What Really Happens to Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ecuador

August 13, 2018

by Peter Koenig for The Saker BlogWhat Really Happens to Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ecuador

Stories about corruption and internally government-generated violence concerning most unaligned countries abound in the MSM. These lies fuel hatred. And the public at large start a malicious rumor circuit. Which, in turn is taken over by the MSM, so that their lies are pushing in open doors. The war drums start beating. The populace wants foreign imposed order, they want blood and ‘regime change’. The consensus for war has once more worked. And the blood may flow. Instigated by outside forces, such as the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and USAID, which train and fund nationals clandestinely in-and outside the country where eventually they have to operate. They are commandeered by Washington and other western powers and act so as to blame the “non-obedient” governments, whose regime must be changed. They constitute part of the Fifth Column.

Fifth Column is a group of people, who undermine the government of a country in support of the enemy. They can be both covert and open. The term Fifth Column originates from the Spanish Civil War, when in October 1936 nationalist rebel General Mola initiated the coup d’état against the legitimate Republican Government. This marked the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. General Mola besieged Madrid with four “columns” of troops and claimed he had a “Fifth Column”, hiding inside the city. The term was henceforth used for infiltrated enemies within a legitimate government. Mola, the mastermind behind the coup died in a 1937 plane crash, and General Francisco Franco became Spain’s dictator for the next almost 40 years. He prevailed over the Republican resistance thanks to Hitler’s and Mussolini’s air support.

Now what’s the true story behind the violence-plagued Nicaragua and Venezuela, and the treacherous new Moreno government in Ecuador?

Take Nicaragua – it all started with the Board of Directors of the Nicaragua Social Security Institute (INSS) on 16 April 2018 approving an IMF-imposed social security reform, modified and then supported by President Ortega. The reform maintained social security at its current level, but would increasing employer contributions by 3.5% to pension and health funds, while only slightly increasing worker contributions by 0.75% and shifting 5% of pensioners’ cash transfer into their healthcare fund. These reforms triggered the coup attempt initiated by the business lobby and backed by the Nicaraguan oligarchy.

Student protests were already ongoing in different university cities in connection with university elections. These protests were re-directed against the Ortega government with the help of US-funded NGOs and the Catholic Church, an ally of the wealthy in most of Latin America. Some of the students involved in ‘re-directing’ the protests were brought to the US for training by the Freedom House, a long-time associate of the CIA. USAID announced an additional US$ 1.5 million to build opposition to the Ortega Government. These funds along with financing from the NED will be channeled to NGOs to support anti-government protests. For more details, see also http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49933.htm .

Summarizing, in the course of the weeks following the coup, violence increased leaving a total of more than 300 dead by early August. Even though Ortega reversed the pension measures, unrests continued, now demanding the resignation of the President and Vice-President, his wife Rosario Murillo Zambrana. Daniel Ortega, a Sandinista and former guerilla leader, was first elected President in 1985. It is clear that the US and the dark forces behind the empire were preparing Fifth Column-type groups to intervene and take advantage of any social upheaval in the country to bring about regime change. What could have and would have been contained, continued as US inspired violent protests eventually aiming at the overthrow of Ortega’s government. That would bring Central America, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua – and Panama – in line with US policies. Will Washington succeed?

On Venezuela – In mid-June 2018, I was privileged to be invited to Caracas as one of several international economists to participate in a Presidential Economic Advisory Commission – to discuss internal and external economic issues. Without going into details of the commission’s deliberations – it is absolutely clear who is behind the food and medicine boycotts (empty supermarket shelves), and the induced internal violence. It is a carbon copy of what the CIA under Kissinger’s command did in Chile in 1973 which led to the murder of the legitimate and democratically elected President Allende and to the Pinochet military coup; except, Venezuela has 19 years of revolutionary experience, and built up some tough resistance.

To understand the context ‘Venezuela’, we may have to look at the country’s history.

Before the fully democratically and internationally observed election of Hugo Chavez in 1998, Venezuela was governed for at least 100 years by dictators and violent despots which were directed by and served only the United States. The country, extremely rich in natural resources, was exploited by the US and Venezuelan oligarchs to the point that the population of one of the richest Latin-American countries remained poor instead of improving its standard of living according to country’s natural riches. The people were literally enslaved by Washington controlled regimes.

A first coup attempt by Comandante Hugo Chavez in 1992 was oppressed by the Government of Carlos Andrés Pérez and Chavez was sent to prison along with his co-golpistas. After two years, he was freed by the Government of Rafael Caldera.

During Peréz’ first term in office (1974-1979) and his predecessors, Venezuela attained a high economic growth based on almost exclusive oil exports. Though, hardly anything of this growth stayed in the country and was distributed to the people. The situation was pretty much the same as it is in today’s Peru which before the 2008 crisis and shortly thereafter had phenomenal growth rates – between 5% and 8% – of which 80% went to 5% of the population oligarchs and foreign investors, and 20% was to be distributed to 95% of the population – and that on a very uneven keel. The result was and is a growing gap between rich and poor, increasing unemployment and delinquency.

Venezuela before Chavez lived practically on a monoculture economy based on petrol. There was no effort towards economic diversification. To the contrary, diversification could eventually help free Venezuela from the despot’s fangs, as the US was the key recipient of Venezuela’s petrol and other riches. Influenced by the 1989 Washington Consensus, Peréz made a drastic turn in his second mandate (1989-1993) towards neoliberal reforms, i.e. privatization of public services, restructuring the little social safety benefits laborers had achieved, and contracting debt by the IMF and the World Bank. He became a model child of neoliberalism, to the detriment of Venezuelans. Resulting protests under Peréz’ successor, Rafael Caldera, became unmanageable. New elections were called and Hugo Chavez won in a first round with more than 56%. Despite an ugly Washington inspired coup attempt (“The Revolution will Not be Televised”, 2003 documentary about the attempted 2002 coup), Hugo Chavez stayed in power until his untimely death 2013. Comandante Chavez and his Government reached spectacular social achievements for his country.

Washington will not let go easily – or at all, to re-conquer Venezuela into the new Monroe Doctrine, i.e. becoming re-integrated into Washington’s backyard. Imagine this oil-rich country, with the world’s largest hydrocarbon reserves, on the doorsteps of the United Sates’ key refineries in Texas, just about 3 to 4 days away for a tanker from Venezuela, as compared to 40 to 45 days from the Gulf, where the US currently gets about 60% of its petrol imports. An enormous difference in costs and risks, i.e. each shipment has to sail through the Iran-controlled Strait of Hormuz.

In addition, another socialist revolution as one of Washington’s southern neighbor – in addition to Cuba – is not convenient. Therefore, the US and her secret forces will do everything to bring about regime change, by constant economic aggressions, blockades, sanctions, boycotts of imports and their internal distribution – as well as outrights military threats. The recent assassination attempt of President Maduro falls into the same category.

And let’s not forget, Venezuela’s neighbor Colombia, fully under Washington’s control, has just recently become a NATO country. How absurd, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, stationed in a South American country. But then, NATO is also in Afghanistan, Syria, in the Balkans and wherever US-instigated conflicts need to be fought. Colombian and Venezuela share a border of some 2,200 km of which about 1,500 are difficult to control ‘porous’ jungle, from where clandestine as well as overt military infiltrations are relatively easy. They may also spread to other South American countries. It’s already happening into countries with open doors for US military, like Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

Less than 5 years ago, 80% of Latin American populations lived under democratically elected, left-leaning governments. It took South America some 20-25 years to free themselves from the fangs of the Monroe Doctrine. Now in the course of a few years the trend has been reversed, through US intervention with election manipulations – Argentina, Ecuador, Chile – and parliamentary coups – Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay. – Venezuela, together with Bolivia and Cuba, today is Latin America’s last holdout ad hope.

Back to the present – Washington’s goal is “regime change” with the help of a strong Fifth Column, infiltrated in key financial institutions and all the support that comes with it, NED, CIA et al. However, President Maduro has a solid block of 6 million voters behind him, and is embarking with full integrity on a path of “Resistance Economy”. In fact, the recent introduction of the hydrocarbon-backed Petro, and the new just announced Petro-backed Bolivar – are first steps in the right direction; an attempt to de-dollarize Venezuela’s economy. Other measures, like massive efforts to become autonomous in food and industrial goods, à la Russia, rebuild the agricultural sector and industrial parks, are measures to regain economic sovereignty.

On Ecuador – President Rafael Correa has worked with Lenin Moreno, who was his Vice-President and close ally during many years. It is therefore a bit strange that Correa apparently did not know Moreno is a traitor, what he clearly has become soon after taking office. Correa’s internal support was still strong, despite his decline among indigenous people after his (US forced) Amazon petroleum concessions. Though incited by many of the people at large to change the Constitution and run for a third term, he was warned by Washington not to do so, and instead, to promote Moreno as his successor. Correa knows what such warnings mean. He was almost killed in a 2010 Washington inspired police coup, widely thought being linked to his attempt to abandon the US dollar as the Ecuadorian currency and return to the Sucre; and Correa’s memory is still fresh enough to recall the ‘accidental airplane’ death of one of his predecessor’s, President Roldo, who changed the rules for (mostly US) hydrocarbon corporations in 1981.

What lays ahead for Ecuador does not look bright. Several IMF inspired reforms – yes, Ecuador returned to the IMF and World Bank – might reverse social gains achieved under the Correa Regime for the working and indigenous people. Also, a breach on free speech by Moreno is imminent: He announced already a while ago that Julian Assange’s days in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London are counted. If and when Assange has to leave the Embassy, he will likely be arrested by UK police and eventually handed over to the US – where he may expect a very uncertain, but possibly violent future.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Vineyard of The Saker Blog; and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

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Preparations for the Final Phase of Regime Change in Venezuela: Will the United States Resort to a Multilateral Military Invasion?

Written by Daniel Edgar exclusively for SouthFront

A ‘top secret’ document entitled “Plan to Overthrow the Venezuelan Dictatorship ‘Masterstroke’” has recently received substantial coverage by the ‘alternative’ press in Latin America (needless to say, it has received little or no mention in the ‘mainstream’ press). The document is dated the 23rd of February 2018 and apparently was edited and approved by Kurt Tidd, commander of United States Southern Command (‘SouthCom’).

Many sections of the report read as though they were written by the proverbial Cubans of Miami and their CIA/ mafia handlers. For instance, in the section on ‘Information Strategy’ the report emphasizes the importance of “keeping the harassment to the Dictator as the only responsible of the crisis in which he has submerged the nation” (p.9), and in another section states the intention to “expose him as a puppet of Cuba” (p.3). The unlikely spectre of the small Caribbean island taking over the Latin American continent piece by piece as conquered dominions still has a surprising amount of currency in the mainstream press and among right wing sectors (usually updated as ‘CastroChavism’).

As with the ‘Protocols of Zion’, whether or not the document is authentic (as far as I know SouthCom has not denied its authenticity, and they would hardly acknowledge authorship of such a document), the report appears to provide a very accurate description of the US strategy to impose regime change in Venezuela and re-install a surrogate political regime obedient to Washington ever since the election of Hugo Chavez up to recent events, as well as of the next steps that the United States intends to take. It provides further corroboration that these plans include the extreme and irrevocable step of an open military invasion together with the armed forces of several neighbouring States (in particularly Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Guyana, and presumably also Peru) if all else fails, supported by paramilitary groups and other covert forces and groups already present in or infiltrated into Venezuela and other countries throughout the region.

The report describes the immense scope and brutality of the United States’ disruptive economic, social and political actions to destabilize and overthrow the Venezuelan government and anticipates the possibility of an even more dramatic escalation in intensity and scale. For instance, in order to undermine “the decadent popular support to Government”: “Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises…” (pp.2-3)

Consistent with the stated intentions and plans, over the last year the US has been staging large-scale multilateral military exercises that simulate major aspects of the projected military intervention in Venezuela, including in adjacent areas from where an overt military campaign and associated economic blockade would be waged (see for example Manlio Dinucci, 2017).

While the extravagant hostility and threatening polemic emanating from Washington has presaged the possibility of direct military intervention at least since 2015 when then president Barack Obama promulgated an Executive Order “declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela”, a multilateral military intervention would be unprecedented in recent Latin American history.

While in the nineteenth century an international military coalition was created to invade and subdue a rebellious Paraguay and in the first half of the twentieth century US marines invaded and occupied Latin American countries on numerous occasions, since World War II the US has crafted an extremely effective neo-colonial system of political, economic and technological dominance and control that made overt external military intervention unnecessary. When national governments became too independent or attempted to allocate a larger portion of their country’s wealth and resources to the benefit of its own people instead of US corporations the US could rely on political and economic destabilisation, followed by a military coup by complicit military officers if necessary, to re-establish absolute submission to Washington.

The mere fact that the US may be genuinely considering such a drastic and potentially risky step as a viable course of action is testimony to the resilience of the Venezuelan government and people after almost twenty years of political destabilization, attempted coups and economic sabotage. It also testifies to the importance of Venezuela to the second ‘war of independence’ in Latin America to liberate the continent from imperial/ neo-colonial rule, and amounts to a tacit admission that the all-out efforts of the masters of US foreign policy to impose regime change in Venezuela have thus far failed and are unlikely to succeed in the absence of even more extreme measures, the last resort in the regime change textbook of open military intervention.

In acknowledging the importance of Venezuela to the emergence of independent leadership in numerous Latin American countries since the election of Hugo Chavez and the consolidation of regional forms of cooperation throughout Latin America that explicitly or implicitly rejected Washington’s ‘leadership’, the report states that the recent “rebirth of democracy” (return to conservative, neoliberal, right wing regimes that unquestioningly support Washington’s policies) has halted the trend “in which radical populism was intended to take over” South America. Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador are cited as examples of the resurrection of democracy. In this context, the report states that “overthrowing the Venezuelan Dictatorship will surely mean a continental turning point” (p.2).

Also reflecting the regional significance and implications of related developments, the report includes as part of the ‘Information Strategy’ proclaiming the failure of regional “mechanisms of integration created by the regimens of Cuba and Venezuela, specially the ALBA and PETROCARIBE”, along with “strengthening the image of the OAS” and other multilateral institutions and agreements in the region that are compatible with and subservient to the US’ interests and objectives (p.10).

In terms of the international dimensions of the strategy, the report declares that other components include:

“Fully obstructing imports… Appealing to domestic allies as well as other people inserted from abroad in the national scenario in order to generate protests, riots and insecurity, plunders, thefts, assaults and highjacking of vessels as well as other means of transportation with the intention of deserting this country in crisis through all borderlands and other possible ways, jeopardizing in such a way the National Security of neighbouring frontier nations. Causing victims and holding the Government responsible for them. Magnifying, in front of the world, the humanitarian crisis in which the country has been submitted to…” (pp.4-5)

“Preparing the involvement of allied forces in support of the Venezuelan army officers or to control the internal crisis, in the event they delay too much in taking the initiative…

Getting the support of the cooperation of the allied authorities of friendly countries (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Panama and Guyana)…

Organizing the provisioning, relief of troops, medical and logistical support from Panama. Making good use of the facilities of electronic surveillance and signals intelligence, the hospitals and its deployed endowments in Darién, the equipped airdromes for the Colombian Plan, as well as the landing fields of the old-time military bases of Howard and Albrook…

Moving on the basification of combat airplanes and choppers, armored conveyances, intelligence positions, and special military and logistics units (police and military district attorneys and prisons)…” (pp.6-7)

“Developing the military operation under international flag… Binding Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Panama to the contribution of greater number of troops, to make use of their geographic proximity and experience in operations in forest regions. Strengthening their international condition with the presence of combat units from the United States of America and the other named countries, under the command of a Joint General Staff led by the USA…

Using the facilities at Panamanian territory for the rear guard and the capacities of Argentina for the securing of the ports and the maritime positions…

Leaning on Brazil and Guyana to make use of the migratory situation that we intend to encourage in the border with Guyana…

Coordinating the support to Colombia, Brazil, Guyana, Aruba, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago and other States in front of the flow of Venezuelan immigrants in the event of the crisis…” (pp.7-8)

Another very interesting aspect of the report from my point of view is its discussion of the Colombian component of its strategy (I have been in Colombia for most of the last eight years). Apart from the reference quoted above to pre-stocked military bases in Colombia in apparent preparation for the possibility of a large-scale military conflict with Venezuela (in flagrant contravention of a 2010 judgment of the Constitutional Court of Colombia), the report affirms as intentions and objectives:

“Continuing setting fire to the common frontier with Colombia. Multiplying the traffic of fuel and other goods. The movement of paramilitaries, armed raids and drug trafficking. Provoking armed incidents with the Venezuelan frontier security forces… Recruiting paramilitaries mainly in the campsites of refugees in Cúcuta, La Guajira and the north of Santander, areas largely populated by Colombian citizens who emigrated to Venezuela and now return, run away from the regimen to intensify the destabilizing activities in the common frontier between the two countries. Making use of the empty space left by the FARC, the belligerency of the ELN and the activities in the area of the Gulf Clan…” (p.6)

Apart from indicating that many of the refugees fleeing from Venezuela (the plight of these people is a favourite topic of the mainstream media in Colombia in their constant denunciations of the Venezuelan government) are in fact Colombians returning to Colombia after fleeing the political violence and economic hardship that has ravaged Colombia over the last couple of decades, the report confirms the widespread use of paramilitary groups and other criminal organizations and illegal armed groups to further the United States’ “national interests and foreign policy objectives” in the region. This would also be consistent with the nature of US involvement in Colombia over the last century, as described in detail by Renan Vega Cantor in the 2015 report of the Historical Commission established to investigate the origin and evolution of the social and armed conflict in Colombia.

Fortunately, the eagerly anticipated eruption of widespread violence prior to and following the presidential election on the 20th of May has not eventuated. In addition, in the final presidential debate in Colombia on the 26th of May the two candidates that will take part in the second round on the 17th of June (Ivan Duque and Gustavo Petro) both categorically ruled out the involvement of Colombia in an open military intervention against Venezuela.

It may be that the belligerency and reckless threats and actions simply represent the ‘fire and fury’ brand of erratic ‘diplomacy’ of the latest US Executive in Chief, in the belief that everyone will bend to their will if the threats are extreme enough (backed up by an occasional salvo of missiles). Nonetheless, the US war machine in all of its guises and forms is going to great lengths to ensure that it is prepared for every eventuality, and the only certainty is that an overt military attack against Venezuela orchestrated by the US cannot be ruled out entirely.

The following sections are translations of commentaries by analysts in the region:

***

Julio Yao Villalaz, “Venezuela, An impossible intervention” (“Venezuela, una intervención imposible” (3 March 2018)

“The intervention that the United States is promoting against Venezuela with the complicity of the so-called ‘Lima Group’, made up of 12 countries – less than half of the member States of the Organisation of American States (OAS) – among which is Panama unfortunately, is an illegitimate and impossible endeavour that scandalously violates the Charter of the OAS, the UN Charter and International Law.

The collective violation of International Law involves decades of illicit actions, ever since Hugo Chavez assumed power in Venezuela and the United States began to lose its privileges, benefits and petroleum subsidies…

Notwithstanding the unquestionable lack of credibility of the organisation, the Charter of the OAS sanctifies     principles of International Law that prohibit absolutely the individual or collective intervention of its members in the internal and external affairs of other States and are, mutatis mutandi, the same principles as those of the Charter of the United Nations…

(The author lists relevant principles of the UN Charter that prohibit any form of intervention in the affairs of a member State, and notes that the principle of ‘representative democracy’ sanctified in the Charter of the OAS cannot supersede the principles of the UN Charter which make no such stipulation.)

Moreover, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela far exceeds the so-called ‘representative democracies’ of the region (Venezuela is a participatory democracy) and is one of the most democratic countries in the world, as its history and actual experience demonstrate, verified by the United Nations, international human rights organisations, as well as by other renowned personalities and associations such as the Carter Foundation among others.

However, the United States and its acolytes, henchmen and lackeys from the ‘Lima Group’ persevere with the violation of International Law notwithstanding that they didn’t even gain the support of the OAS for their imperialist adventure (the independent countries of the Caribbean and others prevented it) and that almost all of the members of the ‘Lima Group’ violate and are far from complying with the norms that guarantee minimum requirements for even an elemental democratic governance.

What right does the United States have to threaten Venezuela, if the United States is the worst violator of the UN Charter and the main denier of International Law; if the United States has rejected or refused to ratify more human rights treaties than any other State; when the United States is the country with the highest number of death sentences on the planet; if the United States is the State whose ‘defence’ budget is larger than the budgets of the next six largest States’ budgets combined; if the United States is the State with the largest number of foreign military bases in the world (more than 1,000)…

What right does this delinquent country have to deny the right of the Venezuelan people to exist?

What right does Colombia have to head the aggression against Venezuela, if on the external plane it is a country occupied by the United States (there are seven US military bases in Colombia) that lacks independence; and, on the internal plane, Colombia is a narco-State that maintains one of every 10 Colombians outside the country; when Colombia has betrayed the Peace Accord that it signed with the FARC and assassinates and permits paramilitaries to systematically eliminate social leaders and human rights defenders; if Colombia tolerates persecution and attacks against political movements that participate in national politics, such as the FARC? Colombia is already an accomplice in the sanctions against Venezuela and will be the tip of the spear of the invasion of the Bolivarian Republic.

What right does Peru have to allege a lack of democracy in Venezuela, if its President, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, was at the point of being dismissed by the Congress for ‘moral incapacity’ to govern because he received bribes from Odebrecht; if the same Peruvian president illegally indemnified former president Alberto Fujimori – a confessed perpetrator of genocide – and if his government is permanently under siege by the reclamations of health and education workers?

What right does Argentina have to question the transparency in Venezuela, if its president, Mauricio Macri, is immersed in the Odebrecht scandal as well as the ‘Panama Papers’ and his government is constantly accused by reclamations from its people, the Mapuche Indians, pensioners and the middle class, that has seen the progress achieved during the mandate of former president Cristina Kirchner stagnate?

What right does Brazil have to offer its territory as a trampoline for an intervention and denounce Venezuela as a ‘dictatorship’, if its unelected president, Michel Temer, arrived to the position thanks to a ‘soft coup’ against Dilma Rousseff, is accused by the Prosecutor General of ‘passive corruption, obstruction of justice and criminal organisation’ and has anti-democratically blocked the presidential candidacy of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva?

What right does Mexico have to denounce Venezuela for a ‘humanitarian crisis’ if its president, Enrique Peña Nieto, presides over a corrupt government sustained by drug trafficking and organised crime, that has handed over Mexico’s wealth to the transnationals of the United States and the same Mexico has the world record for journalists assassinated and disappeared?

What right does Honduras have (please!) to question the legitimacy of the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela if its president, unconstitutional and unelected, enthroned by a fraud of cosmic proportions, Jose O. Hernandez, clings to power with the support of the bayonets of US Southern Command and kills his own people without hesitation?

What right does Panama have to question the independence and the democracy of Venezuela, if the Partido Panameñista (of president Juan Carlos Varela) assumed power in the arms of the (US) invaders following the invasion of 1989 (who swore in Guillermo Endara as president in a US military base)? It is worth recalling that, at international law, agreements signed under military occupation are ipso facto void.

What moral right does Panama have to destroy the right of Venezuela to self-determination, if Guillermo Endara, the first post-invasion puppet president and president of the Partido Panameñista (the political party of the current Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela), subscribed to the Arias Calderon-Hinton Accord (1991), the basis of the Salas-Becker treaties of 2002 that handed Panama over to 16 federal agencies of the United States (including the Pentagon, the US Army, the US Air Force, the US Navy and the US Coastguard)? These US entities could once again convert Panama into a platform of aggression for the US Southern Command…

(The author, a former Panamanian diplomat, proceeds to describe many other instances of illegal collaboration by Panama’s government with US imperial plans and projects of bilateral and regional dominance.)

Despite the complete absence of moral or legal authority of the ‘Lima Group’ to attack Venezuela, the United States insists on invading the country with the complicity of governments that are unrepresentative, anachronistic, outlaws and enemies of International Law … under the notorious banner of ‘Humanitarian Intervention’.

They want us to believe that in Venezuela there is a ‘humanitarian crisis’ that requires a confrontation of people against people in the region, of the poor against the poor and of brothers against brothers, to satisfy the appetites of Washington, misinterpreting the Chinese strategic genius Sun Tzu, who counselled conserving one’s own forces by utilising foreign forces…

(The author proceeds to review some of the military aggressions by powerful States to further their own interests based on dubious or completely fabricated claims of humanitarian crisis, such as in Yugoslavia and Libya.)

In the case of Panama, the United States didn’t even take the effort to inform the OAS or the UN, nor even the US Senate, that they must approve the invasion in 1989, but they did lie about and satanize General Manuel Noriega, as testified in ‘Secret-Sensitive’ documents of the US National Security Council, documents that establish as the real objectives securing the Panama Canal treaties and derailing the negotiations between Panama and Japan for a new canal.

But in Venezuela there is neither a humanitarian crisis nor a civil war – nor had there been one in Panama. Rather, there is a massive external intervention in the country’s and the people’s affairs, internal and external, an intervention manifested in ultra-modern and multi-faceted forms, with the transnational support of countries, NGOs and personalities that are trying to destroy the Venezuela nation, destroy its revolution and rob Venezuela of its prodigious natural wealth.

The intervention against Venezuela would be an aggression against Latin America and the Caribbean, a regression in Latin American Unity, a blow against the memory of the liberators of Our America, and for all of these reasons, it is an impossible intervention that cannot be allowed to triumph!”

***

Julio Yao Villalaz, “Kuczynski, the ‘Lima Group’, Venezuela and the VIII Summit of the Americas”, (“Kuczynski, el ‘Grupo de Lima’, Venezuela y la VIII Cumbre de las Américas”), 23 March 2018

“With the exit from power of the Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) the so-called Lima Group, created as part of a multi-faceted war that the United States has been waging in order to destroy the sovereignty and self-determination of the Venezuelan people, has suffered a further loss of legitimacy

The Lima Group is made up of less than half of the members of the Organization of American States (OAS), but Kuczynski’s resignation following accusations of corruption has shaken the VIII Summit of the Americas (held on the 13th and 14th of April) to its foundations. The principle theme of the Summit was, paradoxically, ‘democratic governance and corruption’; its host was to be the now defunct Peruvian leader.

Yes – apart from the resignation of the Summit’s host – the United States tried to widen the basis for its intervention against Venezuela; moreover, the Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro was denied entry to the Summit. The failure of the hegemon is double, as the simultaneous vacuum in the Peruvian presidency and absence of the Summit’s host exposes the democratic fragility and dubious moral and political merits of several of its associates (Peru, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Panama, just to mention a few), which have been accused of similar or worse corruption than that which buried Kuczynski and qualifies them as ‘failed States’, according to the new terminology of the US Southern Command (SouthCom).

Given its illicit objectives, since its formation the Peru Group has violated the Charter of the OAS, the UN Charter and International Public Law – all of which consecrate the prohibitions on all forms of intervention, threats and attacks. The Lima Group was formed with full knowledge of the publicly stated intentions of the United States to launch a military invasion of Venezuela and therefore the complicity of its members with the aggression is manifest.

Could Colombia, favourite vassal of the United States in Latin America, deny that it has received fabulous sums from Washington to lease its territory to destabilize, attack, and serve as the spearhead for the invasion of Venezuela?

The Declaration that created the Lima Group in August of 2017 loses its reason for being given the report of the independent investigator of the UN Human Rights Council, the jurist and American historian Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, who was alternatively ignored and vilified by the Western media complex for having stated that ‘there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela’ that would justify a ‘humanitarian intervention’ (that is, armed intervention).

According to Zayas, a graduate of Harvard, in Venezuela there is however ‘suffering and a shortage of supplies, a natural result of the economic and commercial war’ being waged by a violent opposition against its own people, under the auspices of foreign praise and support, not the result of internal oppression…

From the mouth of president Trump, the United States has threatened Venezuela with an imminent armed invasion if it doesn’t submit to his orders – which implies giving its natural resources and wealth to US transnationals. But the US sanctions, which deny the Venezuelan people their right to exist, could be the subject of a legal petition before the International Criminal Court notwithstanding its increasing lack of credibility.

The non-existence of a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela renders impossible the purported application of the Charter of the OAS, the principle objective of the Lima Group, and the debacle of the VIII Summit of the Americas leaves the US without the regional conditions (that is, complicity) that it needs to destroy the Bolivarian Republic.

If the Lima Group doesn’t represent the OAS, which lacks a Security Council to authorize such actions; if the Lima Group doesn’t represent the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) or any other legally constituted regional organization; if the Lima Group cannot act on its own account, in violation of the Charter of the OAS, without risking its own expulsion from that organization; if the Lima Group violates the UN Charter; then, what is this group, who does it serve and what is the legal basis of its actions?

The Lima Group is a band of delinquent States, outlaws and mercenaries that are opposed to the consolidation of the Zone of Peace that has been declared in the region, serve the US Southern Command, and lack legality, to such an extent that the frustrated festivities of the vultures in Lima could prove to be the funeral of their forgotten national dignity.”

***

José Negrón Valera, “USA. ‘The moment has arrived’: The Unitas Lix plan would be the final blow against Venezuela” (“EE.UU. ‘El momento ha llegado’: el plan Unitas Lix sería el golpe final contra Venezuela”), 14 May 2018

“Disguised as military exercises, the US Southern Command has prepared a strategy with which they will try to give the ‘coup de grace’ to the Government of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

‘Orange alert’ in South America

At 6.48am on Saturday the 13th of May the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, announced to the South American people via a statement on his Twitter account:

“We denounce that the USA and the OAS are implementing a plan to overthrow the Venezuelan Government: before the elections they will realise violent actions supported by the mass media and after the elections they will attempt a military invasion with the armed forces of neighbouring countries”…

Similarly, the Argentine journalist Stella Calloni brought to the attention of public opinion the grave threat that Venezuela faces, revealing a secret document of the US Southern Command.

The 11 page document, entitled “Masterstroke: A plan to overthrow the dictatorship in Venezuela” and signed by admiral Kurt Tidd, commander of the US Southern Command, considers that ‘the moment has arrived’ to intervene militarily in the South American country.

With the synchronization of a time bomb, Roger Noriega, formerly the permanent representative of the United States in the OAS between 2001 and 2003 and bitter enemy of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, wrote in the New York Times that ‘the options for Venezuela’ had been exhausted, stating that the only remaining alternative is the overthrow of Nicolas Maduro.

The importance of Noriega’s article derives from the medium in which it was published. The most influential media platform with respect to the legitimization of the United States’ military operations.

To complete the panorama, the US Embassy in Caracas, in a suspicious demonstration of clairvoyance, informed US citizens that before and after the presidential elections they are expecting demonstrations and focal points of destabilization…

The roadmap to overthrow ‘Chavism’

A strategic analysis of the SouthCom documents that have been revealed, together with the declarations of military spokesmen and mid-level officials of the diplomatic apparatus, enable us to establish with sufficient clarity how they will develop the successive stages of the intervention against Venezuela.

In the first place, one has to take into account the electoral conjunction where it is still possible that the Venezuelan opposition will reach an agreement to combine their forces and support a single candidate.

Despite the fact that the United States, the Lima Group and the European Union have already affirmed that under the ‘actual conditions’ they won’t recognize the results, one cannot dismiss the possibility that a single candidate ‘in extremis’ could provoke a motivating effect in the opposition sectors that still haven’t decided if they will vote.

A scenario of technical stalemate between ‘Chavism’ and the opposition would provide an appropriate context for international pressure against the Government of Nicolas Maduro.

In second place, Noriega reaffirms that the political front cannot be discounted entirely. In this instance, the State Department would be focused on ‘encouraging Venezuelans – including members of the armed forces – to restore democracy’, that is to say, execute a coup d’état.

Although this seems improbable, the Southern Command would not need a successful military rebellion – a skirmish within a military barracks would be sufficient, as occurred a few months ago in Paramacay Fort – in order to demand ‘that power be transferred without delay to the legitimate civil authorities, the members of the National Assembly’.

In this case, they would be evaluating the ‘liberation’ of a zone in the country where a parallel government could exercise de facto functions, with the recognition and support of the international community allied to Washington.

In the document of the Southern Command Tidd emphasizes that, in order to overthrow ‘Chavism’, it is necessary to intensify the psychological war to provoke ‘an exacerbation of the division between members of the Government’, combined with military actions that would start with violent protests in urban centres, especially in Tachira where the Venezuelan Government has been able to neutralize numerous mafia groups dedicated to smuggling contraband goods across the border with Colombia.

The Unitas Lix plan and the final blow

The operations of destabilization could intensify following the announcement of the electoral results on the 20th of May and it is anticipated that they could last until September, when in Colombia the international aerial and maritime military exercises Unitas Lix 2018 will commence.

Kurt Tidd clearly explains that the Bolivarian Government can only be brought down by way of a ‘military operation under an international flag, patronized by the Conference of Latin American Armies, under the protection of the OAS and the supervision, in the legal and media context, of the Secretary General (of the OAS), Luis Almagro’.

Unitas Lix is nothing less than a façade for imposing a maritime blockade of Venezuela in the least traumatic way possible, as occurred in 1902 against the then Government of Cipriano Castro.

The objective of a maritime blockade, according to Kurt Tidd’s logic, is precisely the ‘obstruction of all imports’, especially of food, medicines and other essential goods. However, the centre of gravity of the entire strategy would be to impede the commercialization of Venezuelan petroleum…

It is now that the tempestuous exit of Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Colombia from Unasur makes sense.

Apart from strengthening the OAS as the primary regional organization and main forum to debate a possible situation of political instability in Venezuela, it was essential that the South American Defence Council be abandoned.

It would be incoherent if the regional organization that establishes the objective of ‘consolidating a zone of peace in South America and constructing a common vision in terms of defence’ were to docilely receive the intention of the Southern Command to ‘proceed to station its combat planes and helicopters, armoured vehicles, intelligence stations’ and even prisons in South America.

Another objective of transforming Unitas Lix into a military operation would be to generate a security ring around Venezuela to prevent the possible approach of the military forces of Venezuela’s allies. One of the scenarios to which they would have to pay close attention.

Unitas Lix would be proposed as the last stage of a long term and large scale operation of attrition against Venezuela. However, what is most scandalous about Washington’s plan to overthrow Chavism is that its proponents are well aware that there would be substantial resistance within the country, and even that the Venezuelan opposition ‘doesn’t have sufficient strength’ to guarantee governability.

Nonetheless, Tidd already has the solution: sending ‘the military forces of the UN to impose peace’…”

***

Hector Bernardo, Conspiracy against Venezuela (“Complot contra Venezuela”), 13 May 2018

“In a new anti-democratic gesture, the US government has intensified its strategy to overthrow the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, and prevent the elections scheduled for the 20th of May. In this instance, the attack is headed by the ultra-right senator Marco Rubio, closely linked with the Cuban mafia groups in Miami and the arms trade. Rubio has met with various leaders in the region to reinforce the alternative paths the coup could take.

Marco Rubio has transformed himself into one of the most influential people within the intimate circle of the North American president Donald Trump… (He) is one of the main promoters of aggression against all of the popular governments in the region that do not align themselves with the orders and demands from Washington. In a new assault against the Venezuelan government and people, the Republican senator asserts the necessity of extending the measures that have immersed Venezuela in an economic crisis and affirms that ‘the moment has arrived to accelerate Maduro’s exit’.

Rubio has dedicated much of his political career to persecuting the popular governments in the region. At the moment he is dedicating all of his efforts to attacking Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua though previously, and without the support of the White House, he also campaigned against Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (Argentina), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Evo Morales (Bolivia) and Salvador Sanchez Ceren (El Salvador)…

Currently, with the substantial influence he has achieved within the circle of president Donald Trump’s confidants, Rubio has dedicated himself to organizing the international pressure against the government of Nicolas Maduro. An example of this was his recent trip to Costa Rica to attend the delivery of aircraft and ships for the coastguard and vigilance of the country’s airspace as a ‘reward’ for having accepted the demand from Washington to not recognize the result of the presidential election in Venezuela on the 20th of May.

During the Summit of the Americas, held in Peru in April, Rubio met with another leader that has accepted Washington’s schemes in their entirety, the Argentine president Mauricio Macri. After the meeting, Macri reaffirmed that he would not recognize the result of the presidential election in Venezuela either, along with the leaders of Chile (Sebastian Piñera) and Colombia (Juan Manuel Santos). All members of the Lima Group, a forum in which Rubio has significant influence.

Not only has the North American senator dedicated himself to fomenting the political destabilization and economic and financial asphyxiation that the Venezuelan people are suffering, he has also been one of the main instigators and promoters of the violent terrorist actions that have been unleashed there (as well as the recent violent efforts to destabilize the democratically elected government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua)…”

***

References

Julio Yao Villalaz, “Venezuela, una intervención imposible”, Voltairenet, 3 March 2018

http://www.voltairenet.org/article199789.html

– “Kuczynski, el ‘Grupo de Lima’, Venezuela y la VIII Cumbre de las Américas”, 23 Marzo 2018, Voltairenet

http://www.voltairenet.org/article200334.html

Stella Calloni, “El ‘Golpe Maestro’ de Estados Unidos Contra Venezuela (Documento del Comando Sur)”, VoltaireNet, 9 Mayo 2018

http://www.voltairenet.org/article201091.html

– Stella Calloni, “The United States ‘Masterstroke’ against Venezuela”, 17 May 2018, VoltaireNet

http://www.voltairenet.org/article201159.html

José Negrón Valera, “EE.UU. ‘El momento ha llegado’: el plan Unitas Lix sería el golpe final contra Venezuela”, 14 Mayo 2018, Resumen Latinoamericano

http://www.resumenlatinoamericano.org/2018/05/14/ee-uu-el-momento-ha-llegado-el-plan-unitas-lix-seria-el-golpe-final-contra-venezuela/

“Plan to Overthrow the Venezuelan Dictatorship ‘Masterstroke’”, United States Southern Command, 23 February 2018

“Plan para Derrocar a la Dictadura Venezolana ‘Golpe Maestro’”, Estados Unidos Comando Sur

Traducción y original del Documento del Comando Sur, Golpe de Estado en Venezuela (Translation and original of the Document of the US Southern Command, Coup D’état in Venezuela), 13 Mayo 2018, Resumen Latinoamericano –

http://www.resumenlatinoamericano.org/2018/05/14/traduccion-y-original-del-documento-del-comando-sur-golpe-de-estado-en-venezuela/

Renán Vega Cantor, 2015, “The International Dimension of the Social and Armed Conflict in Colombia: Interference of the United States, Counter-Insurgency and State Terrorism”, Chapter 13, Historical Commission of the Conflict and its Victims, A Contribution to Understanding the Armed Conflict in Colombia, (translated to English by Daniel Edgar), Havana, Cuba

http://www.academia.edu/26880912/The_International_Dimension_of_the_Social_and_Armed_Conflict_in_Colombia_Interference_of_the_United_States_Counter-Insurgency_and_State_Terrorism

Hector Bernardo, “Complot contra Venezuela”, 13 Mayo 2018, Resumen Latinoamericano

http://www.resumenlatinoamericano.org/2018/05/14/complot-contra-venezuela/

Manlio Dinucci, “Grandes ejercicios militares alrededor de Venezuela”, 25 Agosto 2017, VoltaireNet

http://www.voltairenet.org/article197590.html

– “Large.scale manoeuvres encircling Venezuela”, 25 August 2017

http://www.voltairenet.org/article197571.html

Cuban sonic attacks: Likely winner of ‘US Lie of the Decade’

April 26, 2018

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker BlogCuban sonic attacks: Likely winner of ‘US Lie of the Decade’

I can’t think of another story I’ve reported on which was so completely, 100% devoid of facts….

The allegations of Cuban “sonic attacks” are a complete and total joke. If you believe one iota of this scandalous insult to human honesty and decency – you are dangerously gullible.

Why are only White workers in the US and Canadian embassies reporting health problems, when Cubans act as embassy guards, janitors, etc.? Are injurious sound waves racist?

I talked to Cubans guarding the abandoned Canadian embassy: they said their health is totally fine. The US embassy is in a densely-populated area – hundreds of locals should have been impacted, but nobody has reported any problems.

Scientists of all nationalities have declared: the idea that imperceptible sonic waves can cause brain damage is against the laws of acoustic physics. Scientists are entirely too charitable when they attribute as “mass hysteria” the self-reported and unproven “physical affects”.

Therefore: All you US and Canadian “diplomats”, and your damned families, and anybody else making these claims, are all just damned liars!

The US embassy in Tehran – which was occupied by protesters in 1979, shut down, and converted into a museum – was called the “den of spies” only because Iranians are sticklers for honesty.

Why anybody would believe the claims of these obviously paid-to-lie intelligence operatives working in Havana is beyond me. I don’t even know why Havana let them reopen an embassy here!

I’m sure the reason is tourism – Cuba needs the money, and the visa paperwork has to be completed. Sadly & infuriatingly, it was just announced that Cuban tourism from the US has dropped 40% since the “sonic attacks” began being reported as the gospel truth just one month after Trump took office.

The “sonic attacks” are a weapon against the Cuban people, not by the Cuban people – this is diplomatic and economic warfare.

Here is the real truth behind the “sonic attacks”: They never happened, and are scientifically impossible. This is a massive lie to the American public in order to:

1) Roll back the modest diplomatic steps forward taken under Obama,

2) Shutter US & Canadian embassies, thus reducing visas and also the already-limited business ties permitted under the ongoing international blockade,

3) Justify a further hardening the genocidal blockade,

4) Give cover to provide official “travel advisories” in order to scare US tourists and thus sabotage the tourism sector of the Cuban economy. Of course, the overall goal is to create enough pain, death & instability to spark a civil war in order to reverse Cuba’s democratic choice of a socialist-based system and to restore US control of Cuba (currently limited to only a naval base in Guantanamo).

The incredible thing is that Americans believe the lie. It seems that – no matter how big or lacking in proof – they are culturally incapable of even considering the possibility that their own government could ever issue something called “propaganda”; they also honestly believe that American mainstream journalism is “objective”, and even about longtime enemies like Cuba.

Indeed, how many times have US news anchors reported on the “sonic attacks” with the utmost gravity…despite there never being any actual evidence? It is appalling that – after all these months without proof – the US media is not howling for blood from the Trump administration, in order to salvage their own reputations and consciences. They apparently don’t have the latter.

They instead continue to report the assurances of totally biased sources such as Marco Rubio, who recently said that the FBI has “made a lot of progress” in finding proof for the attacks…and they do it without providing a counter-view limited to a 1-sentence denial by Havana. Just terrible journalism…when did “journalism” become just parroting the government line to the total exclusion of fact-checking?

What is not galling is journalism which is mediocre, but the self-sanctified hypocrisy that American media is somehow “freer” than in other nations.

You can even read of how the longstanding Iranian-Cuban ties may have allowed Iran to mastermind these “attacks”. LOL, the best thing about that absurdity is that it reminds people of the longstanding ties between Cuba and Iran, two socialist countries.

Cuba was one of the first countries to recognise the Iranian Revolution, in obvious appreciation of the Iranian Islamic Socialist model. Iran has invested more than $1 billion in more than 60 (mutually beneficial) projects in Cuba since 2005. Cuba would only have only “allowed” us to “mastermind” these attacks against North American imperialists because of the exceptionally-close ideological ties with our Cuban (mostly non-Islamic) Socialist brothers and sisters…if only the rules of science (and morality) did not totally prevent the possibility of super-quiet “sonic attacks”.

I feel bad for the genuinely-concerned Cuban authorities who were forced to take this seriously for so many months:

Has anyone heard of such a weapon existing? How many of our people are hurt? Is somebody using a new weapon on our territory? Is there some rogue force within our own government trying to undermine our own policy of détente? Who? Should we let American investigators in for the first time in 50 years? We will? Is that a safe idea for us? What on earth is going on?!?!?!

Those were undoubtedly genuine conversations; genuine follow-up work was undoubtedly undertaken, uselessly.

But this has been a waste of my time, too! Why should I be reporting about some group of lies told by liars with no concern for other people’s time? It’s not fun to do a report of: “Look at how stupid this all is”. Some journalists get their jollies by being smug, but I don’t. It is depressing – I mean…how dumb can Americans be?!

Sadly, if we look at history we see the answer: Incredibly dumb…and dishonest, insensitive, uncaring, immoral and – above all – manipulated to the detriment of their own interests.

But that is not fair: This is just one story among many in the world; a majority of Americans do not support the blockade against Cuba anymore; the number of people benefiting or supporting the blockade and the falsely named “sonic attacks” is a tiny coterie of reactionaries in Miami and not the average American.

The “sonic attacks” appear to be a certain winner for “US Lie of the Decade”: for more than 1 year they have been in the news despite a total lack of evidence, and – as the drop in tourism shows – they have negatively impacted the lives of the average person in a non-US country. The false allegations of a chemical attack by the Syrian government on Syrians never did not lead to a massive change in policy, although that was the West’s hope.

I have come up with previous winners in previous decades below. However, let’s keep in mind that these lies are all examples of class warfare, and not really of “American stupidity”: Americans opposed every policy which produced this list, which is truly just an homage to Western capitalism-imperialism.

‘US Lies of the Decade’ – Is your country a winner?

“US Lie of the Decade – 2000s”: Iraq’s alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction

To me, and to many Iranians, the irony was: Hussein had already violated the single-most important rule of international politics – thou shalt not invade – not once (Iran), but twice (Kuwait). That should have provided all the justification needed to invade and capture Hussein, in order to try him according to international law (but never to permit American occupation, nor all the subsequent crimes). Hussein also used mass chemical weapons against Iran – another possible justification for an internationally-approved invasion.

But because nobody in America cares about Iranians, Kuwaitis or defending international law – despite claiming to be “the leader of the free world” at every opportunity – the WMDs were invented, and then promoted by intelligence tools like the New York Times’ Judith Miller, and then defended at the United Nations by the most reputable American they could find (Colin Powell).

If the Americans had invaded, captured Hussein and left, the lack of WMDs could have been fairly regarded as an honest mistake…but Iraq is still under occupation.

“US Lie of the Decade – 1990s”: Claims of goodwill towards the ex-USSR

When the USSR imploded Gorbachev did what nobody in their right mind would do – rush right into the arms of their longtime enemy.

But, even before dissolution, Gorbachev spent the 1980s negotiating away Soviet advantages despite getting nothing in return. When he finally achieved his goal, Gorbachev appeared to actually believe that the US was actually going to help improve the standard of living of the average person in the USSR. The 1990s proved him wrong, and in an extremely painful manner.

Instead of reacting with horror to the drastic drop in living conditions in the former USSR, the US government and media couldn’t have cared less…because the new oligarch class they took under their wing was to blame, of course. The idea that the US was “promoting democracy” in the former USSR will forever be easily disproven by the Time magazine cover which proudly boasted of how the US undemocratically rigged Russia’s election in favor of Yeltsin.

All in all, the biggest lie of the 1990s truly is: “Socialism has failed”. It hasn’t, but it was sabotaged / undermined / attacked / abandoned in some regions. Fortunately it remains strong in others – China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, etc.

Honorary second-runner up: That the creation of the modern European Union (1992 Maastricht Treaty) and the introduction of the euro currency (1999) would increase democracy and equality. LOL, that was a good one, too!

“US Lie of the Decade – 1980s”: The cold-blooded mass murder of Iran Air Flight 655

I will be accused of bias, but this is my list. The constant lie that this was a “mistake” is completely disproven by the fact that no one on the ship was ever disciplined, that the crew all got medals (which is what soldiers get for successful combat attacks), and that the US Navy ship fired from inside Iranian waters.

No Iranian will ever forget this, and it was obviously sent as a message to Iran (just 1 month from concluding 8 years of Western-foisted war with Iraq): the US is ready to wipe you all out, even if our attack dog Iraq failed.

“US Lie of the Decade – 1970s”: The US is not involved militarily in Laos or Cambodia

Laos became the “most bombed country ever“ while Cambodia was attacked despite being a neutral country. This ties into the next entry on this list.

“US Lie of the Decade – 1960s”: The Gulf of Tonkin Incidents

These never happened, but permitted the escalation of the US & French Wars Against Vietnamese Independence.

“US Lie of the Decade – 1950s”: The Korean “Conflict”

It was not a “conflict” nor a “police action” but a “war”, and not a war between Koreas but the “US War Against Korean Democratic Socialism”.

You can say that North Korea is not democratic in 2018 all you want, but in 1950 the Korean peninsula would have democratically gone over to socialism, just like Vietnam would, if they had not been targeted by a horrific US invasion and bombing campaign which was the world’s worst until Laos. Korea remains divided and occupied today.

“US Lie of the Decade – 1940s”: The US could never possibly work alongside the same fascists in Germany and Japan whom US soldiers had just died fighting

Or in Italy and Greece. Or with Vichy France supporters, both those in Europe and across their colonial empire in the Muslim world. But the US did, of course.

Indeed, Germany and Japan somehow “lost” World War II, and yet are today’s dominant economies in Europe and East Asia (until the rise of China). Their penance appeared to have lasted all of 15 minutes?

The truth and the reason for this simply must be: Japan and Germany did not “lose” World War II – they only allied with Washington after some extremely difficult negotiating sessions.

“US Lie of the Decade – 1930s”: Poor state planning and revolutionary changes in agriculture led to millions of peasant deaths in the Ukraine and the USSR…but not even one of all those dispossessed US Dust Bowl farmers ever died of hunger

Or perhaps, as in the end of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, US women donated enough breast milk to keep millions of homeless farmers from starvation? That’s about as likely an idea as the idea that poverty, homelessness, debt and forced migration did not increase mortality rates during this era.

If Russians are to accept the estimates of US researchers, which not vice versa? They found 7 million US peasant deaths in this decade.

This is getting rather long (but has been rather easy to think up) so I’m going to stay Cuba-focused here, as they make a 2nd entrance on this list:

“US Lie of the Decade – 1890s”: The sinking of the USS Maine in Cuba

Even US schoolchildren are taught that the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana’s harbor was the apex manipulationof the “yellow press” of New York City – notably William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer – which inflamed war hysteria in order to provoke the Spanish-American War. Perhaps in 120 years US textbooks will tell the truth of the “Cuban sonic non-attacks”?

The USS Maine was sunk under mysterious conditions (certainly, it would have been as insane for Cubans to have done it as it would have been for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons against Syrians in this decade), and it allowed the US to enter into the Cuban War for Independence (against Spain) in order to occupy Cuba. Guantanamo Bay remains occupied today as a result of this lie.

There is a huge monument in Havana reminding people of the incident…but it’s one built by the occupying Americans. I’m glad to report that Cubans have just begun on a 2nd, prominent, seemingly quite large monument right across from the US monument which is dedicated to the true story of the Maine. One day, American tourists will see it and remark, “Oh yeah, ‘Remember the Maine…now where’s the bar?’” Cubans will remark, “Oh yeah, we can’t put up with the US any longer, no matter how bad their lies and blockades”.

In 2018 the US is thus repeating their independence-hating history in Latin America, with everyday Cubans victimised yet again – so say so the next time you hear someone talking about it.

And, if can afford it, ignore the fearmongering and visit Cuba (and not with a US cruise ship).

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

What happened to the West I was born in?!

What happened to the West I was born in?!

March 26, 2018

Frankly, I am awed, amazed and even embarrassed.  I was born in Switzerland, lived most of my life there, I also visited most of Europe, and I lived in the USA for over 20 years.  Yet in my worst nightmares I could not have imagined the West sinking as low as it does now.  I mean, yes, I know about the false flags, the corruption, the colonial wars, the NATO lies, the abject subservience of East Europeans, etc.  I wrote about all that many times.  But imperfect as they were, and that is putting it mildly, I remember Helmut Schmidt, Maggie Thatcher, Reagan, Mitterrand, even Chirac!  And I remember what the Canard Enchaîné used to be, or even the BBC.  During the Cold War the West was hardly a knight in white shining armor, but still – rule of law did matter, as did at least some degree of critical thinking.

I am now deeply embarrassed for the West.  And very, very afraid.

All I see today is a submissive herd lead by true, bona fide, psychopaths (in a clinical sense of the word)

And that is not the worst thing.

The worst thing is the deafening silence, the way everybody just looks away, pretends like “ain’t my business” or, worse, actually takes all this grotesque spectacle seriously.  What the fuck is wrong with you people?!  Have you all been turned into zombies?!  WAKE UP!!!!!!!

Let me carefully measure my words here and tell you the blunt truth.

Since the Neocon coup against Trump the West is now on exactly the same course as Nazi Germany was in, roughly, the mid 1930s.

Oh sure, the ideology is different, the designated scapegoat also.  But the mindset is *exactly* the same.

Same causes produce the same effects.  But this time around, there are weapons on both sides which make the Dresden Holocaust looks like a minor spark.

So now we have this touching display of “western solidarity” not with UK or the British people, but with the City of London.  Now ain’t that touching?!

Let me ask you this: what has been the central feature of Britain’s policies towards Europe, oh, let’s say since the Middle-Ages?

That’s right: starting wars in Europe.

And this time around you think it’s different?

Does: “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior” somehow not apply to the UK?!

Let me also tell you this: when Napoleon and Hitler attacked Russia she was undergoing deep crises and was objectively weak (really! research it for yourself!).  In both cases Russian society was deeply torn by internal contradictions and the time for attack as ideal.

Not today.

So I ask this simple question: do you really want to go to war against a fully united nuclear Russia?

You think that this is hyperbole?

Think again.

The truth is that the situation today is infinitely worse than the Cuban missile crisis. First, during the Cuban missile crisis there were rational people on both side.  Today there is NOT ONE SINGLE RATIONAL PERSON LEFT IN A POSITION OF POWER IN THE USA.  Not ONE!  Second, during the Cuban missile crisis all the new was reporting on was the crisis, the entire planet felt like we were standing at the edge of the abyss.

Today nobody seems to be aware that we are about to go to war, possibly a thermonuclear war, where casualties will be counted in the hundreds of millions.

All because of what?

Because the people of the West have accepted, or don’t even know, that they are ruled by an ugly gang of ignorant, arrogant psychopaths.

At the very least this situation shows this:

Representative democracy does not work.

The rule of law only applies to the weak and poor.

Western values have now been reduced to a sad joke.

Capitalism needs war and a world hegemony to survive.

The AngloZionist Empire is about to collapse, the only open question is how and at what cost.

Right now they are expelling Russian diplomats en masse and they are feeling very strong and manly. Polish and Ukrainian politicians are undergoing a truly historical surge in courage and self-confidence! (hiding, as they do, behind Anglo firepower)

The truth is that this is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg.  In reality, crucial expert-level consultations, which are so vitally important between nuclear superpowers, have all but stopped a long time ago.  We are down to top level telephone calls.  That kind of stuff happens when two sides are about to go to war.  For many months now Russia and NATO have made preparations for war in Europe.  And Russia is ready.  NATO sure ain’t!  Oh, they have the numbers and they think they are strong.  The truth is that these NATO midgets have no idea of what is about to hit them, when the Russians go to war these NATO statelets won’t even understand what is happening to them.  Very rapidly the real action will be left to the USA and Russia.  Thus any conflict will go nuclear very fast.  And, for the first time in history, the USA will be hit very, very hard, not only in Europe, the Middle-East or Asia, but also on the continental US.

I was born in a Russian military family and I studied Russian and Soviet military affairs all my life. I can absolutely promise you this, please don’t doubt it for one second:

Russia will not back down and, if cornered, she will wipe out your entire civilization. The Russians really don’t want war, they fear it (as they should!) and they will do everything to avoid it.  But if attacked then expect a response of absolutely devastating violence.  Don’t take it from me, take it from Putin who clearly said so himself and who, at least on that issue, is supported by about 95% of the population.  From the Eastern Crusades to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, enough is enough, and the Russians will not take one more western attack, especially not one backed by nuclear firepower.  Again, please ponder Putin’s words very, very carefully:

“what need would we have a world if there is no Russia?

All that for what?  The USA and Russia have NO objective reasons to do anything but to collaborate (the Russians are absolutely baffled the fact the leaders of the USA seem to be completely oblivious to this simple fact).  Okay, the City of London does have a lot of reasons to want Russia gone and silent. As Gavin Williamson, the little soy-boy in charge of UK “defense”, so elegantly put it, Russia should “go away and shut up”.  Right.  Let me tell you – it ain’t happening!  Britannia will be turned into a heap of radioactive ashes long before Russian goes away or shuts up.  That is simply a fact.

What baffles me is this: do American leaders really want to lose their country in behalf of a small nasty clique of arrogant British pompous asses who think that they still are an Empire?  Did you even take a look at Boris Johnson, Theresa May and Gavin Williamson?  Are you really ready to die in defense of the interest of these degenerates?!

I don’t get it and nobody in Russia does.

Yeah, I know, all they did is expel some diplomats.  And the Russians will do the same.  So what?  But that’s missing the point!

LOOK NOT WHERE WE ARE BUT WHERE WE ARE HEADING!!

You can get 200,000 antigun (sigh, rolleyes) protesters in DC but NOBODY AT ALL ABOUT NUCLEAR WAR?!

What is wrong with you people?!

What happened to the West where I was born in in 1963?

My God, is this really the end of it all?

Am I the only one who sees this slow-motion train-wreck taking us all over the precipice?

If you can, please give a reason to still hope.

Right now I don’t see many.

The Saker

PS: yes, I know. The rules of the blog prohibit CAPS as this is considered shouting.  Okay, but this time around I AM TRYING TO SHOUT!  So, for this one time only, feel free to use caps if you want.  The world badly needs some shouting right now, even virtual shouting.

Bullying Cuba

Bullying Cuba

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY | 24.12.2017 | OPINION

Bullying Cuba

As has been confirmed by Trump’s reaction to the condemnation of his administration by the United Nations, the US president is a malevolent, insolent, arrogant, sabre-brandishing bully with all the refinement, grace and style of a sacksful of wet fishtails. His policy towards Cuba is well in line with his overall attitude of intimidation, but his specifically anti-Cuba obsession is nothing new in Washington.

It was the great American song satirist, Tom Lehrer, who suggested that “political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize” in 1973, and there are few who would disagree with him. He was referring to US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (now aged 94), who, among other evil excesses, ordered the illegal bombing of Cambodia in 1969-73 that killed countless civilians, so Lehrer was being lenient to a man who will go down in history as a duplicitous barbarian.

In 2014 it was revealed that in 1976 Kissinger told President Ford “I think sooner or later we are going to have to crack the Cubans” and “I think we have to humiliate them.” He went further by saying “I think we are going to have to smash Castro,” because the Cuban leader was not doing the bidding of the United States. Ford agreed, but lost the next election, and a measure of sanity prevailed after Jimmy Carter took over. Cuba’s leader wasn’t going to be assassinated, nor his people humiliated, but the campaign of hatred continued.

Cuba has been targeted by Washington ever since Fidel Castro toppled the CIA-supported, Mafia-loving dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959. The New York Times observed that “it was Mr. Castro’s obsession with the United States, and America’s obsession with him, that shaped his rule. After he embraced Communism, Washington portrayed him as a devil and a tyrant and repeatedly tried to remove him from power through an ill-fated invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, an economic embargo that has lasted decades, assassination plots, and even bizarre plans to undercut his prestige by making his beard fall out.”

Castro was hardly a saint. He ruled ruthlessly and murdered many of his opponents. But such behaviour by other dictators around the world has not, over the years, necessarily caused the United States to attempt their assassination or try to invade their countries. In 2007 the UK’s Guardian newspaper reported that the CIA had conspired with a Chicago gangster described as “the chieftain of the Cosa Nostra and the successor to Al Capone” in an attempt to assassinate Castro. According to CIA documents, “because of its extreme sensitivity, only a small group was made privy to the project. The DCI [Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles] was briefed and gave his approval.”

Henry Kissinger was responsible for the deaths in hellish circumstances of very many more people than Fidel Castro, and “advised Mr Trump on foreign policy matters” for years because, as Trump declared after a meeting with him in May 2017, “Henry Kissinger has been a friend of mine, I’ve liked him. I’ve respected him. But we’ve been friends for a long time, long before my emergence into the world of politics, which has not been too long.”

Kissinger with Trump in the White House, May 2017

So one wonders if Kissinger advised Trump on his confrontational policy regarding Cuba, although, of course, Trump’s vindictive viciousness could be simply part of his fixation on destroying everything achieved by President Obama, about whom he appears to be paranoid.

Fidel Castro once commented that “for such a small country as Cuba to have such a gigantic country as the United States live so obsessed with this island is an honour for us,” but three years ago Obama tried to bring a bit of sanity to the absurd farce that had been playing for over half a century. As the New York Times reported, “in December 2014, President Obama used his executive powers to dial down the decades of antagonism between Washington and Havana by moving to exchange prisoners and normalize diplomatic relations between the two countries, a deal worked out with the help of Pope Francis and after 18 months of secret talks between representatives of both governments.”

That was a sensible, compassionate and civilised approach, especially as the eyes of the world were continually being drawn to the modern-day Concentration Camp established by the United States in the colonial-style enclave it maintains at Guantanamo Bay in that long-suffering island. In that camp there are illegally-detained captives who have no recourse to the process of law, and are denied fundamental human rights. Their suffering is beyond any that can be legally or morally meted out to any prisoner, anywhere. They have not been charged with crimes under US or international law, and have no right to speak in their defence in a public forum. It was the British who invented Concentration Camps (for Boers and Blacks — separated, of course — in South Africa in 1900) and the Nazis who perfected them in 1933-45. But the Land of the Free has brought them to a greater pitch of refinement.

A BBC report about detention and eventual release of three British nationals noted that “They had been captured in Afghanistan, suspected of links to the Taleban, and were taken to the US camp in Cuba. The three told UK newspapers they were often beaten by US troops . . . they were wrongly identified by the Americans as having been pictured in a video tape of a meeting in Afghanistan between Osama bin Laden and the leader of the 11 September hijackers Mohamed Atta.” So they were released — after years of hellish abuse.

“. . . they had their heads shaved, body cavities searched, were dressed in orange overalls, given goggles and earmuffs, and chained . . .” — BBC

At Guantanamo, as concluded by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession, the medical people, including doctors, who were employed by the military and the CIA “designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees.”

This appealed to Trump who made his position absolutely clear during his campaign for the presidency when he said “Don’t tell me it doesn’t work — torture works.” And the Washington Post pointed out that even before his presidency “he viewed the prison at Guantanamo Bay as an emblem of tough treatment of criminals. Americans who travelled to Syria to fight with the Islamic State should be sent to the prison ‘for some R&R,’ he tweeted multiple times in 2014.” Trump refers to the prison camp as ‘Gitmo’ and last year was adamant that “We’re not closing Gitmo. We’re going to fill it up! We’re not closing Gitmo.”

At that time, Cuba was being opened up to Americans by Obama’s sensible approach, encouraging trade, tourism and general rapprochement, and at the time of Castro’s death Obama said that “during my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbours and friends.” This was an encouraging step forward.

And now Washington is leaping backwards, with Trump echoing Kissinger’s lip-smacking “I think we have to humiliate them” and declaring in June that “Effective immediately, I am cancelling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba . . . We do not want US dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba.”

One Cuban citizen, Idania del Rio, who with friends watched the Trump speech on television in Havana, told Reuters that “It’s like we are returning to the Cold War,” which conclusively summed up the White House attitude to Cuba — and many other aspects of Trump’s chaotic foreign policy. But as the UK’s Independent newspaper notes, “Cuba’s main trading partner is still China, but it is once again strengthening economic links with Russia,” which is a sensible approach by the Havana government which can choose its friends, just as Trump so energetically selects his enemies. Bullying Cuba is entirely counter-productive for Washington, and it will eventually learn the costs of arrogant confrontation, there and elsewhere in the world.

Donald Trump: A president swallowed by history

Donald Trump: A president swallowed by history

US President Donald Trump is a great impersonator. Not a day goes by without his desperate effort to masquerade as human. Surrounded by faux gold and fawning fools from his earliest days, Trump has stumbled from scam to scam, bank to bank, grope to grope, as he reached the absolute pinnacle of moral failure. His is a world of cheap thrills, empty rhetoric and intimidating context.

Few of knowledge would stop to challenge Trump’s unprecedented scorecard of international failure. Indeed, ad hoc chaos has become very much the executive order of his day.

Whether it’s a Muslim ban that targets states from which not a single national has engaged in an act of terrorism that has cost the life of a US citizen, to his retweets of videos posted by a British far-right activist, to a pointless border wall styled on hateful votes and little else, to a proposal to seize Iraqi oil as “spoils of war”, his is a hustler’s hustle. It’s the penultimate Ponzi scheme, a boiler-room operation based in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The life of Donald Trump is a full-time campaign to disguise incompetence to the roar of the inept. While the spectre of nuclear holocaust on the Korean Peninsula, military threats to Iran, and attacks on the domestic political aspirations and independence of Venezuela and Cuba may empower those who draw vigour from the echo of empty words, they do little but confound a world built on fragile relations and nuanced exchange. To be sure, they present a clear and real danger to us all.

Those foolish enough to believe the arrival of the Romanovs of Fifth Avenue would herald a tempering of US imperial ambitions were soon disappointed.

Thus, in Yemen, having been empowered to act on its own, the Pentagon unleashed drone slaughters of mostly civilians at an unprecedented pace. From offshore, the US fired dozens of Tomahawk missiles into Syria as an offset to a suspected chemical weapons attack. In Afghanistan, we saw the detonation of the world’s largest non-nuclear bomb as very much a herald to more US troops and to permanent US warfare.

With reckless abandon, Trump has fled from international agreements designed to give hope to the prospect of life for us all long after the debacle of his imperial design comes to its well-deserved end.

The Paris Climate Agreement became the first victim, with the US departing as the only country in the world indifferent to a global call for adoption of clean energy and the phase-out of fossil fuels. With damning nationalist praise, Trump announced to the world he “was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”.

Not long after his coronation, he withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, distancing the US from what were its Asian economic allies. Later, citing its alleged anti-Israel bias, he withdrew from UNESCO, which the US helped found in the shadow of World War II. Can it be long before the US abandons a nuclear arms-control agreement that has long been, verifiably, working?

US President Donald Trump gestures to show the extent of temperature change he thinks there is, as he announces his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement [Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

Unsurprisingly, Trump’s global “no confidence” rate soared to 74 percent

Cast in the light of a presidency certain to soon enter its second year of crude dysfunction, why is anyone, at all, surprised by Trump’s empty, lawless announcementthat the US will hereinafter recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?

Like the wall for which Mexico will pay, at day’s end, Trump’s apostolic blessing was little more than a “sham show in waiting”, to offer up to a powerful Zionist lobby and ignorant evangelical political base when needed.

Indeed, having shown no understanding of the history or complexity of today’s world, let alone core values of international law, Trump’s gratuitous toss of “legitimacy” to the illegitimate journey of Israel was as predictable as it was desperate.

Jerusalem is not Israeli, by law

Any discussion of Trump’s mindless recent croon about a world-defining moment of 70-plus years, reduced to presidential fiat, alone, must necessarily begin from the reality of international law. To bestow upon an occupation force lawful annexation of land not theirs for the taking is, ultimately, to do little more than insist that the world is flat.

In 1948, when the United Nations recognised Israel as a state, it called for a demilitarised Jerusalem as a separate entity under the protection of its exclusive aegis.

Not long thereafter, pursuant to Resolution 194 (III), the General Assembly declared Jerusalem to be an open city subject to the well-recognised legal principle of internationalisation.

Predictably, not long thereafter, Israel declared Jerusalem to be its capital as it established various government agencies in the western part of the city.

Meanwhile, Jordan continued to exercise formal control of Jerusalem’s eastern section, including, most importantly, the Old City, leaving open its ultimate status to a final settlement of the unresolved “question” of Palestinian statehood. 

All was to radically change as Israel seized and occupied the entire West Bank of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, during the war of 1967, thus rendering it subject to the various protections of the Geneva Convention.

In relevant part, the convention holds it unlawful for an occupying power to transfer its own population into the territory it occupies. In addition, it prohibits the establishment of settlements and the confiscation and annexation of occupied land.

Time and time again, the United Nations, as a toothless organisation, has ordered Israel to cease its expansion of illegal settlements and annexation of occupied Palestinian land.

Time and time again, Israel, as a rogue state, has scoffed at the notion that it owes any obligation whatsoever to well-settled international law. 

Indeed, between 1967 and 1989, the UN Security Council adopted 131 resolutionsdirectly addressing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Israel held itself out as beyond the reach of these resolutions. 

In 1980, and again in 1990, pursuant to Resolutions 478 and 672, the UN demanded that Israel abide by the Geneva Convention and end the construction of illegal settlements. In doing so, it emphasised the “independence” of the City of Jerusalem and the protection of its “unique spiritual and religious dimension”. Israel ignored this demand.

In February 1999, the Security Council again rebuked Israel’s effort as an occupying power “… to alter the character, legal status and demographic composition of Jerusalem”. Israel ignored this demand.

In point of fact, as of 2015, Israel had been condemned in, and had ignored, some 45 resolutions by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Anyone with even a modicum of historical context, let alone intellectual capacity or interest, would understand that a now seven-decade-old, deadly standoff between Palestine and Israel will not go away by wishful thinking or inane talismanic chant.

Yet that is precisely what Donald Trump did when, with typical denial, he preached on a faux resolution, took credit, and then, with alarming ease, said, “Problem solved … next”.

Ultimately, in a strange sort of way, and in more ways than one, Trump’s unearned arrogance and dramatic disconnect from the crossroads of history and reality may have produced results clearly unintended, yet, necessary.

Oslo is dead

For decades, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has toiled under the well-financed illusion that the Israelis who sat across the negotiation table, and their enablers in Washington, brought more than just the appearance of goodwill to the effort.

Time after time, outrage after outrage, the PA has always returned with hat in hand to the folly of talks which accomplished little, but provided an irrelevant political vent as more and more land was annexed, and lives stolen, to the hum of bombs or the slam of prison doors. 

Palestinian technocrats who started out in their prime with Oslo have now aged beyond hope, along with any illusion of relevance. So, too, the march of time leaves no doubt that Oslo has represented nothing but a palpable pretext for Israel to carry out systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, be it by force of arms or by law.

In the years since Yasser Arafat posed with Yitzhak Rabin and renounced armed strugglethree US presidents have come and gone. Each has sold a perverse balance that the US could, somehow, play objective arbiter in the midst of a one-sided slaughter supported, all the while, by US politics and money.

US President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands as they deliver remarks before a dinner at Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem [Ariel Schalit/Reuters]

However, do give Donald Trump credit where credit is due. With one, short, slurred speech, he peeled away, forever more, the veneer of any US integrity or independence when it comes to facilitating a just and equitable resolution, respecting the rights and aspirations of Palestinians. 

Oslo is a failed, futile fantasy that has filled the coffers of the few while the many have suffered from an economic strangle-hold dressed up in institutional benevolence that, in reality, has been used primarily by the PA to buy and control political winds and opposition.

Any reasonable read must lead to the conclusion that the long terminally-ill Oslo has died, along with its whimsical two-state solution, when Trump, essentially, told the PA to shut its doors and walk away.

Hopefully, 82-year-old Mahmoud Abbas got the message loud and clear.

The one state solution

It is well past reality’s reach that a two-state solution can, at this late date, provide a viable vehicle for meaningful Palestinian sovereignty or for overall peace.

The notion that a series of disconnected Bantustans – stripped of a traditional land base, natural resources, and the unique centre of religious and faith-based history – can suddenly become a feasible independent state for millions of stateless Palestinians is fool’s gold.

Ultimately, no matter what its form or shape, the essence of statehood is the ability to develop and maintain political and economic institutions and security and to control borders, including air rights and, where applicable, seaports.

To suggest that Israel would cede any degree of meaningful self-determination, in these all-defining cornerstones of sovereignty, to a Palestinian state is simply laughable, in light of its decades-long practices.

Indeed, at this late date, there is but one solution acceptable to the millions of Palestinian living as refugees abroad or suffering under apartheid, occupation and ethnic cleansing fueled by supremacist hate: one state for all from the river to the sea.

It matters not whether this state becomes a system of independent, but connected, cantons – as in Switzerland. What is important is that the single state embraces no official state religion, ensures equal protection and rights for all, guarantees “one person, one vote”, and opens all jobs, roads and communities. What is also important is that it is based not on race, religion or politics but on the willingness to struggle for a collective good that will at long last serve the united interest of one people.

While some will surely scoff at this notion and, perhaps, find little hope for its success, unification provides the sole means by which Palestinians and Jews, Muslims and Christians can begin to heal the wounds that have long divided people that, left to their own unimpeded devices, would find much more that unites them than divides.

Lest there be any claim of naivete, the road to a one-state resolution is, of course, littered with more than mere encumbrances of communities, schools and highways long segregated by barricades and barbed wire.

Seventy years of forced displacement, death and destruction have left, for many, the scars born of tears and hate. Only time and unification can begin to heal those wounds and end the nightmare. All else is just sheer destructive folly.

For Israelis, who see delay as their ally, it’s a false hope born of little more than convenient denial. “Out of sight, out of mind” does not solve a crisis but simply puts off its reckoning to another day – one which grows more difficult and demanding with the passage of time.

All occupations, large and small, ultimately awaken one day to find themselves captive to a “graveyard of empires”. Here, it will be no different.

The eternal capital of Palestine

Today, in Palestine and in Israel, there are more than 5 million Palestinians with the median age of 19 years. They will not go away or surrender to the silence of the night.

For years, the young women and men of Palestine have been in the vanguard of an unbroken national effort to reclaim their freedom and rebuild their state.

For them, the price has been dear. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Information, since 2000, alone, Israel has killed more than 3,000 Palestinian minors. During the same period, Israeli forces have injured another 13,000 youth and arrested more than 12,000 others. Today, Israel holds about 300 children in its prisons.

Despite an awful price exacted for their courage and resistance, for the young women and men of Palestine, the future holds no truth but one, built on a determined struggle to confront and end a criminal occupation and apartheid by any means necessary, including armed struggle. 

For Palestinians, history is, indeed, a guidepost of what is yet to come. For Palestinians, history is an unbroken saga, handed down from the elderly in refugee camps throughout the Middle East to their very young who find comfort in the cultural breath of dabke.

Mr Trump: Were you an informed observer of history, you would know well that this is not the first time the US has tried to designate a city as the capital of a state against the political and historical will of its people. 

In Vietnam, such an attempt did not end well, as Saigon eventually gave way to the legitimate, national aspirations and rights of millions who refused to be held captive by the imperial design of a foreign occupation force.

Yes, Mr President, history does, and will indeed, repeat itself.

Capitals are much more than cold, sculpted monuments to those that have come before, or warehouses of political ideals and rights beyond the reach of all but the chosen few. Nor can they inspire from behind barricaded buildings in which petty despots dole out rights and benefits based upon one’s mere name or faith. 

Capitals are homes to collective freedom and will, with open doors that know no artificial boundaries or lawful segregation. To be honest, to empower, they must represent the collective will and aspirations of all those who look to them for justice and opportunity.

For millions of Palestinians, that capital is Jerusalem. It weaves with the rock of the ages and hums to the tune of history. To walk down the ancient pathways of the Old City, to hear the call to prayer, to look out in all directions from Al-Aqsa plaza across the open and free expanse beyond its age-old walls is a journey that is Jerusalem.

Nothing that you, Donald Trump, can say or do will undo the magic and majesty that is Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Palestine.

America’s Enemies, Who’s On the List?

Prospects and Perspectives

Global Research, November 24, 2017

For almost 2 decades, the US pursued a list of ‘enemy countries’ to confront, attack, weaken and overthrow. 

This imperial quest to overthrow ‘enemy countries’ operated at various levels of intensity, depending on two considerations:  the level of priority and the degree of vulnerability for a ‘regime change’ operation.

The criteria for determining an ‘enemy country’ and its place on the list of priority targets in the US quest for greater global dominance, as well as its vulnerability to a ‘successfully’ regime change will be the focus of this essay.

We will conclude by discussing the realistic perspectives of future imperial options.

Prioritizing US Adversaries

Imperial strategists consider military, economic and political criteria in identifying high priority adversaries.

The following are high on the US ‘enemy list’:

1) Russia, because of its military power, is a nuclear counterweight to US global domination.  It has a huge, well-equipped armed force with a European, Asian and Middle East presence.  Its global oil and gas resources shield it from US economic blackmail and its growing geo-political alliances limit US expansion.

2) China, because of its global economic power and the growing scope of its trade, investment and technological networks.  China’s growing defensive military capability, particularly with regard to protecting its interests in the South China Sea serve to counter US domination in Asia.

3) North Korea, because of its nuclear and ballistic missile capability, its fierce independent foreign policies and its strategic geo-political location, is seen as a threat to the US military bases in Asia and Washington’s regional allies and proxies.

4) Venezuela, because of its oil resources and socio-political policies, challenge the US centered neo-liberal model in Latin America.

5) Iran, because of its oil resources, political independence and geo-political alliances in the Middle East, challenge US, Israeli and Saudi Arabia domination of the region and present an independent alternative.

6) Syria, because of its strategic position in the Middle East, its secular nationalist ruling party and its alliances with Iran, Palestine, Iraq and Russia, is a counterweight to US-Israeli plans to balkanize the Middle East into warring ethno-tribal states.

US  Middle-level Adversaries :

1)  Cuba, because of its independent foreign policies and its alternative socio-economic system stands in contrast to the US-centered neo-liberal regimes in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

2) Lebanon, because of its strategic location on the Mediterranean and the coalition government’s power sharing arrangement with the political party, Hezbollah, which is increasingly influential in Lebanese civil society in part because of its militia’s proven capacity to protect Lebanese national sovereignty by expelling the invading Israeli army and helping to defeat the ISIS/al Queda mercenaries in neighboring Syria.

3) Yemen, because of its independent, nationalist Houthi-led movement opposed to the Saudi-imposed puppet government as well as its relations with Iran.

Low Level Adversaries

1) Bolivia, because of its independent foreign policy, support for the Chavista government in Venezuela and advocacy of a mixed economy;  mining wealth and  defense of indigenous people’s territorial claims.

2) Nicaragua, because of its independent foreign policy and criticism of US aggression toward Cuba and Venezuela.

US hostility to high priority adversaries is expressed through economic sanctions military encirclement, provocations and intense propaganda wars toward North Korea, Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Syria.

Because of China’s powerful global market linkages, the US has applied few sanctions.  Instead, the US relies on military encirclement, separatist provocations and intense hostile propaganda when dealing with China.

Priority Adversaries, Low Vulnerability and Unreal Expectations

With the exception of Venezuela, Washington’s ‘high priority targets’ have limited strategic vulnerabilities. Venezuela is the most vulnerable because of its high dependence on oil revenues with its major refineries located in the US, and its high levels of indebtedness, verging on default.   In addition, there are the domestic opposition groups, all acting as US clients and Caracas’ growing isolation within Latin America due to orchestrated hostility by important US clients, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

Iran is far less vulnerable: It is a strong strategic regional military power linked to neighboring countries and similar religious-nationalist movements.  Despite its dependence on oil exports, Iran has developed alternative markets, like China, free from US blackmail and is relatively safe from US or EU initiated creditor attacks.

North Korea, despite the crippling economic sanctions imposed on its regime and civilian population, has ‘the bomb’ as a deterrent to a US military attack and has shown no reluctance to defend itself.  Unlike Venezuela, neither Iran nor North Korea face significant internal attacks from US-funded or armed domestic opposition.

Russia has full military capacity – nuclear weapons, ICBM and a huge, well-trained armed force – to deter any direct US military threat.  Moscow is politically vulnerable to US-backed propaganda, opposition political parties and Western-funded NGO’s.  Russian oligarch-billionaires, linked to London and Wall Street, exercise some pressure against independent economic initiatives.

To a limited degree, US sanctions exploited Russia’s earlier dependence on Western markets, butsince the imposition of draconian sanctions by the Obama regime, Moscow has effectively counteredWashington’s offensive by diversifying its markets to Asia and strengthening domestic self-reliance in its agriculture, industry and high technology.

China has a world-class economy and is on course to become the world’s economic leader.  Feeble threats to ‘sanction’ China have merely exposed Washington’s weakness rather intimidating Beijing.  China has countered US military provocations and threats by expanding its economic market power, increasing its strategic military capacity and shedding dependence on the dollar.

Washington’s high priority targets are not vulnerable to frontal attack: They retain or are increasing their domestic cohesion and economic networks, while upgrading their military capacity to impose completely unacceptable costs on the US for any direct assault.

As a result, the US leaders are forced to rely on incremental, peripheral and proxy attacks with limited results against its high priority adversaries.

Washington will tighten sanctions on North Korea and Venezuela, with dubious prospects of success in the former and a possible pyrrhic victory in the case of Caracas. Iran and Russia can easily overcome proxy interventions.  US allies, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, can badger, propagandize and rail the Persians, but their fears that an out-and-out war against Iran, could quickly destroy Riyadh and Tel Aviv forces them to work in tandem to induce the corrupt US political establishment to push for war over the objections of a war-weary US military and population. Saudi and Israelis can bomb and starve the populations of Yemen and Gaza, which lack any capacity to reply in kind, but Teheran is another matter.

The politicians and propagandists in Washington can blather about Russia’s interference in the US’s corrupt electoral theater and scuttle moves to improve diplomatic ties, but they cannot counter Russia’s growing influence in the Middle East and its expanding trade with Asia, especially China.

In summary, at the global level, the US ‘priority’ targets are unattainable and invulnerable.  In the midst of the on-going inter-elite dogfight within the US, it may be too much to hope for the emergence of any rational policymakers in Washington who could rethink strategic priorities and calibrate policies of mutual accommodation to fit in with global realities.

Medium and Low Priorities, Vulnerabilities and Expectations

Washington can intervene and perhaps inflict severe damage on middle and low priority countries.  However, there are several drawbacks to a full-scale attack.

Yemen, Cuba, Lebanon, Bolivia and Syria are not nations capable of shaping global political and economic alignments.  The most the US can secure in these vulnerable countries are destructive regime changes with massive loss of life, infrastructure and millions of desperate refugees . . . but at great political cost, with prolonged instability and with severe economic losses.

Yemen

The US can push for a total Saudi Royal victory over the starving, cholera-stricken people of Yemen.  But who benefits?  Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a palace upheaval and has no ability to exercise hegemony, despite hundreds of billions of  dollars of US/NATO arms, trainers and bases.  Colonial occupations are costly and yield few, if any, economic benefits, especially from a poor, geographically isolated devastated nation like Yemen.

Cuba

Cuba has a powerful highly professional military backed by a million-member militia.  They are capable of prolonged resistance and can count on international support.  A US invasion of Cuba would require a prolonged occupation and heavy losses.  Decades of economic sanctions haven’t worked and their re-imposition by Trump have not affected the key tourist growth sectors.

President Trump’s ‘symbolic hostility’ does not cut any ice with the major US agro-business groups, which saw Cuba as a market. Over half of the so-called ‘overseas Cubans’ now oppose direct US intervention.

US-funded NGOs can provide some marginal propaganda points but they cannot reverse popular support for Cuba’s mixed ‘socialized’ economy, its excellent public education and health care and its independent foreign policy.

Lebanon

A joint US-Saudi economic blockade and Israeli bombs can destabilize Lebanon.  However, a full-scale prolonged Israeli invasion will cost Jewish lives and foment domestic unrest.  Hezbollah has missiles to counter Israeli bombs.  The Saudi economic blockade will radicalize Lebanese nationalists, especially among the Shia and the Christian populations.  The Washington’s ‘invasion’ of Libya, which did not lose a single US soldier, demonstrates that destructive invasions result in long-term, continent-wide chaos.

A US-Israeli-Saudi war would totally destroy Lebanon but it will destabilize the region and exacerbate conflicts in neighboring countries – Syria, Iran and possibly Iraq.  And Europe will be flooded with millions more desperate refugees.

Syria

The US-Saudi proxy war in Syria suffered serious defeats and the loss of political assets.  Russia gained influence, bases and allies.  Syria retained its sovereignty and forged a battle-hardened national armed force.  Washington can sanction Syria, grab some bases in a few phony ‘Kurdish enclaves’ but it will not advance beyond a stalemate and will be widely viewed as an occupying invader.

Syria is vulnerable and continues to be a middle-range target on the US enemy list but it offers few prospects of advancing US imperial power, beyond some limited ties with an unstable Kurd enclave, susceptible to internecine warfare, and risking major Turkish retaliation.

Bolivia and Nicaragua

Bolivia and Nicaragua are minor irritants on the US enemy list. US regional policymakers recognize that neither country exercises global or even regional power.  Moreover, both regimes rejected radical politics in practice and co-exist with powerful and influential local oligarchs and international MNC’s linked to the US.

Their foreign policy critiques, which are mostly for domestic consumption, are neutralized by the near total US influence in the OAS and the major neo-liberal regimes in Latin America.  It appears that the US will accommodate these marginalized rhetorical adversaries rather than risk provoking any revival of radical nationalist or socialist mass movements erupting in La Paz or Managua.

Conclusion

A brief examination of Washington’s ‘list of enemies’ reveals that the limited chances of success even among vulnerable targets.  Clearly, in this evolving world power configuration, US money and markets will not alter the power equation.

US allies, like Saudi Arabia, spend enormous amounts of money attacking a devastated nation, but they destroy markets while losing wars.  Powerful adversaries, like China, Russia and Iran, are not vulnerable and offer the Pentagon few prospects of military conquest in the foreseeable future.

Sanctions, or economic wars have failed to subdue adversaries in North Korea, Russia, Cuba and Iran.  The ‘enemy list’ has cost the US prestige, money and markets – a very peculiar imperialist balance sheet.  Russia now exceeds the US in wheat production and exports.  Gone are the days when US agro-exports dominated world trade including trade with Moscow.

Enemy lists are easy to compose, but effective policies are difficult to implement against rivals with dynamic economies and powerful military preparedness.

The US would regain some of its credibility if it operated within the contexts of global realities and pursued a win-win agenda instead of remaining a consistent loser in a zero-sum game.

Rational leaders could negotiate reciprocal trade agreements with China, which would develop high tech, finance and agro-commercial ties with manufacturers and services.  Rational leaders could develop joint Middle East economic and peace agreements, recognizing the reality of a Russian-Iranian-Lebanese Hezbollah and Syrian alliance.

As it stands, Washington’s ‘enemy list’ continues to be composed and imposed by its own irrational leaders, pro-Israel maniacs and Russophobes in the Democratic Party – with no acknowledgement of current realities.

For Americans, the list of domestic enemies is long and well known, what we lack is a civilian political leadership to replace these serial mis-leaders.

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