successful defeat of a client regime is Cuba which overthrew a ten-year old US client, the Batista dictatorship, and proceeded to successfully resist a CIA directed invasion and economic blockade for the better part of a half century (up to the present day).

    Cuba's defeat of puppet restorationist policy was a result of the Castro leadership's decision to arm the people, expropriate and take control of hostile US and multinational corporations and establish strategic overseas allies – USSR , China and more recently Venezuela.

    In contrast, a US military backed military coup in Brazil (1964) endured for over two decades, before electoral politics were partially restored under elite leadership.

    Twenty years of failed neo-liberal economic policies led to the election of the social reformist Workers Party (WP) which proceeded to implement extensive anti-poverty programs within the context of neo-liberal policies.

    After a decade and a half of social reforms and a relatively independent foreign policy, the WP succumbed to a downturn of the commodity dependent economy and a hostile state (namely judiciary and military) and was replaced by a pair of far-right US client regimes which functioned under Wall Street and Pentagon direction.

    The US frequently intervened in Bolivia, backing military coups and client regimes against short-term national populist regimes (1954, 1970 and 2001).

    In 2005 a popular uprising led to free elections and the election of Evo Morales, the leader of the coca farmers movements. Between 2005 – 2019 (the present period) President Morales led a moderate left-of-center anti imperialist government.

    ORDER IT NOW

    Unsuccessful efforts by the US to overthrow the Morales government were a result of several factors: Morales organized and mobilized a coalition of peasants and workers (especially miners and coca farmers). He secured the loyalty of the military, expelled US Trojan Horse "aid agencies' and extended control over oil and gas and promoted ties with agro business.

    The combination of an independent foreign policy, a mixed economy , high growth and moderate reforms neutralized US puppet-building.

    Not so the case in Argentina. Following a bloody coup (1976) in which the US backed military murdered 30,000 citizens, the military was defeated by the British army in the Malvinas war and withdrew after seven years in power.

    The post military puppet regime ruled and plundered for a decade before collapsing in 2001. They were overthrown by a popular insurrection. However, the radical left lacking cohesion was replaced by center-left (Kirchner-Fernandez) regimes which ruled for the better part of a decade (2003 – 15).

    The progressive social welfare – neo-liberal regimes entered in crises and were ousted by a US backed puppet regime (Macri) in 2015 which proceeded to reverse reforms, privatize the economy and subordinate the state to US bankers and speculators.

    After two years in power, the puppet regime faltered, the economy spiraled downward and another cycle of repression and mass protest emerged. The US puppet regime's rule is tenuous, the populace fills the streets, while the Pentagon sharpens its knives and prepares puppets to replace their current client regime.

    Conclusion

    The US has not succeeded in consolidating regime changes among the large countries with mass organizations and military supporters.

    Washington has succeeded in overthrowing popular – national regimes in Brazil, and Argentina . However, over time puppet regimes have been reversed.

    While the US resorts to largely a single 'track' (military coups and invasions)in overwhelming smaller and more vulnerable popular governments, it relies on 'multiple tracks' strategy with regard to large and more formidable countries.

    In the former cases, usually a call to the military or the dispatch of the marines is enough to snuff an electoral democracy.

    In the latter case, the US relies on a multi-proxy strategy which includes a mass media blitz, labeling democrats as dictatorships, extremists, corrupt, security threats, etc.

    As the tension mounts, regional client and European states are organized to back the local puppets.

    Phony "Presidents" are crowned by the US President whose index finger counters the vote of millions of voters. Street demonstrations and violence paid and organized by the CIA destabilize the economy; business elites boycott and paralyze production and distribution Millions are spent in bribing judges and military officials.

    If the regime change can be accomplished by local military satraps, the US refrains from direct military intervention.

    Regime changes among larger and wealthier countries have between one or two decades duration. However, the switch to an electoral puppet regime may consolidate imperial power over a longer period – as was the case of Chile.

    Where there is powerful popular support for a democratic regime, the US will provide the ideological and military support for a large-scale massacre, as was the case in Argentina.

    The coming showdown in Venezuela will be a case of a bloody regime change as the US will have to murder hundreds of thousands to destroy the millions who have life-long and deep commitments to their social gains , their loyalty to the nation and their dignity.

    In contrast the bourgeoisie, and their followers among political traitors, will seek revenge and resort to the vilest forms of violence in order to strip the poor of their social advances and their memories of freedom and dignity.

    It is no wonder that the Venezuela masses are girding for a prolonged and decisive struggle: everything can be won or lost in this final confrontation with the Empire and its puppets.

    Agent76 , says: February 5, 2019 at 4:57 pm GMT

    Did you know this information? January 18, 2019 The US Has Military Forces in Over 160 Countries, but the Pentagon Is Hiding the Exact Numbers

    The US has 95% of the world's foreign military bases, with personnel in more than 160 countries. But the Pentagon is leaving hundreds of outposts out of its official reports.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50951.htm

    [Feb 06, 2019] The Real Reason The U.S. Wants Regime Change In Venezuela

    One word: Hydrocarbons...
    Feb 06, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
    Via StormCloudsGathering.com,

    The U.S. and its allies have decided to throw their weight behind yet another coup attempt in Venezuela. As usual, they claim that their objectives are democracy and freedom. Nothing could be farther from the truth...

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/R_2sf6qnuNU

    On January 23rd, 2019 Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself acting president, and called on the armed forces to disobey the government. Very few had ever heard of this man -- he had never actually run for president. Guaidó is the head of Venezuela's national assembly; a position very similar to speaker of the house.

    Within minutes of this declaration U.S. president Donald Trump took to twitter and recognized Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela; writing off the administration of Nicolas Maduro as "illegitimate". U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo followed by urging Venezuela's military to "restore democracy", affirming that the US would back Mr Guaidó in his attempts to establish a government. They also promised 20 million dollars in "humanitarian" aid . To put this into context, Trump is on record saying he was " Not Going to Rule Out a Military Option " in Venezuela.

    me title=

    This is roughly the equivalent of Nancy Pelosi or Mitch Mcconnell declaring themselves president, calling on the military to overthrow Trump, and having China pledge to fund and assist the effort.

    Now if you happen to be in the camp that wouldn't actually mind seeing Donald Trump forcibly removed from office, I would encourage you to imagine replacing Trump's name with Obama, Bush, Merkel or Macron.

    You know there have been a lot of protests in France, and the Yellow Vests have demanded that Macron step down Why don't we restore democracy in Paris?

    If Donald Trump can decide on a whim which leaders are legitimate, and which will be deposed-by-tweet, what kind of precedent does that set? And who's next? The grand irony here, is that the exact same media outlets who blasted Trump as a "illegitimate president whose election is tainted by fraud" , are now calling his regime change ambitions in Venezuela "bold" . Not only have they refused to criticize the move, but in fact they're hailing this as a "potential foreign policy victory" and "a political win at home" .

    Let's get this straight. Trump is an illegitimate president and should be removed from office (because of Russian interference), but you're perfectly comfortable with that same illegitimate president toppling foreign governments via twitter?

    Though support for Guaidó was quickly parroted by Washington's most dependable allies, and lauded by virtually every western media outlet, the Venezuelan military responded by condemning the coup, and reconfirmed their loyalty to Maduro .

    Russia, China and Turkey also issued statements condemning U.S. meddling, and warned against further interference. By January 25th, reports were flowing in that as many as 400 Russian military contractors were already on the ground . (Well that escalated quickly.)

    That same day Pompeo announced that Elliott Abrams -- the man who oversaw regime change wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador , was deeply involved in the Iran Contra scandal, and who was an architect of both the Iraq war and the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela (which culminated in the kidnapping of Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez) -- would be in charge of the effort to "restore democracy and prosperity to their country".

    So why do you suppose Washington really wants regime change in Venezuela? You'd have to be pretty naive to buy the "democracy and prosperity" drivel.

    The Trump administration slams Maduro as authoritarian , while cuddling up to Mohammad Bin Salman , a mass murdering dictator known to dismember reporters he doesn't like.

    They talk about how the Venezuelan economy is in shambles, but by their own admission ( and according to the U.N. ) U.S. sanctions have played a significant role in creating that situation.

    Might the real motive have something to do with the fact that Venezuela is sitting on the world's largest proven oil reserves , and that Western oil companies were kicked out of the country in 2007?

    Let's ask Donald Trump:

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/eWTCB0ueqXk

    "With respect to Libya I'm interested in Libya if we take the oil. If we don't take the oil no interest. We have to have Look, if we have wars, we have to win the war. What we do is take over the country and hand the keys to people who don't like us. I'll tell you what Iraq, 100% Iran takes over Iraq after we leave, and what really happens with Iraq is they want the oil fields. And I have it on very good authority that Iran probably won't even be shooting a bullet because they are getting along better with the Iraqi leaders better than we are. After all of those lives, and after all of the money we spent. And if that's going to happen we take the oil."

    Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez nationalized the oil industry and used the proceeds to fund his socialist vision for the country. Now you could make the case that this vision was flawed, and horribly mismanaged, however he had strong public support for this mandate; so much support in fact, that when U.S. backed coup plotters kidnapped Hugo Chavez in 2002 crowds took to the streets en mass and he was quickly reinstated.

    Which brings us back to Juan Guaidó. There's not much information available on Mr. Guaidó, but if you look up the man who tapped him to lead the opposition party Voluntad Popular you'll find Washington's fingerprints all over the place. Leopoldo Lopez, the founder of Voluntad Popular, orchestrated the protests in 2002 that led up to the kidnapping of Hugo Chavez .

    It's no secret that the U.S. has been funding Voluntad Popular for years . In fact you can still find documents on state.gov which admit to routing at least 5 million dollars to "support political competition-building efforts". Nor is it a secret that U.S. officials met with coup plotters in 2018 . But if there were any doubt that Guaidó is Washington's puppet, Mike Pence's call the day before the coup assuring U.S. support should lay that to rest.

    "But Maduro's a bad leader!"

    Compared to who? Which paragon of good governance will we refer to as the model? Trump? Theresa May? Angel Merkel? Macron? Take your time.

    This isn't democracy, it's a neo-colonial power grab. Juan Guaidó never ran for the office he claimed, and the fact that he directly colluded with a foreign nation to overthrow the man who was elected president marks him as a traitor.

    Juan Guaidó is a puppet. If installed, he will serve the interests who bought his ticket. Venezuela's oil industry will be privatized, and the profits will be sucked out of the country by western corporations.

    What's happening in Venezuela right now is a replay of the 1973 U.S. backed coup in Chile, where the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, was overthrown, and replaced with the military dictatorship of Pinochet. Pinochet murdered over 3000 political opponents during his rule, and tortured over 30,000, but he was friendly to American business interests so Washington looked the other way.

    One could make the case that Maduro is incompetent. One could make the case that his economic theories are trash. (The same can be said for the haircuts in suits calling for his removal.) But the reality of the matter is that unless you happen to be a Venezuelan citizen, how Venezuela is governed is actually none of your business.

    Given how things turned out in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine you'd think people would get the hint. When it comes to spreading democracy, you suck. U.S. regime change operations have left nothing but chaos, death and destruction in their wake. If you want to make the world a better place, maybe, just maybe, you should start at home.

    [Feb 06, 2019] Venezuela Says It Intercepted Covert US Weapons Shipment From Miami

    Feb 06, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

    Venezuelan officials have announced the seizure of a large shipment of American weapons which they say were bound for anti-Maduro "terrorist groups" . This comes following US national security advisor John Bolton's pledge to deliver "humanitarian aid" into the country, covertly if need be, despite embattled President Nicolas Maduro's vow to prevent such unauthorized shipments from entering.

    [Feb 05, 2019] Vladimir Putin backs Nicolas Maduro with military contractors to Venezuela

    Sanctions without an approval by UN are criminal and represent a war crime.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Russia shows no signs of abandoning its increasingly beleaguered and isolated ally. Mr. Putin has called Mr. Maduro to relay his support for the regime, and Russian officials reacted angrily to President Trump's suggestion Sunday that U.S. military action was an option to resolve the crisis. ..."
    "... "The international community's goal should be to help [ Venezuela ], without destructive meddling from beyond its borders," Alexander Shchetinin, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Latin American department, told the Interfax news agency Monday. ..."
    "... Russia has repeatedly opposed U.S. suggestions of foreign intervention to install opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela 's interim president, and supported Mr. Maduro 's calls for mediation on the crisis. ..."
    "... But with Mr. Maduro defying calls to step down, the Russian mission may be more extensive than reported, said John Marulanda, a U.S.-trained intelligence officer and adviser to conservative Colombian President Ivan Duque, an opponent of Mr. Maduro . Mr. Marulanda said the recent Russian arrivals are special forces -- Spetsnaz -- who are being embedded among Venezuela 's elite military units to better resist any U.S. intervention or internal coup against Mr. Maduro . ..."
    Feb 05, 2019 | m.washingtontimes.com

    Under anti-U.S. populist leader Hugo Chavez, Mr. Maduro 's late predecessor and political mentor, Russia became one of Venezuela 's strongest allies with economic ties including crude oil, loans and arms sales. That helps explain why Moscow has emerged as one of Mr. Maduro 's most vocal defenders and one of the biggest critics of the pressure campaign waged by Washington and a number of countries in Latin America.

    The pressure grew Monday as France, Germany, Britain and 13 other European countries announced that they were withdrawing their recognition of Mr. Maduro and called for new national elections as soon as possible. The EU powers held off in joining the U.S. pressure campaign to see whether Venezuela would agree to new elections. "We are working for the return of full democracy in Venezuela : human rights, elections and no more political prisoners," Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told reporters in Madrid on Monday.

    But Russia shows no signs of abandoning its increasingly beleaguered and isolated ally. Mr. Putin has called Mr. Maduro to relay his support for the regime, and Russian officials reacted angrily to President Trump's suggestion Sunday that U.S. military action was an option to resolve the crisis.

    "The international community's goal should be to help [ Venezuela ], without destructive meddling from beyond its borders," Alexander Shchetinin, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Latin American department, told the Interfax news agency Monday.

    Russia has repeatedly opposed U.S. suggestions of foreign intervention to install opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela 's interim president, and supported Mr. Maduro 's calls for mediation on the crisis.

    The arrival of 400 Russian military contractors after Mr. Trump's Jan. 23 recognition of Mr. Guaido, the head of the National Assembly, triggered speculation that Moscow was reinforcing Mr. Maduro 's personal security or even preparing his evacuation.

    But with Mr. Maduro defying calls to step down, the Russian mission may be more extensive than reported, said John Marulanda, a U.S.-trained intelligence officer and adviser to conservative Colombian President Ivan Duque, an opponent of Mr. Maduro . Mr. Marulanda said the recent Russian arrivals are special forces -- Spetsnaz -- who are being embedded among Venezuela 's elite military units to better resist any U.S. intervention or internal coup against Mr. Maduro .

    The strong support for Venezuela has another motive for Moscow , analysts say: to increase the diplomatic, economic and military cost of any campaign by Washington to oust Mr. Maduro .

    Joseph Humire, a lecturer for the U.S. Army's 7th Special Forces Group, said in an interview that Russia wants to "draw the U.S. into a quagmire," which Mr. Maduro has warned that would be "worse than Vietnam."

    Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino recently announced that he was inviting Russian combat pilots who fought in Syria's civil war to "share their experience" with Venezuela's air force. Playing the long game

    Mr. Marulanda said Moscow is playing a long-term game aimed at pressuring the U.S. along its southern borders to counter NATO moves along Russia 's border with the Baltic states and Ukraine. Recent visits to Venezuela by nuclear-capable Tupolev 106 strategic bombers represented a clear show of force and support.

    " Russia wants to at least have a 'symbolic involvement' in Latin America as payback for U.S. intervention in the [Russian] 'Near Abroad,'" Vladimir Rouvinski, a foreign policy analyst at Icesi University in Colombia, recently told the Al Jazeera news website.

    Then there's the money aspect.

    Venezuela , with the world's largest proven oil reserves helping fill government coffers, is Russia 's second-biggest arms client after India, the Pentagon said. U.S. analysts calculate that Caracas has purchased more than $11 billion in Russian hardware over the past decade.

    Acquisitions include high-performance Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets equipped with cruise-type BrahMos missiles; Mi-35m attack helicopters; surface-to-air SS-200 and Pechorev missile batteries; T-72 tanks; and production plants for AK-103 rifles.

    Russia is also building a cyberwarfare base on the island of Orchila off Venezuela 's northern coast operated by Cuban technicians. Through military leverage, Russia has gained major oil concessions in mainly offshore drilling blocs between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago. Russia is interested in keeping Venezuelan oil production at reduced levels to maintain high world prices for its own oil, energy analysts say.

    Russian companies also have been using Venezuela to penetrate the U.S. and other energy markets closed off to them by sanctions. Russia 's main state oil company, Rosneft, has lent $6 billion to Venezuela in recent years through negotiations in which Venezuela 's state-owned oil firm, PDVSA, offered its U.S. subsidiary, Citgo, as collateral, according to U.S. intelligence sources.

    The Trump administration has tried to head off such maneuvers by placing PDVSA's U.S.-based assets under control of the alternative government that Mr. Guaido is trying to form.

    Some say the Kremlin isn't looking for a "win" in Venezuela so much as it is trying to entangle the Trump administration in another long, grinding foreign policy crisis with no resolution in sight.

    "It would demonstrate the failure of the American strategy of unlawful regime change and the success of the Russian line of supporting legitimate power," Vladimir Frolov, a Russian foreign policy analyst, wrote in a recent commentary on the Republic.ru news website.

    Mr. Marulanda said Russia is building an anti-U.S. "tripod" in the Caribbean region linking leftist governments in Venezuela , Cuba and Nicaragua. The strategy is unlikely to please military planners in Washington .

    " Russia has taken a big gamble," said Evan Ellis, a Latin America specialist with the U.S. Army War College.

    "If Maduro falls, Moscow 's position in the Western Hemisphere would collapse, as its other allies would soon be equally pressured by democratic revolts."

    [Feb 05, 2019] Black Day for European Democracy. Europeans endorse US-led Coup d' Etat in Venezuela! Defend Democracy Press by Rachael Kennedy

    This reminds me EuroMaydan. Poland, Sweden and Germany were very active promoters of opposition.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Imposing some decisions or trying to legitimize an attempt to usurp power, in our view, is both direct and indirect interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela," ..."
    Feb 04, 2019 | www.defenddemocracy.press
    The UK, France, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Netherlands, Germany, Portugal,among a number of countries, have announced their recognition of Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president Domino effect ensues as EU leaders line up to recognise Venezuela's Guaido

    Europe has begun turning its back on Venezuela's incumbent president, Nicolas Maduro, after he missed his Sunday deadline to call for presidential elections to take place.
    One by one, European leaders publicly announced their recognition of National Assembly chief, Juan Guaido, as the country's interim president.
    But according to Reuters , diplomatic sources said Italy blocked a joint EU position to recognise Guido as the interim leader, as the government in Rome is deeply divided over the issue.

    Read more at https://www.euronews.com/2019/02/04/domino-effect-ensues-as-eu-leaders-recognise-venezuela-s-guaido

    Italy vetoed EU recognition of Venezuelan opposition leader Guaido

    4 Feb, 2019

    Rome has effectively derailed an EU statement meant to recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim leader if President Nicolas Maduro fails to set up snap elections, a Five Star Movement source confirmed to RT. Italy announced the veto at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers that started on January 31 in Romania, the source said. The statement, which was supposed to be delivered by EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini recognized Guaido as interim president if snap elections were not held.

    Read more at https://www.rt.com/news/450594-source-italy-regects-guaido/

    EU states' recognition of Guaido is 'direct interference' in Venezuela's affairs – Kremlin

    Moscow slammed EU states for trying to legitimize "an attempt to usurp power" in Venezuela after a number of key European countries recognized opposition figure Juan Guaido as interim president. " Imposing some decisions or trying to legitimize an attempt to usurp power, in our view, is both direct and indirect interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela," Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told the media on Monday, while commenting on the recognition of Guaido.

    Read more at https://www.rt.com/russia/450625-moscow-eu-guaido-recognition/

    [Feb 05, 2019] Refusal to hand over Venezuelan gold means end of Britain as a financial center Prof. Wolff -- RT Business News

    Feb 05, 2019 | www.rt.com

    The freezing of Venezuelan gold by the Bank of England is a signal to all countries out of step with US interests to withdraw their money, according to economist and co-founder of Democracy at Work, Professor Richard Wolff. He told RT America that Britain and its central bank have shown themselves to be "under the thumb of the United States."

    "That is a signal to every country that has or may have difficulties with the US, [that they had] better get their money out of England and out of London because it's not the safe place as it once was," he said.

    [Feb 04, 2019] The US decision to send weapons to Syria repeats a historical mistake

    Highly recommended!
    This was true in 2015 for Syria. Now this is true for Venezuela... So one can expect iether chemical attack opposition from Madura government or "Snipergate" in EuroMaydan style. Or may some some more sophisticated, more nasty "false flag" operation in British style like Skripal poisoning.
    It will be interesting if Madura manage to survive despite the pressute...
    Notable quotes:
    "... Sorry but you're wrong. The funding a training of rebel forces by the west has done exactly what is was intended to do, mainly destabilise an entire region, sell billions in extra arms, introduce extra anti-terrorism laws in the west, create more fear and panic, then destabilise Europe through the mass-migration. This was the plan and it worked! ..."
    "... To the great disappointment of those of us who voted for Obama, the first time out of hope for change, and the second time out of fear for someone even worse, he is a weak and chameleonic leader whose policies are determined by the strongest willed person in the room. Recall that he was also "talked into" bombing Libya! ..."
    "... This isn't Bay of Pigs; its a bloated military trying to figure out what to do with its extra cash. Financially, it doesn't matter if the program is a failure. The cost is minuscule for the budget they have. ..."
    "... Bush reached the Oval Office not because he was bright, for indeed he was not, he reached the Oval Office because he was dumb enough not to realise he was clearly easily manipulated, believed in neoliberalism and was rich and rich backers and a rich Dad. ..."
    "... In Iran, we have a saying which says; take off a Mullah's turban and you will find the words "Made in England" stamped on his head. ..."
    "... ISIS/ISIL is a creation of the US in an attempt to remove Assad. The long-term goal being to isolate Iran before going in there for the natural resources. ..."
    "... The White House statement specifically refers to the "Syrian opposition". That's the term we use to describe anti-government forces. This recruitment and training programme has gone awry because the people originally recruited would have been anti-Assad. Now the Obama administration has tried to change the same people to fighting to ISIS instead. No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck! ..."
    "... The CIA has probably been the greatest destabalising force in the world since the second world war and seem like more a subsidiary of the weapons trade than a government department. ..."
    Sep 19, 2015 | The Guardian
    Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?

    As pretty much everyone who was paying attention predicted, the $500m program to train and arm "moderate" Syrian rebels is an unmitigated, Bay of Pigs-style disaster, with the head of US central command admitting to Congress this week that the year-old program now only has "four or five" rebels fighting inside Syria, with dozens more killed or captured.

    Even more bizarre, the White House is claiming little to do with it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to distance Obama from the program, claiming that it was actually the president's "critics" who "were wrong." The New York Times reported, "In effect, Mr Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment."

    This bizarre "I was peer pressured into sending more weapons into the Middle East" argument by the president is possibly the most blatant example of blame shifting in recent memory, since he had every opportunity to speak out against it, or veto the bill. Instead, this is what Obama said at the time: "I am pleased that Congress...have now voted to support a key element of our strategy: our plan to train and equip the opposition in Syria."

    But besides the fact that he clearly did support the policy at the time, it's ridiculous for another reason: years before Congress approved the $500m program to arm the Syrian rebels, the CIA had been running its own separate Syrian rebel-arming program since at least 2012. It was reported prominently by the New York Times at the time and approved by the president.

    In fact, just before Congress voted, Senator Tom Udall told Secretary of State John Kerry, who was testifying in front of the foreign relations committee, "Everybody's well aware there's been a covert operation, operating in the region to train forces, moderate forces, to go into Syria and to be out there, that we've been doing this the last two years." In true Orwellian fashion, Kerry responded at the time: "I hate to do this. But I can't confirm or deny whatever that's been written about and I can't really go into any kind of possible program."

    Also conveniently ignored by Congress and those advocating for arming the rebels was a classified study the CIA did at the time showing that arming rebel factions against sitting governments almost always ends in disaster or tragedy.

    You'd think whether or not the current weapons-running program was effective – or whether any similar program ever was – would have been a key factor in the debate. But alas, the CIA program is never mentioned, not by politicians, and not by journalists. It's just been conveniently forgotten.

    It is true that perhaps the best advocate for why we never should've armed the Syrian rebels to begin with came from President Obama himself. He told the New Yorker in early 2014 that "you have an opposition that is disorganized, ill-equipped, ill-trained and is self-divided. All of that is on top of some of the sectarian divisions." Critically, he cited that same above-mentioned classified study:

    Very early in this process, I actually asked the CIA to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well. And they couldn't come up with much.

    He didn't mention the CIA's already-active weapons-running program. Why he didn't stick to his guns since he supposedly was weary of getting the US military involved in yet another quagmire it could not get out of is beyond anyone's comprehension. Instead, he supported Congress's measure to create yet another program that sent even more weapons to the war-torn region.

    Per usual, Republicans are taking the entirely wrong lessons from this disaster, arguing that if only there was more force then everything would've worked out. Marco Rubio exclaimed during the GOP presidential debate on Wednesday that if we armed the rebels earlier – like he allegedly wanted, before voting against arming them when he had the chance – then the program would've worked out. Like seemingly everyone else in this debate, Rubio has decided to ignore the actual facts.

    Sadly, instead of a debate about whether we should continue sending weapons to the Middle East at all, we'll probably hear arguments that we should double down in Syria in the coming days and get US troops more cemented into a war we can call our own (that still to this day has not been authorized by Congress). There are already reports that there are US special operations forces on the ground in Syria now, assisting Kurdish forces who are also fighting Isis.

    When the vicious and tragic cycle will end is anyone's guess. But all signs point to: not anytime soon.

    Oliver2014 19 Sep 2015 21:27

    " Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time? "

    Because the US doesn't understand the culture of the people it meddles with.

    The US goes in with a messianic belief in the righteousness of its objective. This objective is framed in naive terms to convince itself and the people that it's motives are benevolent - such as "we must fight communism" or "we will bring democracy to Iraq" or "Saddam Hussein is an evil man who uses chemical weapons on his own people and hence must be ousted" or "Assad is an evil man who is fighting a civil war with his own people".

    As a superpower it feels compelled to interfere in conflicts lest it be seen as impotent. When it does not interfere, as in WW2, things do indeed get out of control. So it's damned if it does and damned if it doesn't.

    The CIA did not understand Afghan history of fighting off invaders when it was arming the Mujaheddin and that after the Soviets were defeated it would perceive the Americans as invaders and not as liberators who were there to bring them democracy and teach them that growing poppy was bad. (Like alcohol in the 1930s, a national addiction problem cannot be solved on the supply side - as the CIA and DEA learnt in South America.)

    Bush Sr. was right when he left Saddam alone after bloodying his nose for invading Kuwait because he understood that Saddam was playing a vital Tito-esque role in keeping his country and the neighborhood in check. He had no WMDs but wanted his adversaries in the region to believe otherwise. If Saddam were alive today we wouldn't have an Iraq problem, an ISIS problem, an Iran problem and a Syria problem.

    Smedley Butler 19 Sep 2015 21:12

    "Why he didn't stick to his guns since he supposedly was weary of getting the US military involved in yet another quagmire it could not get out of is beyond anyone's comprehension."

    Maybe it's because he hasn't stuck to his guns on anything during the entire time he's been President. He always takes the path of least resistance, the easy way out, and a "conservative-lite" position that tries to satisfy everyone and actually satisfies no one.

    What an utter disappointment.

    DavidEG 19 Sep 2015 20:01

    The Machiavellian machinations of the empire become less relevant with every passing day. It's Europeans now who are eating sweet fruits of "mission accomplished". And they may rebel, and kick out last remnants of their "unity", and sacred NATO alliance alongside.


    PamelaKatz AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 18:33

    Obama said the US would take 10,000 Syrian refugees. When I heard this, I thought surely a zero must be missing from this figure. And what no one has publicly mentioned is the immigration process for these few will require at least a year of investigative background checks.

    PamelaKatz jvillain 19 Sep 2015 18:15

    The largest manufacturers and global distributors of weaponry are the US, the UK, France, Russia and China, in that order....... also known as the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. One should read the UN Charter, which states the purpose and parameters for forming this international organization. The word 'irony' comes to mind.

    ID108738 19 Sep 2015 17:36

    Saddam Hussein was a friend while he gassed the Iranians, then he invaded Kuwait; as long as Bin Laden fought the Russians, he was tolerated and funded; now there's Syria. The only thing needed to take the strategy to new levels of idiocy was a compliant nincompoop as prime minister in Britain. Will they ever learn?

    Toi Jon 19 Sep 2015 17:27

    The US understands how to create a market for their military hardware industry but has never understood how their interference in the Middle East creates mass human misery.

    Samantha Stevens 19 Sep 2015 17:09

    Quite simply the US is breaking international law by doing this. Every time they do it the world ends up with another shit storm. If they cannot behave responsibly they should be removed from the security council of the UN. Same goes for the Russians and any other power abusing their position.
    Syria may not have been the epitome of humanity before being destabilised but it is certainly worse now. The same is true of Iraq. In fact have the US successfully overturned any government they deem un-American (LOL) without it leading to a civil war?

    Andy Freeman 19 Sep 2015 17:06

    Sorry but you're wrong. The funding a training of rebel forces by the west has done exactly what is was intended to do, mainly destabilise an entire region, sell billions in extra arms, introduce extra anti-terrorism laws in the west, create more fear and panic, then destabilise Europe through the mass-migration. This was the plan and it worked!

    People will call for a solution, the solution will be tighter integration in Europe, the abolition of national governments, the removal of cash to stop payments to "terrorists", more draconian spying laws, less from and eventually compulsory registration and ID for all Europeans.

    Meanwhile, we'll have a few more false flag attacks supposedly caused by the refugees and more fear in the news. Open your eyes


    Laurie Calhoun 19 Sep 2015 16:49

    "Why he didn't stick to his guns..." Not the most felicitous metaphor in this case, but here is the answer to your question:

    To the great disappointment of those of us who voted for Obama, the first time out of hope for change, and the second time out of fear for someone even worse, he is a weak and chameleonic leader whose policies are determined by the strongest willed person in the room. Recall that he was also "talked into" bombing Libya!

    Sad but true. For more details on how this works, read Daniel Klaidman's book Kill or Capture: The war on terror and the soul of the Obama presidency.


    littlewoodenblock geniusofmozart 19 Sep 2015 16:39

    turkey should be thrown out of NATO immediately!

    littlewoodenblock 19 Sep 2015 16:36

    after the libya disaster the US should have abandoned plans for regim change in syria.

    and the US missed a golden opportunity to recitfy what had already become a syria disaster by allowing turkey and the ludicrous SNC to so thoroughly undermine the Geneva talks.

    nnedjo -> Havingalavrov , 19 Sep 2015 15:40

    The U.S and U.K's commitment should be to those in Iraq. Secure, rebuild and invest in helping that Nation come with the best solution to a, rid itself of ISIS, b, be able to stay that way, c have a government that is inclusive to the needs of the Sunni's, Shia's and Kurds

    Just as I thought that you can not surpass yourself in writing stupid comments, and you are immediately reassured me.
    Thus, the US and the UK spent nearly ten years in Iraq and failed to make any of this what you write, but but the whole mess practically they themselves have created. And now you're saying that if the US and UK troops returned again to Iraq they will be able to fix everything that they had previously screwed and to create an "inclusive society" of Iraq. So, if the US and UK troops set foot again on the soil of Iraq, it will be the strongest reason for Iraqi Sunnis to reject the inclusion in the Iraqi society. Iraqi officials themselves are aware of this very well, and for that reason they are the first to oppose such an intervention.
    Iraq's prime minister says no to foreign troops

    BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister strongly rejected the idea of the U.S. or other nations sending ground forces to his country to help fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, saying Wednesday that foreign troops are "out of the question."...
    Al-Abadi, a Shiite lawmaker who faces the enormous task of trying to hold Iraq together as a vast array of forces threaten to rip it apart, welcomed the emerging international effort, but stressed that he sees no need for other nations to send troops to help fight ISIS.

    "Not only is it not necessary," he said, "We don't want them. We won't allow them. Full stop."
    "The only contribution the American forces or the international coalition is going to help us with is from the sky," al-Abadi said. "We are not giving any blank check to the international coalition to hit any target in Iraq."
    He said that the Iraqi military will choose and approve targets, and that the U.S. will not take action without consulting with Baghdad first. Failure to do so, he warned, risks causing civilian casualties like in Pakistan and Yemen, where the U.S. has conducted drone strikes for years.

    Well, Well, whether i notice here distrust even of Iraqi Shiites toward the US Air Force. On the other hand, they want to strengthen friendship with neighboring governments in Syria and Iran: ;

    Al-Abadi, however, said that Iraq doesn't have the luxury of testy relations with Damascus, and instead pushed for some sort of coordination.

    "We cannot afford to fight our neighbor, even if we disagree on many things," al-Abadi said. "We don't want to enter into problems with them. For us sovereignty of Syria is very important." The two countries, both of which are allies of Iran, appear to already be coordinating on some level, and Iraq's national security adviser met Tuesday with Assad in the Syrian capital, where the two agreed to strengthen cooperation in fighting "terrorism," according to Syria's state news agency.

    The U.S. hopes to pull together a broad coalition to help defeat the extremist group, but has ruled out cooperating with neighboring Iran or Syria, both of which also view ISIS as a threat. Both countries were excluded from a conference this week in Paris that brought the U.S., France and other allies together to discuss how to address the militant threat.

    Al-Abadi said that excluding Damascus and Tehran was counterproductive.

    So, it is obvious that the Iraqi government is not against inclusion, but they're for such inclusion, which will exclude the US and UK of interfering in their internal affairs. I think it is a good step towards reconciliation with their Sunni brothers because they also seem to support such a thing. And if they managed to do it, maybe Ukrainians will also draw some lesson from it and be able to reconcile with their brothers Russians.


    Ieuan ytrewq 19 Sep 2015 14:04

    ytrewq said: "USSR and China supplied a lot of support and material to N. Vietnam."

    Very true.

    However the Viet Minh were formed and initially supplied by OSS (later called the CIA) forces from the US. In fact Ho Chi Min had a naive hope that the US would support him in his struggle against foreign occupation of the country after the war (French colonialism) and made several appeals to President Truman for help (all of which were ignored).

    Instead of which, the US supported the French, so Ho asked around and got help from the Russians and Chinese. The rest we know.


    marginline AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 13:54

    The UK and France [...], they destroyed Libya.

    The causality of which led to an Islamic terror attack on June 26th, 2015 ten kilometers north of the city of Sousse, Tunisia, where thirty-eight people; thirty of whom were British - were murdered.


    sashasmirnoff JoJo McJoJo 19 Sep 2015 13:40

    The US is always wrong, and always responsible for every bad thing that happens on Earth.

    They are always wrong, and are indeed responsible for almost every geopolitical disaster, usually a result of overthrowing governments and installing their own tyrant, or else leaving a vacuum that Islamists fill.


    Zaarth 19 Sep 2015 13:34

    This $500m program cost less than 0.1% of the US annual defense budget. When you're dealing with sums of money as obscenely large as the US spends on its military, its inevitable that huge quantities will be wasted because you've passed the point where there's worthwhile things to spend it on. This isn't Bay of Pigs; its a bloated military trying to figure out what to do with its extra cash. Financially, it doesn't matter if the program is a failure. The cost is minuscule for the budget they have.

    In recent years the right has been very concerned with balancing the national budget and shrinking debt. They're willing to cut spending for social programs and research, but god forbid you take money away from the military. It just wouldn't be patriotic.


    marginline -> GeneralMittens 19 Sep 2015 13:14

    Great summary GeneralMittens. You have expressed in layman's terms the facts eluded to by journalist Mehdi Hasan when he quantified the depth of the strategic disaster the Iraq war actually was – or, as the Conservative minister Kenneth Clarke put it back in a 2013 BBC radio discussion...

    the most disastrous foreign policy decision of my lifetime [ ] worse than Suez

    The invasion and occupation of Iraq undermined the moral standing of the western powers; empowered Iran and its proxies; heightened the threat from al-Qaeda at home and abroad; and sent a clear signal to 'rogue' regimes that the best (the only?) means of deterring a preemptive, US-led attack was to acquire weapons of mass destruction. [ ] Iraq has been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of innocent people have lost their lives, as the direct result of an unnecessary, unprovoked war that, according to the former chief justice Lord Bingham, was a...

    serious violation of international law

    This leads me to the conclusion and I apologies for flogging this dead horse yet again BUT...why are Bush and Bliar not being detained at The Hague?


    Ieuan 19 Sep 2015 12:45

    " I actually asked the CIA to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well."

    Well, they (the OSS at the time) supplied arms and training to the Viet Minh. When they were fighting the Japanese. Which worked out well, when they were only fighting the Japanese.

    But when they used their expertise (and the arms they had left over) to carry on fighting the French, and later the Americans themselves, it worked out very well for the Viet Minh, not so well for the French and Americans.


    GangZhouEsq 19 Sep 2015 12:27

    The first President Bush, who decided not to topple President Saddam Hussein after routing his military forces out of Kuwait, and instead to leave him in power for the sake of the Middle East stability is, in retrospect, probably the wisest foreign policy decision ever made by the 41st President, thanks not only to his own personal judgment but also to his foreign policy aides' wisdom. Though it is now too late for the son to learn from his father, it is still not too late for the present administration to learn a thing or two from the former senior President Bush.

    twoheadednightingale 19 Sep 2015 12:25

    Nice to read an article coming at the war from this angle, seems like people are finally starting to question the effectiveness US foreign policy - ie bombing for peace. However the article is fairly nieve in places - like who actually believes the president of the US has control over all its intelligence agencies? JFK told the world in april '61, not long after the CIA had set him up over the bay of pigs and months before being assassinated exactly that. So enough of the 'blame the president' bullshit, it doesn't get to the root of the problem


    GangZhouEsq 19 Sep 2015 12:17

    The last major armament, including heavy guns, tanks and armored personnel carriers, as sent by the United States to the now notoriously incompetent Iraqi military forces is now reportedly in the hands of ISIS after these US-trained Iraqi military personnel simply abandoned their posts of defense and deserted for their own dear lives, thus leaving the centuries-old, formerly safe haven of Mosul for Iraqi Christians to the mercy of ISIS. See "60 Minutes", Sunday, September 13, 2015, "Iraq's Christians", at http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/iraqs-christians-the-shooting-at-chardon-high-king-of-crossfit.


    pfox33 19 Sep 2015 12:04

    The fact that Putin is coming to Assad's aid is a game-changer that the US was unprepared for. For one thing, it's highlighted how inconsequential US efforts to bolster "moderate" rebels and degrade ISIS capabilities have been.

    From the time it was reported that the Russians were upgrading an airbase at Latakia to the time that it was reported that they had dispatched helicopters and jets and that the Syrians had started to take the fight to ISIS in Raqqah and Palmyra was only a matter of weeks. The CIA's program, after a year, had produced five soldiers at a cost of 500 million.

    Previously the US had free reign over Syrian skies as did Israel who would bomb what they deemed to be convoys of military supplies for Hezbollah. Things aren't so free and easy now with the Russians in town. And both the Americans and Israelis now realize they have to check in with them before them they make sorties over northern Syria.

    It's fairly obvious, to me anyway, that the US and Israel's only endgame was the fall of Assad and that ISIS had their tacit approval. Assad's good relations with Iran and Hezbollah meant he was a marked man. Putin, as is his wont, has complicated their plans and the results are yet to be seen.


    BradfordChild TastySalmon 19 Sep 2015 11:58

    "Iraq, Libya, Syria. What do/did these countries have in common? Unfriendly leaders who want nothing to do with the US."

    Actually, Gaddafi had shown an interest in engaging with the West-- happened under Bush, but was never really followed up on. Still, it was headed in a more positive direction until Obama rather arbitrarily decided that Gaddafi had to go.

    The real net effect of US intervention in the Middle East has been to destabilize Europe.


    Tony Page bravo7490 19 Sep 2015 11:32

    I would agree but, as a former intelligence professional, I'd remind you that there's always a story behind the story. Not that it's a "good" story! But more must be going on there...


    ByThePeople 19 Sep 2015 11:12

    "Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?"

    It depends on how you define better. To think that these ops take place with the intent to solve an issue is naive, they don't. You state yourself that the CIA freely admits it's never worked.

    The reason the United States funds and arms groups in the Middle East is that 9 times out of 10, these same groups are then later labeled 'terrorists' and a new US war campaign is justified.

    It's not about solving problems - unless the problem being solved is: How do we create more opportunities to half-ass justify engaging in another war effort so the US coffers can be continuously raped.

    Iraq is the perfect example of succeeding in achieving this goal. Years before the Iraq war ever began, US war planners knew that a power vacuum, attracting the likes of Al-Qaeda and or ISIS would subsequently result. Thus, providing a for a second war, derived from the first seemingly pointless invasion. The Iraq plan worked fabulously as not only did the newly created enemy materialize, they also became a much more formidable enemy once they conveniently came into possession of all the military equipment we let behind.

    Point is, they wouldn't continue implementing all these operations if the goal wasn't being achieved.

    I will add too - McCain and Co. clamored so hard to arm the al-Assad opposition McCain might as well have claimed that if we did not, then America would be blown up in its entirety in 48 hours the same as all the other fear mongering done in a effort to continue the war efforts. Who knows, maybe he did, I try not to listen to him anymore - he needs to be put out to pasture.

    TastySalmon 19 Sep 2015 11:10

    Iraq, Libya, Syria. What do/did these countries have in common? Unfriendly leaders who want nothing to do with the US.

    To suggest that funding radicals to overthrow these governments is a "whoops" or something that will never work is completely wrong. The plan has worked exactly as planned: destabilize the region by promoting dissent, covertly arm and fund "rebels" through back-channels (Saudi, UAE, Turkey, etc.), create a new boogeyman (ISIS), and reforge alliances with enemies (AQ) who will then turn on us again in the future.

    The goal is to flatten Syria, and it seems to be working out very well. When you consider what the ultimate outcome will be, it starts becoming fairly clear: push Russia into a corner militarily and economically, open new LNG pipelines, appease allied caliphates, and put billions of dollars into the pockets of the wealthiest people.

    LeftOrRightSameShite -> teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 10:51

    Their policy is chaotic and consists of repeating the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results, which is, as we all know, the definition of madness.

    I think the problem may well be the bloated MIC in the US. Too many strategic game plans for to many, often contradictory ends.

    There are no doubt there are intelligence analysts in the US MIC who have a genuine interest in collecting actual information and present it honestly. The numerous leaks show us this.

    The problem is, this often good information, once it's been spun through political/economic vested interests, think tanks, cold war jar head imperialists and so forth, it (foreign policy) ends up complete fubar.

    To the point where, as you rightly say imo, their foreign policy looks like nothing more than "malicious wily manipulators, deliberately buggering up the world to make money out of the consequences."


    david wright 19 Sep 2015 10:49

    For a full century now, from the Balfour Declaration and the secret Sykes-Picot arrangement, the currently-top 'Western' dog (UK; then US) has been meddling and futzing around in the Middle East, notionally in someone's 'National Interest.'

    Oil, access to Empire (route to India etc) and 'national prestige' have been the usual excuses. The result has been unmitigated disaster.

    Ignoring everything up to Gulf 1 (1991) we've a quarter century century of determined scoring of own-goals. This shows no sign of changing. This is a helter-skelter race to destruction, greatly presently aided and abetted by Asad. So far, it's lasted two-and-a-half times longer than the combined lengths of both World Wars.

    One conclusion is that by any rational assessment, we don't deserve to 'win', whatever that would constitute, any more than did one side or the other in the 16th -17th century's European religious wars. An equally rational assessment is that we neither have, nor can. The final rational conclusion, that we find a way to disengage - remarkably simply, by stopping doing all the things we have been - is a fence refused by the relevant horses - again, mainly US and (as very eager, jr partner indeed) UK.All apart from the monstrous outcomes for the people in the region, we destabilize our own security then make things worse by tightening our own internal 'security' at the expense of civil liberties. This gives away, at no gain, the slow and scrabbling accretion of these, over centuries. And Cameron and co remain sufficiently delusional to want to keep on bombing, but whatever toys they have, whatever seems a good idea on the day. How can we win? the war isn't on 'terror', but ion logic. Ours. |Neither the US nor UK governments have ever shown much interest in the fates of the millions of people their casual actions have ended, or made hell. Of the multiple ironies (shall I count the ways?) attending all this is that Saddam, while a murderous thug, and no friend to his own people, was doing for us, for free, what we've been unable to do for ourselves - keep Iraq al-Quaida free. AS to his murderous propensities, clearly far fewer of his people (alone) would have been killed had we not intervened, than we have directly or indirectly killed. Much of this stems from the fact that during the same recent period (1991 on) there has been no effective counter to Western power and inclination, which has simply projectile-vomited its baneful influence. Ironic too that the reason we armed and greatly helped create al-Quaida was to destabilize Russia by getting it bogged down in Afghanistan. Thus the only real fear which limited US action, was removed when that policy was successful. We removed the brakes as the train was beginning to accelerate down the incline. Wheeee!


    teaandchocolate smifee 19 Sep 2015 10:47

    Bush reached the Oval Office not because he was bright, for indeed he was not, he reached the Oval Office because he was dumb enough not to realise he was clearly easily manipulated, believed in neoliberalism and was rich and rich backers and a rich Dad.

    As to "not having a serious mark against his name", forgive me if I laugh hysterically while crying with pain.

    The least said about the moron Reagan and his jolly pal Thatcher the better. Oh how well their unregulated market shenanigans have turned out.

    Crackpots the lot of them.


    LethShibbo AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 10:35

    Doing nothing and minding your own business is kinda the same thing.

    And the civil war in Syria isn't purely a result of what happened in neighbouring Iraq.

    What you're essentially saying is 'America, you've started this fire. Now let it burn.'


    pansapians DrDrug 19 Sep 2015 10:28

    Well of course ISIS were miffed that the U.S. was paying lip service to not arming ISIS. If you think there was ever any serious difference between the FSA and ISIS then I hear that the Queen having to sell Buckingham palace due to losses gambling on corgi races and I can get you a good deal for a cash sale


    IrateHarry Havingalavrov 19 Sep 2015 10:17

    Make Iraq work first..

    ROFLMFAO...

    Iraq has been so thoroughly screwed over by the UKUSA clusterfuck, there is no chance of it working ever again.


    AndyMcCarthy LethShibbo 19 Sep 2015 10:12

    Sorry, the US doesn't HAVE to make a choice, do nothing or bomb. All the US needs to do is mind it's own business.

    We wouldn't be having this refugee crises if the US hadn't invaded Iraq.


    Tomasgolfer 19 Sep 2015 10:10

    For a little insight, see "The Red Line and the Rat Line", by Seymour M. Hersh. Published in the
    London Review of Books


    LeftOrRightSameShite contextandreality 19 Sep 2015 10:01

    you write a article on myth that US armed rebels

    The US (and the UK and France for that matter) has been openly arming and training the "rebels". The US had a vote in congress to openly do just that last year. Covertly, they've been doing it since 2012, again this has been well reported and admitted to.

    The problem for the US is their so called "moderates" don't exist. They either switch allegiance once back in Syria or end up captured or killed just as quickly.
    Your user name seems somewhat of a parody.


    ArtofLies richardoxford 19 Sep 2015 10:00

    How does that compute ?

    it computes once one answers this slightly naive question from the article

    Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?

    surely at some point people have to realise that chaos is the result the US is looking for.

    IrateHarry 19 Sep 2015 09:56

    Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East

    Because that is the backbone business of America - making and selling deadly weapons. Deadlier the better, and no matter whom they are supplied to. If foreign governments don't buy, does not matter, just supply it to "rebels", and they will be paid for by the tax payers across the west (not just the American ones, NATO has been set up as the mechanism to tap into European tax payers as well).

    The rest of the bullshit like democracy, freedom, etc are marketeers' crap.

    LeftOrRightSameShite -> geedeesee 19 Sep 2015 09:53

    No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck!

    There was a report in the NY Times last year by a reporter who was kidnapped by the FSA (his mission was to find them and find out who they were) and handed straight over to Al-Nusra. Twice. He was imprisoned and tortured by them.

    In his revealing report, talking of the couple of days he spent back with the "FSA", his release having been negotiated by the west, he asked the "FSA" fighters about the training they received from the US in Jordan. The reporter put it to the fighters that the training was to fight AN/IS. Their response? "We lied to the Americans about that".
    The WSJ also recently reported that the CIA mission to arm/train "moderates/FSA" had gone totally tits up. Most of them reported as defecting to one of the number of more extreme groups, some having been captured or killed.

    It's been clear for about 2 years now that these so called "moderates" only exist in the deluded minds of western policy makers.


    JacobHowarth MushyP8 19 Sep 2015 09:51

    ISIS do not control that large a number of people. Many Kurds are fleeing because of IS, that's true, but for the most part the civil war is a horror show from both sides and Syrians are - rightly - getting the hell out of there.

    Or are all of those 'taking advantage of the opportunity to move to Europeans [sic] countries' proposing to do so by going to Lebanon and Jordan?


    Quadspect -> kingcreosote 19 Sep 2015 09:22

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/10218288/CIA-running-arms-smuggling-team-in-Benghazi-when-consulate-was-attacked.html

    The suspiciously unasked questions as to motives of all parties at Benghazi, by all twelve (12) members of the Select Committee, suggests collaboration to question Hillary Clinton to make her appear responsible only for bungling security and rescue, for the sole purpose of diverting attention from Hillary Clinton's role in the CIA and the CIA operative Ambassador Stevens' arming of terrorists. The obvious question to ask would have gone to motives: "What activities were Stevens and the CIA engaged in, when they were attacked at Benghazi?"


    GreenRevolution 19 Sep 2015 09:10

    The use of religion(Islam specifically) in politics was first employed by the British in the Middle East in the early parts of the 20th century. In Iran, we have a saying which says; take off a Mullah's turban and you will find the words "Made in England" stamped on his head.


    nnedjo 19 Sep 2015 09:09

    Even more bizarre, the White House is claiming little to do with it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to distance Obama from the program, claiming that it was actually the president's "critics" who "were wrong."

    Yes, it seems that it has become a tradition of US presidents to boast with the fact that "they do not interfere much in their own job".

    For example, in the last campaign for the GOP candidate for the US president, Jeb Bush defended his brother George for a false pretext for war in Iraq in the form of non-existent WMD, claiming that everyone else would bring the same decision on the start of the war, if the same false intelligence would be presented to him.

    Thus, the president of the United States can not be held accountable for its decisions if the CIA deliver him false intelligence, or deliberately conceal the true intelligence. On the other hand, since no one has heard of any person from the CIA which is held responsible for the wrong war in Iraq, it turns out that nobody is responsible for this war.

    And, to us, mere mortals, it remains only to conclude that the most powerful war machine in the world moves "without a driver", or maybe it is "driven by some automatic pilot".

    So, how tragic it is, and yet we can not help laughing. :-)


    mikiencolor 19 Sep 2015 09:06

    It was obvious to anyone with a modicum of sense from the beginning that the "moderate" rebel training programme would be an utter disaster. But if the lessons you are taking is that nothing should be done at all, I'd submit you are taking the wrong lessons from the debacle. Doing nothing at all would have condemned tens of thousands more to genocide. Doing something saved thousands of Yezidi and saved Rojava.

    Wherever the Kurds have been supported they have proved capable, trustworthy and have created functional civil societies. To broadly and undiscerningly dismiss "sending weapons to the Middle East" is disingenuous. Something must be done, and things can be done to help rather than harm if there is a sensible policy maker, and doing nothing certainly can be more immoral and evil than doing something - as I thought we'd learned from Nazi Germany.

    The reality is one that neither right wing nor left wing hardliners are willing to face: the Sunni Arab jihadis are the source of most of the problems and the reason is entirely to do with their noxious genocidal and imperialistic ideology and culture. They are a source of instability, enmity and fear, and not just in the Middle East either. And they are being supported and bankrolled by Western allies in the Gulf. The world is a big place with many peoples and ways of thought, and many disagreements - but we nearly all of us seem able to find a way to coexist in this new globalised technological human civilisation. The jihadis are a barbarian throwback, a movement of violent primitivists. There is no place for jihadism in the future and they are a threat to everyone in the world.


    ID0020237 -> teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 09:01

    Insanity I believe, not madness, but what's the difference. The CIA may get it right, but after political interference and manipulation, they change their conclusions. We've seen this with the Iraq debacle and elsewhere. Just as political interference in military operations, Viet Nam for example, causes imminent failure, so it is with intelligence ignored.


    GeneralMittens 19 Sep 2015 09:01

    So basically America invades and bombs the shit out of everywhere and the europeans have to clean up the mess and deal with the resulting refugee crisis?

    At some point America should be held accountable for their actions in the middle east. Whether thats taking their fair share of refugees from syria or footing the bill for this clusterfuck.

    At the very least, other countries should stop enabling their warmongering.


    LittleGhost 19 Sep 2015 08:58

    US foreign policy in the ME proves Einstein's maxim

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    GreenRevolution 19 Sep 2015 08:57

    It has been 14 years since 911 and Bush's so called "war on terror". Not only barbaric wahabi terror has not been defeated it has grown its barbarism to magnitudes unimaginable previously. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been allowed to arm them to the teeth by the very states who claim to be waging "war on terror". Since Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are close allies of the west and one is a member of NATO, it follows that the west is in fact arming the wahabi terrorists who have turned the Middle East into a wasteland murdering and looting at will. Millions are now refugees, countries laid to waste and yet Mr Kerry and Hammond talk as if they have done such magnificent jobs and Russian involvement would only "complicate" things.


    teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 08:56

    I don't think they have the brightest people working in the CIA and the military in the USA. They are probably bullies, relics from the Cold War, jar-heads, devout 6000-year-old-world Christians, neocons and fruitcakes. Their policy is chaotic and consists of repeating the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results, which is, as we all know, the definition of madness.


    smifee 19 Sep 2015 08:52

    To be honest, I don't see any confusion.

    Obama comes across as a (comparatively) humane person, and I am sure that his personal preference would be for there to be no violence in the middle east. As President of the USA, however, he has to set aside his personal preferences and act in the wider interests of his country.

    The US set out to realign the political make up of the middle east. No doubt, they want to make sure Islam will never again be able attack US interests.

    Successive Administrations have controlled the funding and arming of various factions within the Middle East to ensure that Muslims kill each other and weaken social structures. The US will fill the ensuing political vacuum and economic waste-land with local leaders loyal to 'freedom, democracy and the American Way'. The next Administration will continue to stoke up the violence, and the one after, and the one after that until the US is satisfied it has achieved its objective.

    It seems almost all of us have to contain our personal views if we want to succeed in our place of work. Even the P of the USA.

    GoldMoney -> celloswiss 19 Sep 2015 08:51

    True, in a democracy, moderates don't need bombs and assault weapons.

    Consider this - how would you feel if foreign governments were arming and funding the IRA in Northern Ireland?

    What if foreign governments recognised the IRA as a legitimate opposition to the Belfast government and gave them bombs to take over the country?


    MichaelGuess 19 Sep 2015 08:46

    Who are the real terrorists, the group that bombs indiscriminately, the group that sells arms to both sides, the group that's lies to its "coalition" partners, the group that spies on all its friends, the group that is happy to be starting wars everywhere and then blame other parties for their lack of support.
    These are the real terrorists.

    MushyP8 19 Sep 2015 08:46

    ISIS/ISIL is a creation of the US in an attempt to remove Assad. The long-term goal being to isolate Iran before going in there for the natural resources.

    Assad won 89% of the vote in a 74% turnout, how many world leaders have 65% of the population supporting them, hence why Assad hasn't fallen. Naturally the US refuted this alongside its lapdogs, the EU and the UK, as it disproves all the propaganda they've been feeding the west. RT news did an interview with Assad which was very insightful.

    Putin seems to be the only one who's got his head screwed on in this situation, which is of course leading to hissy fits by the US because he's proving a stumbling block. More nations need to get behind Putin and Assad, although of course the US wont.

    GoldMoney DrDrug 19 Sep 2015 07:52

    Moderates do, when the simple act of protesting against the mutilation of children detained by the states secret police are met with a volley of snipers.

    No such evidence has been bought to the UN security council. Even the chemical attack that the media claimed from day one was Assad's forces doing turned out to be IS rebels actions. The two human rights groups operating in Syria are western funded NGO's - hardly a neutral point of view given the US's long stated aim of removing Assad (even before 2011).

    geedeesee 19 Sep 2015 07:25

    This $500 million from June 2014 was for recruiting Syrian rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad - not to fight iSIS.

    The White House said at the time:

    "This funding request would build on the administration's longstanding efforts to empower the moderate Syrian opposition, both civilian and armed, and will enable the Department of Defense to increase our support to vetted elements of the armed opposition."

    The White House statement specifically refers to the "Syrian opposition". That's the term we use to describe anti-government forces. This recruitment and training programme has gone awry because the people originally recruited would have been anti-Assad. Now the Obama administration has tried to change the same people to fighting to ISIS instead. No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck!

    kingcreosote 19 Sep 2015 07:12

    The CIA has probably been the greatest destabalising force in the world since the second world war and seem like more a subsidiary of the weapons trade than a government department.

    [Feb 04, 2019] Targeting Venezuela suggests a geopolitical shift away from the Middle East (and Israel) to countries that are less expensive to plunder yet with vast resources to be stolen. A telling sign in the slow deteriorating US Hegemony

    Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

    Rubicon 727 , says: February 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm GMT

    @Bill Instead of looking at this issue using a microscope, reading history about how Empires fall lends wisdom and insight. Arrighi's book, (I believe) is called "The Long Twentieth Century." He details how empires and huge trading giants rise and fall.

    He details the rise of Italy's banking system during the Middle Ages as well as Spain's Empire, the Dutch trading hegemonies and most enlightening how the British Empire rose and fell.

    We are seeing tell-tale symptoms of a US that's in trouble with a slow erosion of the US $$ hegemony. The financial growth of China has begun degrading the US market with hi-tech and other products. Thusly, you see Tim Cook of Apple apoplectic over China's Huwaii (sp?) flooding the European market with less expensive computers, cellulars, notebooks, etc.

    We see the practical nature of Exxon Mobile that views the short geographic distance between the US (its military) to Venezuela's oil and mineral-rich soil. An easy pick, rather than becoming further embroiled in the Middle East.

    Targeting Venezuela suggests a geopolitical shift away from the Middle East (and Israel) to countries that are less expensive to plunder yet with vast resources to be stolen. A telling sign in the slow deteriorating US Hegemony.

    [Feb 04, 2019] Anglo Zionists have been working this scheme to take Venezuela for many years

    Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

    Grace Poole , says: February 3, 2019 at 7:00 pm GMT

    Anglo Zionists have been working this scheme to take Venezuela for many years --

    The Chávez Plan to Steal Venezuela's Presidential Election: What Obama Should Do
    September 19, 2012
    Ray Walser

    Former Senior Policy Analyst
    Ray is the former Senior Policy Analyst

    Abstract: On October 7, 2012, Venezuela's Hugo Chávez will stand for re-election against opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. The Venezuelan presidential election matters to the U.S.: Venezuela is a major oil supplier to the U.S.; Chávez's anti-American worldview has led to alliances with Iran, Syria, and Cuba; and Chávez offers safe havens to FARC and Hezbollah. Chávez also works to weaken democratic governance throughout the Americas. Under the Obama Administration, the U.S. has offered no comprehensive strategy or policy for dealing with the man who continuously demonstrates his ruthlessness in implementing an anti-American, socialist, Bolivarian Revolution across the Americas, but there is still time for the U.S. to support democratic freedoms before the election. [becuz zio-bolshies luvs them their "democratic freedoms," and if that doesn't work, bump off Chavez. Cancer. Poor guy. Prolly caught it from Arafat.]. https://www.heritage.org/americas/report/the-chavez-plan-steal-venezuelas-presidential-election-what-obama-should-do

    Start Up Nation, Meet Start Up Retaliation
    https://www.unz.com/external/11-killed-in-pittsburgh-massacre-suspect-charged-with-29-counts/#comment-2599670

    [Feb 04, 2019] U.S. Coup Attempt as a classic example of gangster capitalism in action: we want your oil

    Small counties in LA are essentially defenseless against 300 pound gorilla -- the USA. And neoliberalism still can take revenge, as it recently did in Argentina and Brazil.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Agence France-Press ..."
    "... As monarchs were forced to realize, they served a function to society, in order to be served by it. It was a two way street. Now finance is having a, "Let them eat cake." moment, as they become more predator than organ of society. It is the heart telling the hands and feet they don't need so much blood and should work harder for what they do get. As well as telling the head it better go along, or else. ..."
    "... As this regime change process unfolds, it is difficult not to feel deep sadness for Venezuelans. Chavez failed to lift the poor into a permanent middle class, Maduro failed to protect the accomplishments that had been achieved, and now, the state seems unprepared to cope with what was inevitable. ..."
    "... It's a tragic moment in Latin American history. Though Maduro has some backing from the four most Resistant of all Resistors, Russian, China, Cuba and Iran, the nation's geography is too distant for them to flex their full restraint. The lesson of Nicaragua in the 80's should have been learned. ..."
    "... "The wealthy few have declared war on the many poor. They should not be allowed to lose their bet and maintain their stakes. The world doesn't work that way. " Unfortunately Bevin I think that is exactly how the world works. The real never ending war is between the haves and have nots. ..."
    "... I'm a bit more pessimistic. Washington seems united on getting rid of Maduro and installing a friendly regime. While Maduro can hang in there for awhile, the economic sanctions and covert operations (including sabotage, killings, bribery etc.) will cause severe problems for the government. Maduro is not Assad and lacks friendly neighbors--in fact, Latin America has pretty much returned to direct Washington rule. ..."
    "... Like with the attacks on Syria, Trump becomes presidential when he attacks the likes of Iran and Venezuela. ..."
    "... I wonder how many of the pro-USA protesters, willing to take the US coin to protest on the street, are also willing to take the US coin to die on the street. ..."
    "... A U.S. military incursion could have significant unintended consequences, "including a deterioration of our relationship with currently supportive countries in the region." -- Gustavo Arnavat, a former Obama administration official and a senior advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. ..."
    "... I don't justify intervention anywhere (except in D.C. where the Tyranny and Hegemon resides). I point to missed opportunities, failures, corruption and not taking advice from your closest friends (China, Russia, Cuba). If they had brought in the Chinese petroleum experts and Russian economic experts, much of the disaster would have been avoided. When you have a huge enemy and you are weak and relatively small, you need help. Maduro waited until too late. ..."
    "... Self-evidently all the governments which have followed the US are not only agreeing but are acting in compliance with a pre-set US timetable. They all waited for the US to give the signal, then like synchronized swimmers performed according to choreography pre-determined by the US. ..."
    "... Maduro to his navy --- "Today the future of Venezuela is decided: if it becomes one more star of the United States flag or if it will continue to fly its eight tricolor stars," said the president. ..."
    "... As usual, the AZ regime change machine is mightily backed up by billions of puff dollars (printed out of thin air), but among the puppets, the tie-eating Saakashvili is Optimus Prime compared with the Murky Guy's leadership. ..."
    "... Ha, how 40 tons of the "barbaric relic" which disappeared from Ukraine after a similar "revolution" got to be mentioned also in relation to Venezuela. ..."
    "... Well, the headline of this post is kinda problematic now ("U.S. Coup Attempt In Venezuela Lacks International Support"). I think it was problematic from the start, b, because 1) several countries had already joined with USA; 2) Europe's falling in line was never really in doubt. Note: The EU poodles have toed the line on Russia, Iran*, and now Venezuela. ..."
    "... Instead, Guaido called for further "pressure", which is at this point limited to a further tightening of the economic isolation of the country. Canada seems to have anticipated this position by announcing a $53 million aid package which will be focussed on assisting current and future "refugees" headed to Columbia and Brazil. ..."
    "... Hugo Chavez has repatriated most of Venezeulan gold whilst still alive. This is how the CIA and the Venezuelan Central Bank could invent the story that a part of this gold is being sent to Russia by Maduro. The 41 ton of Venezuelan gold still remain in Bank of England was a necessary collateral for buying naphtha (for pre-processing oil for export) and subsidised food for the Venezurlan population. ..."
    Feb 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

    U.S. Coup Attempt In Venezuela Lacks International Support Zanon , Feb 3, 2019 12:44:33 PM | link

    There is little doubt where 'western' media stand with regards to the U.S. led coup-attempt (vid) in Venezuela. But their view does not reflect the overwhelming international recognition the Venezuelan government under President Nicolás Maduro continues to have.

    The Rothschild family's house organ, the Economist , changed the background of its Twitter account to a picture of the Random Dude™, Juan Guaidó, who the U.S. regime changers created to run the country.


    bigger

    The tweet is quite revealing:

    The Economist @TheEconomist - 23:59 utc- 31 Jan 2019

    Juan Guaidó and Donald Trump are betting that sanctions will topple the regime before they starve the Venezuelan people econ.st/2DMOeEk

    It is quite obvious that Trump's Illegal Regime Change Operation Will Kill More Venezuelans . The Economist supports that starvation strategy.

    The supposedly neutral news agencies are no better than the arch-neoliberal Economist . The Reuters ' Latin America office also changed its header picture to Random Dude. It reverted that after being called out.

    Agence France-Press stated at 11:10 utc yesterday that "tens of thousands" would join a rally.

    Cont. reading: U.S. Coup Attempt In Venezuela Lacks International Support "Lacks international support" unfortunately doesnt matter much. Regardless, even if a majority of nations backed the coup doesnt mean its right. Also remember Ukraine coup, majority didnt support that - but it didnt matter.


    psychohistorian , Feb 3, 2019 12:49:01 PM | link

    Thanks for the reporting b

    Empire is testing the waters of support by its DazzleSpeak about the spinning plate of Venezuela. I hope it is learning that much of the world no longer wants to live in a world motivated by fear.

    Threat of US global default on Reserve Currency is coming soon because empire is out of ammunition to maintain and extend supremacy. It will be interesting to see what the fall back status will be and how maintained....the last thralls of Might-Makes-Right.....one would hope.

    PavewayIV , Feb 3, 2019 12:51:55 PM | link
    Then there's that 'gold' thing.

    The Bank of England should be holding closer to 30 tonnes of Venezuela's gold, not the 14 tonnes they're holding from Marudo under U.S. orders. The Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) just closed a huge gold swap with someone and now should have a total of maybe 2500 gold bars in the BoE dungeons with their original serial numbers and weights. Custodians of gold like this can't melt it down and make new bars - that's why state depositors stamp all of them with serial numbers and precise weights. They want to be sure THEIR gold is there and THEIR gold is returned.

    The news isn't the U.S. demand that it won't be returned. The real news is that neither the BCV nor the BoE will show anyone the original or current gold bar inventory list. Usually, nobody cares. But with the U.S. and BoE chosing a new, rightful owner (Random Guy), they should at the very least provide the inventory list.

    It shouldn't be a secret - there is absolutely no security risk. The gold belongs to the (starving) people of Venezuela. Or at least it did. What are the BoE and Rothschild BCV hiding? Did they melt it down or sell it to someone else?

    John Merryman , Feb 3, 2019 12:54:53 PM | link
    I think the deeper conceptual issues need to be considered, that would place the political and social situations going on around the world, from France, to Venezuela, in perspective.

    That money is the social contract enabling mass societies to function, not a commodity to be mined from society and stored as government debt, to finance militaries, as well as making the entire economy subservient to the gambling addictions of Wall St.

    Humanity went through s similar evolutionary process, when monarchies, as private, hereditary governments, reached the limits of their effectiveness. As the executive and regulatory function, government is the central nervous system of society, while finance is its circulation mechanism, basically the head and heart.

    As monarchs were forced to realize, they served a function to society, in order to be served by it. It was a two way street. Now finance is having a, "Let them eat cake." moment, as they become more predator than organ of society. It is the heart telling the hands and feet they don't need so much blood and should work harder for what they do get. As well as telling the head it better go along, or else.

    As it is now, all this government debt is setting the world up for predatory lending/disaster capitalism, when the governments cannot run up more debt and those holding the old debt start trading it for more public properties, from mineral rights to roads.

    Sasha , Feb 3, 2019 1:09:43 PM | link
    @b,

    After watching the whole central meeting in Bolívar Avenue, Caracas,live broadcasted by RTSpanish, which extended for several hours, in which were projected images of other regions´meetings as well, and after watching live too, broadcasted by the same channel, the pro-Random Dude meeting only in that rich neighborhood, which extended for about half an hour and dispersed itslef very fast, I would calculate the numbers at both meetings just in reverse as you have done.

    I would say 200-300 thousands for Maduro´s supporters ( and i would say I get it short..) and 20-30 thousands ( in the best case )for the Random Dude....

    I notice that that photo you are basing your estimations on corresponds only to the front of the square where the tribune for speechers of the pro-Maduro rallie was placed, but other people has showed the whole Bolívar Avenue ( the longest and largest in Caracas ) full of pro-Maduro people as long as the sight can catch ....See for example, Abby Martin´s capture:

    https://twitter.com/AbbyMartin/status/1091836605847851008

    To this numbers, you should add all those collected in the regions...I would say in the hundreds of thousands....

    Taffyboy , Feb 3, 2019 1:14:11 PM | link
    A very good supporting read after this.

    https://www.stalkerzone.org/the-state-of-affairs-in-venezuela-what-the-media-doesnt-write-about/

    Thank you.

    Blooming Barricade , Feb 3, 2019 1:31:10 PM | link
    The European Parliament voted on the Venezuela issue a few days ago, and naturally, the centre-right wing European People's Party (Merkel, Tusk), the Liberals (Macron), and most of the so-called Socialists voted to recognise the US coup minion as president. The European United Left and most of the Greens along with the far-right wing voted against this, which just shows you that the so-called liberal democrats are bought and paid for employees of US/NATO multinational imperialism.
    Enrico Malatesta , Feb 3, 2019 1:33:29 PM | link
    With the "Electoral College" method determining winners not in current favor, perhaps the US MSM may wish to state that by world population, Maduro beats Guaidó by a factor of at least 4 to 1 in public opinion.
    james , Feb 3, 2019 1:39:37 PM | link
    thanks b... it is interesting @5 sashas comments if they can be verified..

    @3paveway - it is much as @4 john merryman says, with the additional note that the boe are essentially stealing venezualas gold in a might makes right type of undemocratic and undignified way.. i always thought the federal reserve was an extension of the boe... both of them are privately run, with some minor face saving image that they belong to the respective gov'ts.. they don't... they are controlled and run by the 1% that are quite okay starving off venezuala, or going to the next step - military intervention.. they are one sick group of predators only focused on the god of mammon.. we have to figure out a way to get rid of them before they completely destroy the planet..

    vk , Feb 3, 2019 1:48:03 PM | link
    Italy's argument against the European recognition of Guaidó is emblematic:

    Italy warns against 'another Libya' if Venezuela is attacked

    CE , Feb 3, 2019 2:10:15 PM | link
    "Random Dude" is not bad but I think "Chicago Boy" is more useful as it gives clueless people a useful googling opportunity.
    Cyril , Feb 3, 2019 2:34:51 PM | link
    @denk | Feb 3, 2019 1:06:50 PM | 272

    Other than Russia../China/Iran....practically the entire world is under uncle sham's thumb now.
    The outlook is very depressing indeed.

    Don't worry, China has an enormous amount of leverage:

    " Boeing predicts China will need more than 7,200 new aircraft worth over $1 trillion in the 20 years through 2036."

    Trump slaps some tariffs, here and there, on a few billion dollars of China's products. But this is trivial compared to what China can do to Boeing, if Trump really annoys Xi. And Boeing is just of many US companies that the Chinese can retaliate against.

    Don Bacon , Feb 3, 2019 3:06:56 PM | link
    @ DougDiggler | Feb 3, 2019 2:09:22 PM | 12

    Why does Maduro allow Guaido to remain at large?

    Juan Guaido enjoys legislative immunity to arrest but Venezuela's Supreme Court barred him from leaving the country, and the court also approved a request that all of Guaido's financial assets be frozen.

    As we have seen he's rather harmless, without any real power in the country, and so the longer he's free and obviously ineffective the better. Plus it enables Maduro to appear reasonable and unafraid of the young man.

    bevin , Feb 3, 2019 4:24:40 PM | link
    The 800 lb elephant in the room here is the reality of class struggle in Caracas. Those backing the imperialists seem to constitute the majority of Venezuela's small elite of rich people. Despite their complaints, continual sabotage of the economy and outright treason in their collaboration with its enemies they have been allowed to hold onto their ill gotten, and inherited, wealth.

    How long is that likely to last?

    On the other side of the divide are millions of poor people, their livelihoods and their democracy at risk. Many of them are having difficulty finding food to feed their families- the deliberate result of sanctions supported by the wealthy, and the light skinned. Many are finding it impossible to find the medicines their sick people desperately need.

    If Venezuela is to maintain its independence it will do so because the poor refuse to give it up. Their rewards and the means of rebuilding the economy lie in the wealth of the rich.

    The wealthy few have declared war on the many poor. They should not be allowed to lose their bet and maintain their stakes. The world doesn't work that way.

    Red Ryder , Feb 3, 2019 5:02:29 PM | link
    As this regime change process unfolds, it is difficult not to feel deep sadness for Venezuelans. Chavez failed to lift the poor into a permanent middle class, Maduro failed to protect the accomplishments that had been achieved, and now, the state seems unprepared to cope with what was inevitable.

    To assume that the Hegemon would keep its hands off the nation, return the gold, leave the assets in the US untouched, not use the neighboring countries to mount an insurgency, seems naive at best. The lessons learned from Cuba's 60 year fight for dignity taught the regime nothing.

    Watching the tear down of Brazil's socialist leadership (two of them) taught the regime nothing. Stupidity atop corruption atop a blind belief in an ideology that destroyed the wealth of the nation (or at least crippled it) has led to the moment of truth. Will enough poor people and some middle class defend the sovereignty of the nation? And will the military leadership and rank and file remain patriots?

    It's a tragic moment in Latin American history. Though Maduro has some backing from the four most Resistant of all Resistors, Russian, China, Cuba and Iran, the nation's geography is too distant for them to flex their full restraint. The lesson of Nicaragua in the 80's should have been learned.

    Now he faces invasion of convoys of aid on three borders. He must control his borders. The odds are very long he can.

    frances , Feb 3, 2019 5:12:50 PM | link
    quote from www.stalkerzone.org

    I am not sure if anyone has posted about this, my apologies if it is redundant. I was wondering where our Random Dude was now located and what he was up to:

    "For the role of President they chose a "poster boy" who doesn't represent anything and who shouted out something at a meeting with 30,000-40,000 protesters, and after this he immediately ran to the Embassy of Colombia, where he still sits to this day.

    This boy refuses any contact with the authorities. But since you are being informed by "different media agencies" and certain authors on "Aftershock" – he communicated with army Generals on twitter however the Generals are unaware of this but he communicated "in secret". Or he appointed a certain official from among the immigrants in the US also on twitter "

    jayc , Feb 3, 2019 5:37:59 PM | link
    Red Ryder #30

    Your analysis of the economic problems is too harsh directed at Chavez/Marduro and their "ideology". Nafeez Ahmed's piece in Medium, which has been shared on this forum, does a much better job describing the perfect storm of coinciding events which have combined to sink Venezuela's economy. Short of two or three of these events, and the situation could be bad but not as terrible as it is.

    The programs instituted by the government over the past twenty years remain extremely popular, as was acknowledged yesterday when Guaido made a vague promise of government "subsidies" to those in need.

    The aid caravans will be entirely symbolic, and offer little to nothing to a population of over 30 million people. The sponsors of the aid caravans are also the same people who have placed harsh economic sanctions on the country, a fact which will not be lost.

    arby , Feb 3, 2019 6:01:07 PM | link
    Bevin @ 28

    "The wealthy few have declared war on the many poor. They should not be allowed to lose their bet and maintain their stakes. The world doesn't work that way. " Unfortunately Bevin I think that is exactly how the world works. The real never ending war is between the haves and have nots.

    mrtmbrnmn , Feb 3, 2019 6:01:53 PM | link
    Why don't the coup mongers name Hillary president of Venezuela. The biggest sore loser of all time is currently "resting", as they say of out-of-work actors, and desperately wants to be president of SOMETHING. Not being a native Venezuelan should be no drawback in her case. She would simply trade her old Cubs/Yankees hat for a big V and probably discover some Venezuelan great-great-grandmother hanging on her family tree. The coup mongers' current choice, the sock puppet "Guido" Guadio, is about as legit as a Confederate nickel. And coups are by definition NOT legit. So haul out those unused "I'm With Her" signs and ship them down there. In the meantime, she can head for the Venezuelan Embassy and hole up there (a la Julian Assange?) while awaiting the moment to parachute into Caracas. Mission Accomplished!
    Don Bacon , Feb 3, 2019 6:05:51 PM | link
    Let's remember that the US position is that Guaido is only the interim president of a transitional government, which suggests that (1) the US has its real choice under cover in Miami somewhere, possibly a Rubio house guest, or (more likely) (2) the US really doesn't have a clue about what to do next. Hey, humanitarian aid, that's a good regime change strategy (??).

    Meanwhile they can demonstrate all they want, it never accomplishes anything (MLK attendance the exception).

    Chris Cosmos , Feb 3, 2019 6:06:00 PM | link
    I'm a bit more pessimistic. Washington seems united on getting rid of Maduro and installing a friendly regime. While Maduro can hang in there for awhile, the economic sanctions and covert operations (including sabotage, killings, bribery etc.) will cause severe problems for the government. Maduro is not Assad and lacks friendly neighbors--in fact, Latin America has pretty much returned to direct Washington rule.
    Peter AU 1 , Feb 3, 2019 6:38:35 PM | link
    Don Bacon 37

    I suspect the Trump admin does have a plan for Venezuela and will push it through no matter what anybody thinks. Trump's opinion of the bobbling heads or trained seal lot that call themselves heads of state is about the same as he showed the Iraqi's when visiting the US base in Iraq.

    Trumps plans will only be stopped by the likes of Russia, China, Iran ect. No matter how outlandish the claims of the lies of Bolton or himself are, MSM seems to take it up with all seriousness.

    Like with the attacks on Syria, Trump becomes presidential when he attacks the likes of Iran and Venezuela.

    arby , Feb 3, 2019 6:39:05 PM | link
    Don @ 37
    I think this is the guy they would like to install--

    Leopoldo Lopez

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopoldo_L%C3%B3pez

    rem , Feb 3, 2019 6:43:13 PM | link
    USAMO . Same Old. First, engineer sanctions through compliant UN, then squeeeeze the population until they understand the changing electoral requirements and their howl reaches pitch

    -in the meantime picking a favourite pony to front the 'peoples will' regime change op; training him/her up in latest provocateur methodology and introducing them to their master racketeers back in DC

    then,

    with malevolent mercenary gangs helping stirring street protest offer emergency security assistance and food AID thru sanctified UN allowing your chosen one to ride the front of the food wagon, saving the day.

    Democracy, Yankee Doodle Dandy style.

    Scotch Bingeington , Feb 3, 2019 7:16:18 PM | link
    jayc | 33

    "The aid caravans will be entirely symbolic, and offer little to nothing to a population of over 30 million people." Yes, and also those of the 30 million who support the Anti-Maduro movement are probably not in need of basic foodstuffs, but will want their iPhone and their Netflix account.

    Don Bacon , Feb 3, 2019 7:44:57 PM | link
    @ arby | Feb 3, 2019 6:39:05 PM | 40

    I think this is the guy they would like to install--Leopoldo Lopez
    Yes, good chance of that, if they could work it somehow (unlikely) and it would tie into Guaido's reference to Feb 12.

    wiki--During the crisis in Bolivarian Venezuela, Leopoldo Lopez called for protests in February 2014. López, a leading figure in the opposition to the government, began to lead protests. . .He was arrested on 18 February 2014 and charged with arson and conspiracy; murder and terrorism charges were dropped. Human rights groups expressed concern that the charges were politically motivated. . .Leopoldo López, a leading figure in the opposition to the government, began to lead protests.. .

    In September 2015, he was found guilty of public incitement to violence through supposed subliminal messages, being involved with criminal association, and was sentenced to 13 years and 9 months in prison. He was later transferred to house arrest on 8 July 2017 after being imprisoned for over three years.

    Don Bacon , Feb 3, 2019 7:51:43 PM | link
    mismanagement? A liter of 91-octane gasoline currently costs 1 bolivar, so for a dollar one can get 3 million liters. . here
    Don Bacon , Feb 3, 2019 7:59:52 PM | link
    re: Trump's state of the union speech Tuesday night.
    on VZ-- from WaPo Trump will
    "... actively intervene in the political upheaval in Venezuela, aides said in previewing the speech Friday." here
    aspnaz , Feb 3, 2019 8:07:22 PM | link
    I wonder how many of the pro-USA protesters, willing to take the US coin to protest on the street, are also willing to take the US coin to die on the street.

    I suspect these protests are paper thin at best, the poor are unlikely to support the rich without financial inducement, but the one thing the coup organisers have is plenty of money. If these are indeed poor people protesting (who knows) then it would be interesting to know what quantity of cash was offered to the participants. Maybe 30 USD for half a day of protesting? Decent money for the protesters, easily affordable to the USA.

    Peter AU 1 , Feb 3, 2019 8:14:35 PM | link
    Red Ryder

    A countries domestic issues need to be kept separate from US attacks on a country. US is not attacking Venezuela for humanitarian reasons. This is aside from the fact as Jen pointed out, that Venezuela's economy has been under attack from the US for some time.
    The expectations that a country that is under US attack should have a leader that is far above average in terms of ability to withstand the economic attack of a superpower with perfect, far seeing decisions is unreasonable. People lie that are rare and only occurred occasionally in history.

    What does matter is that the Maduro government is doing the best it can for its people, rather than working in the interests of a foreign power to the detriment of its people.

    As for a better leader - one that will resist the US and provide a better economy for Venezuela while under US sustained attack....

    PavewayIV , Feb 3, 2019 8:33:23 PM | link
    Bart Hansen@20 - Oil production costs are complex, secret and mostly lies. With that caveat, Venezuela was thought to have about $10 - $15 production costs on average. That includes their light and medium crude, and zero investment in repair of their distribution networks.

    Well over half of Venezuela's reserves are Orinco extra-heavy, sour crude. Essentially tar sands, but buried 500m - 1500m deep that require solvent or steam extraction. So (guess) maybe $30-range/bbl for production. Those tar sand oils produced are so heavy that they need pre-processing and dilution before they can be refined or exported. Naphtha or other refined products are used as dilutent and cost maybe $55/bbl today, but were around $75/bbl last October.

    U.S. refineries were pretty much the only ones paying cash for their 500,000 b/d of Venezuelan crude. Trump's sanctions not only ban those imports, but also ban the 120,000 b/d of naphtha and other dilutents we sold them.

    Interesting to note that part of Trump's beat-down of the Venezuela little people is a ban on the 120,000 b/d of dilutent last week. That will completely shut down their exports. They could find another source of naphtha, but that source will be looking for $6.6 million a day hard cash for it.

    Maduro needs to sell Venezuela's gold to buy naphtha to export oil for ANY revenue. The $2.5 billion the Bank of England can't find and won't deliver is meant to hasten the food riots and CIA-orchestrated coup. But Mercy Corps is setting up concentration camps on the Colombian border and we're delivering food aid, so the U.S. is really the hero, here. God bless America! Obey, or die.

    Don Bacon , Feb 3, 2019 8:58:19 PM | link
    @ Peter AU 1 | Feb 3, 2019 8:14:35 PM | 48

    expectations that a country that is under US attack should have a leader that is far above average

    I appreciate your discussion of leaders, but let's not forget the people. It has been the goal of the US to demonize leaders and go after them. Ho Chi Minh, Saddam Hussein, Bashar Assad, Osama Binh Laden etc. etc.

    But it's the people not the leaders that have formed the most resistance. It took the US Army little time to track down big bad Saddam Hussein, but Baghdad wasn't pacified (controlled) for four years, and people elsewhere in Iraq fought the "liberators" like the very devil.

    Apply that to Venezuela. Heck, you and me, we'd all respond the same way given a foreign invasion, right?

    There are some warnings about avoiding dialogue and pushing a Venezuelan military option. The opposition's courting of military officers carries potential dangers. If it leads to a schism in the armed forces, that could be disastrous for the country, said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington policy anti-VZ forum.

    A U.S. military incursion could have significant unintended consequences, "including a deterioration of our relationship with currently supportive countries in the region." -- Gustavo Arnavat, a former Obama administration official and a senior advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    Juan Guaido hopes that the United States will not use force in Venezuela, instead limiting pressure on Maduro's government to diplomatic and economic measures, the Colombian newspaper Tiempo reported Monday. . . here

    Jackrabbit , Feb 3, 2019 9:16:38 PM | link
    Don Bacon:
    on VZ-- from WaPo Trump will "... actively intervene in the political upheaval in Venezuela ..."
    Trump interventionism (humanitarian and otherwise) is now well-established. As is his preference for the swamp. #winning
    Jen , Feb 3, 2019 10:37:30 PM | link
    Red Ryder @ 30, Peter AU 1 @ 48:

    If corruption or mismanaging a country's economy were justification for foreign intervention to remove a leader, Israelis should be lobbying Washington DC to remove Binyamin Netanyahu as their prime minister since he and his wife Sara have been charged by police for fraud and bribery.

    Indeed, depending on how it defines corruption, whether vaguely or narrowly, and on what criteria, the US would have its work cut out for decades hunting down "corrupt" politicians.

    mpn , Feb 3, 2019 11:32:07 PM | link
    If I'm not mistaken the front page of the Washington Post, today showed a picture of a large pro-government protest, and claimed that it was an opposition protest.
    frances , Feb 3, 2019 11:42:46 PM | link
    This will be something to watch and may be part of the answer to why now, why did the US go after Venezula at this point. I think it is because Venezuela was historically captive to US refineries, but no longer. India is capable of refining Venezuela oil and has a significant demand for it. If India decides to do ignore the sanctions, I wonder if the US will impound tankers going to India?

    timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/how-one-of-venezuelas-last-oil-buyers-may-react-to-sanctions/articleshow/67753961.cms

    And tankers to China as China is building a refinery just for Venezula oil, it isn't scheduled to come online until 2020, but perhaps China will push to make it happen asap?

    www.ogj.com/articles/2017/06/venezuela-china-advance-plans-for-chinese-refinery.html

    Miss Lacy , Feb 3, 2019 11:56:53 PM | link
    to Paveway lV and Bart Hansen. It doesn't really matter the breakeven point for Venezuelan oil if they can't access the money. I just read (15 minutes ago) on Seeking Alpha, that Trump et al is blocking payments for Venezuelan oil. He is trying to force the payments into a blocked account such that Maduro's gov cannot access it but Guido can. There are still refineries in the US which need Venezuelan heavy crude to blend w/ the frack=crap. Volero is stated to have two tankers which it cannot unload due to the payments issue. This is an unusual way to provide "humanitarian aid."

    Sorry I cannot give a link - the Seeking Alpha site seems to be done.

    Re the Indian refineries, I believe they are currently buying Iranian oil so they may resist sanctions against Venezuela. However, according to Paeway lV, without naphtha Venezuela cannot pump oil. Maybe a swap with someone?

    Paveway it's nice to see your byline again.

    Cyril , Feb 4, 2019 12:24:35 AM | link
    @jayc | Feb 3, 2019 5:37:59 PM | 33

    The aid caravans will be entirely symbolic, and offer little to nothing to a population of over 30 million people.

    I agree, Guaido's aid caravans will probably be something like 5% humanitarian and 95% for smuggling arms into Venezuela.

    However, China has the largest container ships in the world. Just one visit from a vessel like the COSCO Shipping Universe could deliver more than 20,000 truckloads of stuff, which would probably dwarf anything Guano is envisaging (even if his "humanitarian" caravans were totally legitimate).

    Would the Empire let it happen? I have little doubt that Bolton's sick enough to want to stop a true humanitarian effort, but as I'm not as sick as Bolton is (at least I hope so), I have a hard time imagining what excuse he could use to stop it -- especially after Guano's caravans.

    Red Ryder , Feb 4, 2019 1:34:58 AM | link
    @56, Jen,

    I don't justify intervention anywhere (except in D.C. where the Tyranny and Hegemon resides). I point to missed opportunities, failures, corruption and not taking advice from your closest friends (China, Russia, Cuba). If they had brought in the Chinese petroleum experts and Russian economic experts, much of the disaster would have been avoided. When you have a huge enemy and you are weak and relatively small, you need help. Maduro waited until too late.

    There were many object lessons for better practices and better preparation for the inevitable. Now, we can hope and pray that the Venezuelan people demonstrate their own will to resist against intervention and regime change. Because if it comes, their wealth will be stolen completely.

    Russ , Feb 4, 2019 3:18:37 AM | link
    A sane government which really wanted the best for the people would've launched a crash program to break free of the oil dependency which not only guarantees one remains at best a US-colonized power, but which requires the physical destruction of one's own land and the basis of one's future life.

    I'm not just saying this about Venezuela, although destroying the Orinoco rain forest necessary for our very lives in order to extract heavy oil is perhaps the most extreme example on Earth of the self-destroying paradigm.

    But any country afflicted with the oil curse ought to treat the deposits like very hot radioactive waste and enforce at all costs a Chernobyl-type non-go zone. This also would conserve critical ecological zones like the Amazon. If enough places did that simultaneously it would prevent the US from "opening them up" by force and accelerate the collapse of the empire and its globalization system. But any place which doesn't do this automatically becomes a de facto colony and a target for aggression intended to turn them into a de jure colony, as we see in this case.

    From the evidence it seems that in the end a thing like Bolivarianism isn't offering any real alternative to the US paradigm. Both equally want to burn every last fossil BTU's worth, pump every last CO2 molecule, hack down and burn every last acre of forest. Both are on the same mass murder-suicide ride.

    Do the Venezulean people really want a better life than this? The American people sure seem to want the worst.

    Jen , Feb 4, 2019 5:44:26 AM | link
    Red Ryder @ 61:

    It's my understanding that when Chavez was President, he did bring Chinese and Vietnamese agriculture experts to Venezuela to study the country's potential for growing food staples. The Vietnamese experts identified areas which originally had been considered by their former wealthy owners as unproductive but which turned out to be ideal for growing rice.

    "Venezuela Uses Recovered Land to Plant Rice with Vietnamese Assistance" (May 15, 2009)
    https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/4449

    "China interested in developing agriculture in Venezuela's 30 million hectares of land" (July 23, 2013)
    http://en.mercopress.com/2013/07/23/china-interested-in-developing-agriculture-in-venezuela-s-30-million-hectares-of-land

    Although Venezuela imports huge quantities of wheat from Russia, it's doubtful that Russians can give much agricultural advice as Venezuela lies in the tropics and Russia does not.

    On the other hand, the way the Venezuelan government appears to be dealing with Juan Guaido, allowing him to shout in the wilderness and making himself look a fool, seems similar to the way Russia treats Alexei Navalny, letting him make an idiot of himself, and might suggest that Venezuela is taking advice from or copying Russia in this respect. Russia also sold two S300 anti-missile defence systems to Venezuela though I do not know how often the Venezuelans maintain them.

    John Merryman , Feb 4, 2019 6:20:29 AM | link
    Bevin,

    Thanks for the correction. I tend to skim history. I think the point still stands, that politicians can't be left in control of the money supply. The impulse to abuse it is strong

    Yonatan , Feb 4, 2019 7:09:51 AM | link
    The Maduro demo seems to have taken place on the Avenue Bolivar which is about 20 meters wide and about 1.25 km long. The demo crowd appears to be packed so there could be 50 to 80 thousand people there. I haven't been able to locate the Guiado demo but it is possibly in the upscale Las Mercedas district not far from the US Embassy. The photos of the Guiado are generally close in and from a low angle which tends to exagerate the numbers. Even so, it does not appear to be as densely packed / extensive as the Maduro event.
    Zanon , Feb 4, 2019 7:32:25 AM | link
    More disgraceful news: Major EU nations recognize Guaido as Venezuela's acting president
    Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Germany's coordinated move came after the expiry of an eight-day deadline set last weekend for Maduro to call a new election. Austria and Lithuania also lined up behind the self-declared interim president Guaido.
    http://www.arabnews.com/node/1446761/world

    Maduro should kick each european nation out, NOW! He cannot wait any longer.

    Russ , Feb 4, 2019 7:58:41 AM | link
    Re Zanon 67

    Self-evidently all the governments which have followed the US are not only agreeing but are acting in compliance with a pre-set US timetable. They all waited for the US to give the signal, then like synchronized swimmers performed according to choreography pre-determined by the US.

    These European governments already were illegitimate in that they had surrendered sovereignty to the EU. Now they're doubly illegitimate in that they've openly exposed themselves as nothing but extensions of US policy. These are puppet governments.

    So I'm not just joking when I say that any truly radical parties in Europe, "right" or "left", should declare these fake national governments illegitimate and set up their own shadow presidencies/premierships and governments.

    arby , Feb 4, 2019 8:14:38 AM | link
    Maduro to his navy --- "Today the future of Venezuela is decided: if it becomes one more star of the United States flag or if it will continue to fly its eight tricolor stars," said the president.

    "You saw the failed coup plotters yesterday ... with the gringo flag behind them. They no longer hide, they no longer hide their identity. They no longer hide what they have inside, they want to deliver our country, in pieces, to the gringo empire and the local oligarchies."

    https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Nicolas-Maduro-Visits-Navy-Gives-Message-of-Unity-And-Strength-20190203-0012.html

    arby , Feb 4, 2019 8:22:54 AM | link
    Haiti is one of the countries that recognize Guano as president of Venezuela---

    "Haiti's economy is reeling as unemployment & hunger is on the rise due to corruption & mismanagement under #PHTK ruling party. On Jan. 31 many businesses shuttered in many parts of the country as exchange rate of HT Gourd to US Dollar reached highest inflation yet.

    Zanon , Feb 4, 2019 9:30:26 AM | link
    Russ

    Exactly. They are US puppets. Most obviously what we see is the most obvious top puppets in the EU; nordic, western europe and the baltics. The meddling is apparent, still the corrupt EU/US governments keep on with their aggression:

    Russia: European recognition of Guaido foreign meddling in Venezuela
    https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/02/04/587639/Venezuela-Russia-crisis-Juan-Guaido

    Clueless Joe , Feb 4, 2019 9:34:16 AM | link
    Russ: "So I'm not just joking when I say that any truly radical parties in Europe, "right" or "left", should declare these fake national governments illegitimate and set up their own shadow presidencies/premierships and governments."

    This, so totally this, so absolutely and definitively this. All these governments should be discarded and sued for breaching international norms. Spain is specially ridiculous. Isn't Sanchez supposed to be "left", and not liberal scum?

    Kiza , Feb 4, 2019 9:42:22 AM | link
    I would not call the puppet character a Random Guy because he was clearly groomed for the role over a number of years. Yet, he is obviously not a very capable guy because his claim to fame is, for example, stringing a metal wire across the road to kill random motorbike riders in a poor part of Caracas. Selection of such an untalented Murky Guy is another sign of the desperation of the AngloZionist empire to grab resources after the Syrian debacle.

    As usual, the AZ regime change machine is mightily backed up by billions of puff dollars (printed out of thin air), but among the puppets, the tie-eating Saakashvili is Optimus Prime compared with the Murky Guy's leadership.

    Ha, how 40 tons of the "barbaric relic" which disappeared from Ukraine after a similar "revolution" got to be mentioned also in relation to Venezuela. And nobody even remembers what happened to all the Ghadaffi's gold. You do not really think that hippo's Wooden Puppet Guido (lol) will ever get to even touch this banksters' secret favorite? It will just disappear into the Atlantic Ocean on the way to Guido. Just as carpenter Mastro Geppetto carved his Pinocchio out of block of wood, so did the hippo carve his Guido out of another block of rotting wood. This is why only the Italians, of all Europeans, could see through the mischievous acts of the long-nosed Guido and his puppet master.

    Don Bacon , Feb 4, 2019 10:05:08 AM | link
    Yesterday I linked to an AP article here on Charge d' Affaires James "Jimmy" Story who manages the US embassy in Caracas. In the article was: "Chief among his interlocutors is Rafael Lacava, governor of the central state of Carobobo, who presented him with a painting of two joined fists in the colours of the U.S. and Venezuelan flags that now hangs in the entrance to Story's official residence in Caracas."

    So I looked up Rafael Lacava's twitter here which includes some glimpses of local life in the small state of Carabobo just west of Caracas. Carabobo State was the site of the Battle of Carabobo on 24 June 1821, a decisive win in the war of independence from Spain, and was led by Simón Bolívar. The capital city of this state is Valencia, which is also the country's main industrial center.
    The tweets include some from Nicolas Maduro, including warnings that Trump wants another Vietnam in Venezuela.

    Don Bacon , Feb 4, 2019 10:19:38 AM | link
    Here's Guaido's twitter with the statements from European lackeys who fell under the US spell.
    Virgile , Feb 4, 2019 10:33:48 AM | link
    Russia has no choice than to boost the military to stand with Maduro. That may bring violence including possibly the physical elimination of Guaido. That may trigger the West to intervene militarily like in Libya without a UNSC approval. That would rally the Venezualians around Maduro and the army.

    As the american ( except the neocons) are against a war at their borders, Trump will have to find a compromise. Ultimately the Russians may push for a military takeover once they identified a military leader. Trump will have to accept that if he does not want to invade Venezuela

    james , Feb 4, 2019 11:13:55 AM | link
    @76 kiza.. thanks.. that about sums it up..
    Jackrabbit , Feb 4, 2019 11:32:11 AM | link
    Well, the headline of this post is kinda problematic now ("U.S. Coup Attempt In Venezuela Lacks International Support"). I think it was problematic from the start, b, because 1) several countries had already joined with USA; 2) Europe's falling in line was never really in doubt. Note: The EU poodles have toed the line on Russia, Iran*, and now Venezuela.

    =
    * EU countries pretend to support JCPOA but have dragged their feet. Most commercial interests will not cross USA and the EU states have done little to discourage that. It has been announced that EuroSWIFT will be for humanitarian aid only.

    JB , Feb 4, 2019 11:42:01 AM | link
    It is important to remain as properly informed and nuanced as possible given the difficulties of access to reliable information in the world of today. I, therefore, contribute this link in which a Venezuelan sociologist presents a different view of the support Maduro has in the country : https://therealnews.com/stories/defusing-the-crisis-a-way-forward-for-venezuela.

    I have no way of knowing the de facto situation, as most of us. I do, however, have experience of such turmoil, divisions, rallies and counter-rallies, lies, threats, etc. from a country, my country, that, sadly, no longer exists. I would say - we should listen to the people on the ground, always with a critical mind.

    The implications of this barbaric assault for our world as whole, for South America and, of course, for Venezuela, are far reaching. The role of the EU and its largest states in this barbarism has been consistent and in the service of the US and European ruling class. The EU has been supporting, promoting and awarding the Venezuelan opposition for a long time. Now it is recognising the self-proclaimed person who wants to make Venezuela great again. Yet, my fellow Europeans are more or less silent, more or less indifferent and very badly informed. Being European is becoming a source of deep shame and we Europeans are starting to make excuses when we introduce ourselves, just like the better informed Americans have been doing. But there is a good side to this - all the masks have fallen off now. Everyone can see what the US and the EU really are.

    If not today, tomorrow their barbarism will be recognised as their defining feature. One would think that change is then inevitable, even if long overdue.

    Peter AU 1 , Feb 4, 2019 12:03:16 PM | link
    JB 82
    Often older articles written before the current Trump US demonization push are more accurate.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/20/venezuela-revolt-truth-not-terror-campaign

    One piece in the article you linked to does not seem to match events. Maduro was elected president in what international observers said were a fair election. A number of opposition figures chose, of there own accord not to run in the election.

    Your article says the majority of Venezuelans do not want Maduro as president, yet on a few weeks ago he was elected as president in a fair election.

    Jason , Feb 4, 2019 12:20:03 PM | link
    @3 PavewayIV The Bank of England gold issue is pretty crazy to think about. If the Bank of England can just give the Gold of a nation to a guy who just declares himself President without running for office than their is no rule of law regarding the gold stored by BoE from other countries. Surely any country that has assets held by other major UK, US banks should be moving towards retrieving their gold after this fiasco. Its very scary to see the highest parts of the banking sector; use of the Swift system; access to the US dollar and seizure of assets by the US courts being increasingly used in the aggressions of the empire. If Maduro is able to weather this storm and Venezuela is returned to some degree of stasis than Maduro will ask to repatriate all of the gold held in Europe in order to prevent its future seizure in case a Chavista is elected again next election. The BoE can't possibly just steal it based on politics can it?
    Peter AU 1 , Feb 4, 2019 1:28:47 PM | link
    One sure sign of Maduro's popularity in Venezuela is the calls for a new election in which Maduro is not allowed to participate. This was the same for Assad in Syria. The US know that in any free and fair election, both Assad and Maduro would at anytime gain the most votes.

    Although Maduro was only recently inaugurated, the elections were May 2018. Maduro received 67.8 percent of the vote with a 46 percent voter turnout the next runners received 20.9 and 10.8 percent of the vote.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Venezuelan_presidential_election

    The wikipedia page has the vote numbers, but the article mostly goes on about Maduro blocking opposition. If this were correct, then the US would not be vehemently opposed to Maduro even running in another election.

    jayc , Feb 4, 2019 3:08:04 PM | link
    What an embarrassment - Canada refused press credentials to Sputnik, RIA Novosti, and Telesur for its multi-national celebration of "smart power".

    "Richard Walker, a spokesman for Canada's foreign ministry, explained to Sputnik's correspondent that the agency was denied accreditation because it "hasn't been cordial" with Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland in the past."

    That is, the Russian media published factually correct information which demonstrated Freeland as less than candid regarding her family history. Her feelings were hurt, and her feelings apparently take precedent in her position as Foreign Minister.

    The rational and sensible way forward in Venezuela - international mediation - continues to be rejected by the "interim president", the USA, and Canada's pet Lima Group project.

    Instead, Guaido called for further "pressure", which is at this point limited to a further tightening of the economic isolation of the country. Canada seems to have anticipated this position by announcing a $53 million aid package which will be focussed on assisting current and future "refugees" headed to Columbia and Brazil.

    Kiza , Feb 4, 2019 3:08:39 PM | link
    @Jason 84

    Hugo Chavez has repatriated most of Venezeulan gold whilst still alive. This is how the CIA and the Venezuelan Central Bank could invent the story that a part of this gold is being sent to Russia by Maduro. The 41 ton of Venezuelan gold still remain in Bank of England was a necessary collateral for buying naphtha (for pre-processing oil for export) and subsidised food for the Venezurlan population.

    Once Western sanctions are imposed on a country, the only way anyone would trade with such credit-worthless country, is if hard assets are used as collateral. Maduro will probably be forced to send a part of the repatriated gold to Shanghai gold market, forcing the Venezuelan Centeral Bank by military force to dispatch, or the Venezuelans will go hungry. Having national gold under the Central Bank control is only second worst to having it under control of the Central Bank's foreign masters in BoE.

    I cannot think of one Central Bank in all the countries of the World which is not under the control of the international (Jewish) banking cartel. If the "revolution" succeeds, the gold inside Venezuela will disappear just as the gold in BoE. Since 2017 Bolshevik Revolution, the revolutions are fueled by gold.

    Don Bacon , Feb 4, 2019 3:45:05 PM | link
    @Peter AU 1 | Feb 4, 2019 1:28:47 PM | 85
    Maduro was elected president in what international observers said were a fair election.

    The May 20, 2018 election it self was declared "free and fair" here by four independent committees who had camped outside the polling places but (as in the US and other "democratic" countries) the shenanigans leading up to the election called the fairness into question.

    The elections were boycotted by the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition of opposition parties and dismissed as illegitimate by the United States, the European Union (EU), and14 Western Hemisphere nations (the Lima Group). So we can say for sure that the boycott was a tool to later call the elections illegitimate .

    [How ironic since the US doesn't even (de facto) allow "opposition parties" (plural) but restricts the quadrennial show to two look-alike parties, which Ralph Nader referred to as tweedledum and tweedledee. Obviously neither of the two parties would ever boycott an election.]

    UN rapporteur to Venezuela and expert on international law Alfred de Zayas:

    "I believe in democracy. I believe in the ballot box. If you believe in democracy, you can not boycott an election. The name of the game is that you actually have to put your candidate out and expect that the people will vote for you or against you," he said, referring to the Venezuelan opposition's decision to boycott the recent presidential election, which saw Maduro re-elected. . . here

    james , Feb 4, 2019 3:51:30 PM | link
    @88 jayc.. yes - what an embarrassment.. canada with freeland is sinking lower and lower in mine and many peoples view..
    Peter AU 1 , Feb 4, 2019 3:59:26 PM | link
    Secretary of state John Kerry. "During my most recent visit to Kyiv, I was deeply impressed by all you have accomplished in the more than two years since the Revolution of Dignity."

    Secretary of state Pompeo. "The United States stands with the brave people of Venezuela as they strive for a return to dignity and democracy."

    This lot haven't much of an imagination. Just reading thev lines that were printed for the Ukraine show.

    Jen , Feb 4, 2019 4:25:13 PM | link
    Peter AU 1 @ 92:

    Wash, rinse, repeat ... it's a wonder the battery on the laptop or iPad that gets passed down isn't waterlogged.

    Canthama , Feb 4, 2019 5:17:45 PM | link
    The whole US and vassal States plan was for a swift removal of Maduro, that did not happen thus time now runs in Maduro's favor. There won't a military invasion of Venezuela, there is no apetite for that in Latin America at all, nor the vast majority of the Latin Americans would support any sort of military intervention, even if head of States would promote it, thus leaving two options for the US:

    1) A cruise missile attack to destroy Venezuela Military and Government building, following a false flag prepared and conducted by CIA's and Guaidó's supporter, such an attempt would be received worldwide as an aggression, though the false flag would be used as justification, that would not be tolerated by many many countries and could escalate in a ugly way, and or

    2) An attempt to assassinate Maduro to be blamed on the Venezuelan Military thus leaving Guaidó out of it to legitimize him for power.

    The second is a very likely scenario and may be in progress as of now.

    [Feb 04, 2019] Is it fair to call MAGA croud "neocon lite" crowd, or possibly MAGAcons?

    Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

    Agent76 , says: February 4, 2019 at 3:59 pm GMT

    Jan 31, 2019 Trump and the MAGA Crowd Embrace the Neocon Plan for Venezuela. Is it fair to call MAGA neocon lite, or possibly MAGAcons?

    https://kurtnimmo.blog/2019/01/31/trump-and-the-maga-crowd-embrace-the-neocon-plan-for-venezuela/

    [Feb 04, 2019] It case of Venzuella coup it looks like we are dealing with a "Skripal tactic": do something so ridiculously stupid and offensive that it places all your vassals before a stark choice: either submit and pretend like you did not notice or, alternatively, dare to say something and face with wrath of Uncle Shmuel (the Neocon's version of Uncle Sam) by The Saker

    Notable quotes:
    "... This reminds me of the gerontocrats of the Soviet Politburo in the worst stagnation years who had to appoint the likes of Chernenko to top positions. ..."
    "... The one thing the Mr MAGA's administration has in common with the late Brezhevian Politburo is its total inability to get anything done. My wife refers to the folks in the White House (since Dubya came to power) as the " gang that couldn't shoot straight " and she is right (she always is!): they just can't really get anything done anymore – all their half-assed pseudo-successes are inevitably followed by embarrassing failures. ..."
    Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

    Remember the almost universal reaction of horror when Bolton was appointed as National Security Advisor? Well, apparently, either the Neocons completely missed that, which I doubt, or they did what they always do and decided to double-down by retrieving Elliott Abrams from storage and appointing him US Special Envoy to Venezuela. I mean, yes, of course, the Neocons are stupid and sociopathic enough not to ever care about others, but in this case I think that we are dealing with a "Skripal tactic": do something so ridiculously stupid and offensive that it places all your vassals before a stark choice: either submit and pretend like you did not notice or, alternatively, dare to say something and face with wrath of Uncle Shmuel (the Neocon's version of Uncle Sam).

    And it worked, in the name of "solidarity" or whatever else, the most faithful lackeys of the Empire immediate fell in line behind the latest US aggression against a sovereign nation in spite of the self-evident fact that this aggression violates every letter of the most sacred principles of international law. This is exactly the same tactic as when they make you clean toilets with a toothbrush or do push-ups in the mud during basic training: not only to condition you to total obedience, but to make you publicly give up any semblance of dignity.

    ...Finally, these appointments also show that the senior-Neocons are frightened and paranoid as t