Loony Trump Has Repeatedly Pushed for US to Invade Venezuela

Trump Has Repeatedly Pushed for US to Invade Venezuela

Aides struggle to talk Trump out of launching invasion

In August of 2017, President Trump surprised many by openly talking about the idea of launching a military attack on Venezuela. The public talk of this didn’t last long, and it has been all but forgotten. But not forgotten by President Trump.

Aides say that since August President Trump has repeatedly pushed aides on the matter, and that a number of different cabinet members have had to take turns trying to talk Trump out of the idea. They have succeeded so far, but Trump hasn’t dropped the idea.

Of course, there is no Congressional authorization, or anything resembling it, on the books authorizing a US invasion of Venezuela. This did not appear to faze Trump, however, and he argued to his cabinet that Venezuela was a threat to regional security, so he should just invade and be done with it.

This shocked members of his cabinet, including former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. They were both opposed to the idea, but it’s less clear if their successors, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, would have a problem with this sort of unprovoked US attack

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USA behind the Nicaragua bloodbath

The US`s Fingerprints Are All Over Nicaragua`s Bloody Civil Unrest

SEE ALSO The Salvador Option: The US Is Once Again Supporting Death Squads in Central America

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Bloody protests against Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega’s government have the United State’s fingerprints all over it.  Over 100 people have been killed since the civil unrest broke out in mid-April and it doesn’t take much to realize the US government is fueling the bloodbath.

According to RT, the so-called marea rosa, or “pink tide”, of allied leftist governmentswhich held sway across Latin America in previous years is being rolled back. Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff was removed from power in a right-wing coup, co-conspirators of which have now managed to imprison the current presidential frontrunner, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno has stabbed his former leader Rafael Correa in the back by barring him from seeking re-election, while seemingly purging his cabinet of remaining Correa loyalists and beginning the process of allowing the US military back into the country

These are all coalescing as other democratic and not-so-democratic removals of leftist governments from power continue. NATO has nabbed itself a foothold in the Latin American region, now that Colombia has joined the obsolete yet aggressively expanding Cold War alliance, in a thinly veiled threat to neighboring authoritarian Venezuela.

Now it’s Nicaragua’s turn for the US to interfere in the government’s efforts to “police the entire world,” paid with by our stolen tax money, of course. Student demonstrations began in the capital Managua as a reaction to the country’s failure to handle forest fires in one of the most protected areas of the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve. The situation was then exacerbated when, two days later, the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front announced it was slashing pensions and social security payments, sparking further anti-government protests. Targeted opposition violence along with police repressions have led to a mounting body count on both sides. Violence persists in the country, despite the fact that President Ortega has now ditched the proposed welfare reforms and has been engaging in talks with the opposition.

The government has adamantly denied it was responsible for snipers killing at least 15 people at a recent demonstration. And, while we may never know what really happened, it’s fair to say an embattled national leadership in the midst of peace talks has little to gain from people being gunned down in front of the world’s media at an opposition march on Mother’s Day. All I’ll say on the matter is it’s not like we didn’t have mysterious sharpshooters picking off protesters during US-supported coups in Venezuela and Ukraine. –RT

It is unsurprising then that the US is apparently attempting to capitalize on the growing discontent, stoking dissent among the youth in a deliberate attempt to destabilize the Sandinista government. Infamously nefarious US soft power organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy, also known as the CIA’s ‘legal window’, have set up extensive networks in Nicaragua. Among the leading Nicaraguan student activists currently touring Europe to garner support for the anti-government movement is Jessica Cisneros. Cisneros is a member of the Movimiento Civico de Juventudes, which is funded by Madeline Albright’s National Democratic Institute (NDI). Albright is the former US Secretary of State that said that 500,000 Iraqi Children dying as a result of US sanctions against Saddam Hussein was “worth it”.

If the idea of Washington supporting progressive anti-government forces in Latin America confuses you, then you’re failing to grasp the nature of US interference. During the Cold War, for example, the US supported both the Mujahideen inAfghanistan as well as eastern European trade unionists against the Soviet Union. Indeed, throughout the Syrian conflict, Washington has been arming leftist groups alongside jihadist organizations. It goes without saying that, despite US politicians getting all dewy-eyed over “freedom fighters,” the likes of Jihadists or even trade unionists are not welcome in US society. –RT

It isn’t like the US never interferes, in fact, if it can, it will. And unfortunately, all we get is the bill and the knowing that our tax dollars are being used to slaughter human beings we don’t even know.

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

The Venezuelan “Petro” – Towards a New World Reserve Currency?

February 22, 2018

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

The Venezuelan “Petro” – Towards a New World Reserve Currency?

Imagine an international currency backed by energy? By a raw material that the entire world needs, not gold – which has hardly any productive use, but whose value is mostly speculative – not hot air like the US dollar. Not fiat money like the US-dollar and the Euro largely made by private banks without any economic substance whatsoever, and which are coercive. But a currency based on the very source for economic output – energy.

On February 20, 2018, Venezuela has launched the “Petro” (PTR), a government-made and controlled cryptocurrency, based on Venezuela’s huge petrol reserves of about 301 billion barrels of petrol. The Petro’s value will fluctuate with the market price of petrol, currently around US$61 per barrel of crude. The Petro was essentially created to avoid and circumvent illegal US sanctions, dollar blockades, confiscations of assets abroad, as well as to escape illegal manipulations from Florida of the Bolivarian Republic’s local currency, the Bolívar, via the black-market dollars flooding Venezuela; and, not least, to trade internationally in a non-US-dollar linked currency. The Petro is a largely government controlled blockchain currency, totally outside the reach of the US Federal Reserve (FED) and Wall Street – and it is based on the value of the world’s key energy, hydrocarbons, of which Venezuela has the world’s largest proven reserves.

In a first batch Venezuela released 100 million Petros, backed by 5.342 billion barrels of crude from the Ayacucho oil fields of Orinoco; a mere 5% of total proven Venezuelan reserves. Of the 100 million, 82.4% will be offered to the market in two stages, an initial private Pre-Sale of 38.4% of so-called non-minable ‘tokens’, followed by a public offering of 44% of the cryptomoney. The remaining 17.6 million are reserved for the government, i.e. the Venezuelan Authority for Cryptomoney and Related Activities, SUPCACVEN.

When launching the currency, on 20 February 2018, Vice-president Tareck El Aissami declared, “Today, the Petro was born and we will formally launch the initial pre-sale of the Venezuelan Petro. Venezuela has placed herself in the vanguard of the future. Today is a historic day. Venezuela is the first nation to launch a cryptomoney, entirely backed by her reserves and her natural riches.” President Maduro has later affirmed that his country has already entered contracts with important trading partners and the world’s major blockchain currencies.

Can you imagine what this means? – It sets a new paradigm for international trade, for safe payment systems that cannot be tampered with by the FED, Wall Street, SWIFT, New York courts, and other Washington puppets, like the European Central Bank (ECB), the unelected European Commission (EC) and other EU-associated Brussels institutions. It will allow economic development outside illegal ‘sanctions’. The Petro is a shining light for new found freedom from a hegemonic dollar oppression.

What is valid for Venezuela can be valid for other countries eager to detach from the tyrannical Anglo-Zion financial system. – Imagine, other countries following Venezuela’s example, other energy producers, many if not most of whom would be happy to get out from under the Yankee’s boots of blood dollars inundating the world thanks to uncountable wars and conflicts they finance – and millions of innocent people they help kill.

Rumors have it, that in a last-ditch effort to salvage the faltering dollar, the FED might order the IMF to revert to some kind of a gold standard, blood-stained gold. – Of the 2,300 to 3,400 tons of gold mined every year around the globe, it is estimated that about a quarter to a third is illegally begotten, so called ‘blood’ gold, extracted under the most horrendous conditions of violence, murder, opaque mafia-type living (and dying) conditions, child labor, sexual enslavement of women, many of whom way under-age, abject poisoning of humans with heavy metals, mercury, cyanite, arsenic and more, contamination of surface and underground water ways, vast illegal deforestation of tropical rain forests – and more. That’s the legacy of gold, the MSM, of course, doesn’t talk about.

That’s what the west based its monetary system on until 1971, when Nixon decided to replace gold with the fiat dollar which then became de facto the world’s major reserve currency, albeit declining rapidly over the last twenty years. In desperation, Washington might want to apply another gold-based international norm to salvage the faltering dollar. Of course, a norm designed to favor the US, with the rest of the western and developing world destined to absorb the astronomical US debt.

Since the world’s major goldmining corporation and the illegal gold-digging mafia networks work hand-in-hand, smuggled gold works its way intricately into the dominium of shady traders, many of whom also deal with so-called white gold (drug powder), washing gold and drug-money simultaneously, thereby confounding and obscuring the origins of either. Eventually this illegal gold is purchased by major gold mining or refining corporations mixed with ‘legal’ gold, so that the illegal portion is no longer traceable.

Therefore, every ounce of gold that would back our money, the purchases of our livelihoods would be smeared in blood, in children’s abuse and death, in murdered and enslaved women and men, in poisoned water ways and in a contaminated environment. But the world wouldn’t go for it. No more. There are healthier and more transparent physical assets to back up international currencies, i.e. the Petro, backed by energy. Though not free from socio-environmental damage, petrol-energy may gradually convert into alternative sources of energy, like solar, wind and aquatic power or a combination of all of them.

What the world is to aim for is a monetary system based on each nation’s or group of nations or societies economic output. Today it’s the other way around – it’s the fiat money, designed by the Anglo-Zionist masters of finance, that defines economies. Thus, economies in our western world are prone to be manipulated by the rulers and their institutions – FED, IMF, World Bank, World Trade Organization (WTO) – that support the debt / interest-based monetary rules – they are purposefully maneuvered into booms and busts. With every bust, more capital is transferred from the bottom to the top, from the poor to an ever-smaller elite. The energy-based Petro is a first step away from this sham.

Imagine the Petro was to become the new OPEC currency! The world would need Petros, as it used to need US dollars to buy hydrocarbon energy. But Petros are blockchain-safe, less vulnerable for manipulation. They are not coercive, they are not made for blackmailing ‘unwilling’ nations into submission; they are not tools for violence. They are instruments of equitable production and trade. They are also instruments of protection from the fiat money abuses.

The world’s ten largest hydrocarbon producers

Ranking Country Petrol (billion barrels)
1 Venezuela 300.9
2 Saudi Arabia 266.5
3 Canada 169.7
4 Iran 158.4
5 Iraq 142.5
6 Kuwait 101.5
7 Emirates 97.8
8 Russia 80.0
9 Libya 48.4
10 Nigeria 37.1
Total 1,402.8

Source: http://geab.eu/en/top-10-countries-with-the-worlds-biggest-oil-reserves/

have a capital base of 1.4 trillion barrels of crude. Not bad to start a worldwide cryptocurrency, based on energy, controlled by energy and by all those who will use energy – that might become a world reserve currency, at par with the Chinese economy- and gold-backed Yuan, but much safer than the fiat currencies of the US-dollar, Euro, British Pound and Japanese Yen.

We are talking about a seismic paradigm shift. Its potential is unfathomable. The move away from the US-dollar hegemony might result in an implosion of the western monetary structure as we know it. It may stop the predator empire of the United States in its tracks, by simply decimating her economy of fraud, built on military might, exploitation and colonization of the world, on racism, and on a bulldozing scruple-less killing machine. The Petro, a secured cryptocurrency based on energy that everybody needs, might become the precursor for an international payment and trading scheme towards a more balanced and equitable approach to worldwide socioeconomy development.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. 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 3 0 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

Trump Administration Planning Pinochet-type Coup in Venezuela

Trump Administration Planning Pinochet-type Coup in Venezuela

WAYNE MADSEN | 05.02.2018 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Trump Administration Planning Pinochet-type Coup in Venezuela

The retrograde Donald Trump administration is planning a military coup in Venezuela to oust the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking at the University of Texas prior to embarking on a multi-nation tour throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, said the military in Latin America has often intervened in Latin American politics during times of serious crises.

Tillerson’s remarks conjured up scenes from America’s dark past in Latin America. To make matters worse, Tillerson invoked the imperialistic Monroe Doctrine of 1823, stressing that it is as “relevant today as it was the day it was written.” The Monroe Doctrine, throughout American history, has been used by the United States to justify military interventions in Latin America, often with the aim of establishing “banana republics” subservient to Washington’s whims.

According to a BBC report, Tillerson prefaced his augmented his remarks by stating that he was “not advocating regime change and that he had no intelligence on any planned action.” Richard Nixon’s National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger made similar remarks before the bloody September 11, 1973 Central Intelligence Agency-backed coup against Chile’s Socialist President Salvador Allende. While publicly rejecting any U.S. involvement in the destabilization of Chile’s democratically-elected government, Kissinger was working behind the scenes with Chile’s armed forces to overthrow and assassinate Allende. Eleven days after the Chilean coup, Kissinger was rewarded by Nixon by being named Secretary of State, along with keeping his National Security Adviser portfolio.

Ever since Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, came to power in 1999, the CIA has attempted at least one military coup — a putsch that was quickly reversed – in 2002, several “color revolution”-style street protests and disruptions, economic warfare, and CIA-initiated general strikes to force both Chavez and Maduro from power.

Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon-Mobil, has long eyed unfettered U.S. control over Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA). Tillerson’s Latin American itinerary betrays his plans for Venezuela. Tillerson will travel to Mexico, a nation that has a troubled relationship with the United States over Trump’s racially-tinged rhetoric. Tillerson and Trump’s National Security Adviser General H. R. McMaster have charged Russia, without an iota of proof, with interfering in Mexico’s current presidential election campaign. Leftist MORENA party candidate, front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or “AMLO,” has had to fend off false charges that he has accepted financing from Russian interests. Right-wing candidate Jose Antonio Meade, Washington’s favorite, has charged that AMLO is backed by Russia. AMLO, calling the charges from Meade — who is running on the ticket of the narco-corrupted Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) – ridiculous, often jokingly wears a jacket bearing the name “Andres Manuelovich.”

Besides Mexico, Tillerson is also visiting Argentina, Peru, Colombia, and Jamaica. Tillerson’s stops belie his actual intentions. Argentina, governed by Mauricio Macri, a real estate developer crony of Trump, and Peru, whose scandal-ridden president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has praised Trump, have led anti-Venezuela actions within the Organization of American States and other international institutions. Colombia has served as a base for CIA-backed paramilitary and intelligence operations against Venezuela. Due to U.S.-led sanctions against Venezuela, Colombia is now home to thousands of Venezuelan economic refugees, fertile ground from which to recruit foot soldiers in a coup against Maduro. All of Tillerson’s stops in Latin America – with the exception of Jamaica — are in countries that are members of the Lima Group, a bloc of nations seeking to peacefully ease Maduro from power in Venezuela.

Tillerson’s stopover in Jamaica is obviously designed to pry away from Venezuela’s orbit, several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) island states that have benefitted from inexpensive oil deliveries from Venezuela. According to the BBC, Tillerson even joked in Texas about Maduro’s ultimate fate: “If the kitchen gets a little too hot for him [Maduro], I am sure that he’s got some friends over in Cuba that could give him a nice hacienda on the beach.” For Venezuelans who support their government, Tillerson’s “joke” was a reminder that Chavez, after temporarily being ousted in the April 2002 coup, was held captive at the Antonio Diaz Naval Air Station on the Venezuelan island of La Orchila. Had the coup not failed, it is believed the United States was going to fly Chavez into exile, possibly to Cuba via the U.S. Naval Station and detainee gulag in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Tillerson, who is apparently still carrying the water for Exxon-Mobil, is reprising the role played by Harold Geneen, the president of International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT). Geneen, working with the CIA, provided $1 million to Allende’s opponent in the 1970 presidential election, Jorge Alessandri. ITT was also discovered to have financially supported the 1973 coup plotters in Chile. In 1964, Geneen and ITT worked with the CIA to overthrow the democratically-elected Brazilian government of Joao Goulart. Today, it is Exxon-Mobil and its plant inside the Trump administration – Tillerson – who are working overtime to play the roles of ITT and Geneen in attempting to overthrow Maduro in Venezuela; imprison on trumped up charges, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the former and possible future presidents of Brazil and Argentina, respectively; and return U.S. “gunboat diplomacy” to the Western hemisphere.

In a news conference in Mexico City, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray rejected Tillerson’s notion of a military coup in Venezuela to oust the Maduro government. Present at the news conference was Canadian External Affair Minister Chrystia Freeland, an outspoken enemy of Venezuela and Russia.

Tillerson has a visceral hatred for Venezuela that transcends Maduro and Chavez. In 1976, a year after Tillerson began working for Exxon, Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez nationalized Venezuela’s oil industry. Among the assets nationalized were Exxon’s holdings in the country. Chavez re-nationalized Exxon-Mobil’s assets in 2007, during Tillerson’s reign over the firm. Exxon-Mobil and Tillerson battled Venezuela over compensation by Caracas. Exxon-Mobil took its case to World Bank arbitration and demanded that Venezuela compensate the company with a $15 billion payment. The bank settled on compensation of only $1.6 billion, an act that ruffled Tillerson’s feathers. Tillerson never forgot that Venezuela won the skirmish over compensation for Exxon-Mobil. Tillerson now intends to even the score by seeking to overthrow Chavez’s successor, Maduro, from power.

In 2015, Exxon-Mobil began oil operations off the coast of Guyana, to Venezuela’s east, in the disputed territory of Essequibo. Although Venezuela and Guyana have sought international arbitration in the case, that did not stop Tillerson, while heading Exxon-Mobil, to order his Guyana subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd., to continue exploring in the disputed region. For Tillerson and his boss, Trump, legal agreements are apparently not worth the paper they are printed on.

While in Jamaica, Tillerson is expected to lean on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to buy out Venezuela’s 49 percent stake in the Jamaican oil refining company, Petrojam. Tillerson wants to subject Caribbean nations, which established cooperative agreements with the Venezuelan oil industry through the PetroCaribe alliance, to cancel those deals to comply with Trump’s punishing Executive Order 13808, which extended “Russia-style” sanctions to Venezuela. Tillerson would like nothing more than to increase Exxon-Mobil’s profits by nixing PetroCaribe agreements with nations like Haiti, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Guyana, Belize, Honduras, Bahamas, Suriname, St. Kitts-Nevis, and St. Lucia, thus forcing Caribbean nations to purchase more expensive oil and gasoline from Exxon-Mobil.

Tillerson has shown the ugly face of the Trump administration to Latin America. It not only wants to deport millions of undocumented Latin American residents of the United States in a mass movement of displaced persons not seen since World War II, but it wants to change, through bloody coups, governments not to Trump’s pleasing throughout Latin America.

SouthFront & The Saker video

February 02, 2018

Original video: https://southfront.org/end-wars-cheap-us/
Original article: http://thesaker.is/the-end-of-the-wars-on-the-cheap-for-the-united-states/
Many thanks to “RS” for redacting the original article for this video!

Now that the Neocons have hamstrung Trump, and with Trump’s planned impeachment and removal from office still in the future, the world must deal with the dangerous decline of the USA-led power bloc, because the Neocons are back in power and will do anything to reverse this trend. It is obvious that the only “solution” that the Neocons see is to trigger another war. So the question is: “Whom will they  strike?”

If the Neocons are out of touch with reality, then everything is possible, even nuking Russia and China. While not dismissing the Neocons’ capacity for violence, it is equally pointless to analyze clearly irrational scenarios, given that modern deterrence theories assume “rational actors” and not madmen running amok.

Assuming a modicum of rational thinking remains in Washington, DC, if the Neocons launch some extreme operation, somebody in the corridors of power will find the courage to prevent it, as Admiral Fallon did with his “Not on my watch!” comment which possibly prevented an attack on Iran in 2007. But the question remains: where could the USA-led power bloc strike next?

The Usual Scenario

The habitual modus operandi is: subvert a weak country, accuse it of human rights violations, impose economic sanctions, trigger riots and militarily intervene to defend “democracy”, “freedom” and “self-determination.” That’s the political recipe. Then there is “the American way of war,” i.e., the way US commanders fight.

During the Cold War, the Pentagon focused on fighting a large conventional war against the Soviet Union that could escalate into nuclear war. Nuclear aspects aside, such a war’s conventional dimension is “heavy”: large formations, lots of armor and artillery. Immense logistical efforts on both sides are required, which would consequently engender deep-strikes on second echelon forces, supply dumps and strategic infrastructure, and a defense in depth in key sectors. The battlefield would be hundreds of kilometers deep on both sides of the front line. Military defenses would be prepared in two, possibly three, echelons. In the Cold War, the Soviet 2nd strategic echelon in Europe was in the Ukraine! — which  inherited huge ammo dumps from Soviet times, so there has been no shortage of weapons on either side to wage the Ukrainian civil war. With the Soviet Union’s collapse, this threat rapidly disappeared. Ultimately, the Gulf War provided the US military and NATO one last, big, conventional war, but it soon became clear to US strategists that the “heavy war” era was over and that armored brigades weren’t the Pentagon’s most useful tool.

So US strategists, mostly from Special Operation Forces, developed “war on the cheap.” First, the CIA funds, arms and trains local insurgents; next, US Special Forces embed with the insurgents as front line soldiers who direct close support aircraft to strike enemy forces; finally, enough aircraft are deployed in and around the combat zone to support 24 hour combat operations. The objective is to provide overwhelming firepower advantage to friendly insurgents.

US and “coalition” forces then advance until they come under fire and, unless they rapidly prevail, they call in airstrikes which result in a huge BOOM!!! – followed by the enemy’s annihilation. The process repeats as necessary for easy, cheap victories over outgunned enemies. The strategy is enhanced by providing the insurgents with better gear (anti-tank weapons, night vision, communications, etc.) and bringing in Pentagon or allied forces, or mercenaries, to defeat really tough targets.

While many in the US military were deeply skeptical, Special Forces dominance and the temporary success of “war on the cheap” in Afghanistan made it immensely popular with US politicians and policy advocates. Moreover, this “cheap” warfare resulted in very few American casualties, with a high degree of “plausible deniability” should something go wrong. The alphabet soup agencies loved it.

But the early euphoria about US invincibility overlooked three very risky assumptions about “war on the cheap”:

First, it required a deeply demoralized enemy who felt that resistance to the USA was futile, because even if the US forces were initially limited in size and capabilities, the Americans could always bring in more forces.

Second, it assumed total battlefield air superiority by the US, since Americans prefer not to provide close air support when they can be shot down by enemy forces.

Third, it required local insurgents who physically occupy and control territory.

But none of these assumptions are necessarily true, and even better said, the USA-led power bloc has  run out of countries in which these assumptions still apply.

Let’s take a closer look.

Hezbollah, Lebanon 2006

This war involved Israel, not the USA, but it nicely illustrates the principle. While superior Hezbollah tactics and battlefield preparation played important roles, and Russian anti-tank weapons permitted Hezbollah to destroy the most advanced Israeli tanks, the most important result was that a small, weak Arab force showed no fear whatsoever against the supposedly invincible Israeli military.

British reporter, Robert Fisk, was the first person to detect the implications of this change. Fisk observed that in the past Arabs were intimidated by Israeli military power, that if the IDF crossed the Lebanese border, for instance, that Palestinians fled to Beirut. However, beginning with the 2006 Israeli assault on southern Lebanon all of that changed. A small, “outgunned” Arab force was not afraid to stand its ground and fight back against the IDF.

It was a huge change. What Hezbollah achieved in 2006 is now repeated in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere. The fear of the “sole superpower” is gone, replaced by a burning desire to settle the score with the USA-led power bloc and its occupation forces.

Hezbollah also proved another very important thing: the winning strategy against a superior enemy is not to protect yourself against his attacks, but to deny him a lucrative target. Put simply: “a cammo tent is better than a bunker.” The more academic way to put it is: “don’t contest your enemy’s superiority – make it irrelevant.”

In retrospect, the most formidable weapon of the USA-led power bloc was not the nuclear bomb or the aircraft carrier, but a huge public relations machine which for decades convinced the world of US invincibility, superior weapons, better trained soldiers, more advanced tactics, etc. But this is total nonsense – the US military is nothing like the glorified image projected to the world! When did the US last win a war against a capable adversary? The Japanese in WWII?

Russian Operation, Syria 2015

The Russian operation in Syria was neither a case of “the Russians are coming” nor “the war is over.” The Russians sent a very small force, This force did not so much defeat Daesh as change the war’s political context. The Russians made American intervention much harder politically, and also kept them from waging “war on the cheap” in Syria.

The Russians deployed to Syria without the capabilities which could deny American use of Syrian air space. Even after the Turks shot down the Russian SU-24, the Russians only deployed enough air-defenses and air superiority fighters to protect themselves from a similar Turkish attack. Even today, if the Pentagon decided to take control of Syrian airspace, the Russians don’t have enough air defenses or combat aircraft to deny Syrian airspace to the Americans. Such an attack would come with very real American political and military costs, true enough, but the realities of modern warfare are such that the tiny Russian air contingent of 33 combat aircraft (of which only 19 can actually contest the Syrian airspace: 4 SU-30s, 6 SU-34s, 9 Su-27s) and an unknown number of S-300/S-400/S-1 Pantsir batteries cannot defeat the combined air power of CENTCOM and NATO.

The problem for the Americans is a matrix of risks, including Russian military capabilities, but also  the political risks of establishing a no-fly zone over Syria. Not only would that further escalate the totally illegal US intervention, it would require a sustained effort to suppress Syrian, and potentially Russian, air defenses; that is something the White House will not do right now, especially when the results of such a risky operation remain unclear. Consequently, the Americans only struck sporadically, with minimal results.

Even worse, the Russians are turning the tables on the Americans and providing the Syrians with close air support, artillery controllers and heavy artillery systems, including multiple-rocket launchers and heavy flamethrowers, all of which are giving the firepower advantage to the Syrians. Paradoxically, the Russians are now fighting a “war on the cheap” while denying this option to the Americans and their allies.

Good Terrorists, aka “FSA”, Syria 2017

The Free Syrian Army’s main weakness is that it doesn’t physically exist! Sure, there are plenty of FSA Syrian exiles in Turkey and elsewhere; there are also many Daesh/al-Qaeda types who try hard to look like FSA; and there are scattered armed groups in Syria who would like to be “the FSA.” But the FSA was always a purely political abstraction. This virtual FSA provided many useful things to the Americans: a propaganda narrative, a pious pretext to send in the CIA, a fig leaf to conceal that Uncle Sam was militarily allied with al-Qaeda and Daesh, and a political ideal to try to unify the world against Assad’s government. But the FSA never provided “boots on the ground” like everybody else: Daesh and al-Qaeda, the Syrians, the Iranians, Hezbollah, the Turks and the Kurds. But since the Takfiris were “officially” the USA’s enemy, the US was limited in the support given to these Wahabi forces. The Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah were demonized, so it was impossible to work with them. That left the Turks, who had terrible relations with the USA after the US-backed coup against Erdogan, and the Kurds, who were not eager to fight and die deep inside Syria and who were regarded with great hostility by Ankara. As the war progressed the terrible reality hit the Americans: they had no “boots on the ground” with which to embed their Special Ops or to support.

A case in point is the American failure in the al-Tanf region near the Jordanian border. The Americans and Jordanians invaded this desert region hoping to sever the lines of communications between the Syrians and Iraqis. Instead, the Syrians cut the Americans off and reached the border first, rendering the American presence useless. It appears that the Americans have given up on al-Tanf, and will withdraw and redeploy elsewhere in Syria.

So Who Is Next – Venezuela?

History shows that the Americans have always had problem with their local “allies”. Some were pretty good (South Koreans), others less so (Contras), but US use of local forces always has a risk: the locals often have their own agenda and soon realize that if they depend on the Americans, the Americans also depend on them. Additionally, Americans are not well known for having good “multi-cultural sensitivity and expertise.” They are typically not very knowledgeable about their operating environment, meaning that US intelligence usually becomes aware of problems way too late to fix them (fancy technology can’t substitute for solid, expert human intelligence). The US failure in Syria is an excellent example of this.

Having identified some of the weaknesses of the US “war on the cheap” approach, let’s examine a vulnerability matrix for potential target countries:

Notes: “demoralized enemy” and “air superiority” are guesstimates; “boots on the ground” means an indigenous, combat force in-country (not foreign troops) capable of seizing and holding ground, and not just small insurgent groups or political opposition.

By these criteria, the only candidate for US intervention is Venezuela, where successful US intervention would require a realistic exit strategy. But the US is already overextended and cannot afford to bog down in an unwinnable war. While the Venezuelan opposition could provide “boots on the ground,” the Venezuelan pro-American forces lack the capabilities of the regular armed forces or the Leftist guerrilla groups who tolerated the Chavez-Maduro rule, but who retained their weapons “just in case.” As for terrain, while Caracas might appear relatively “easy” to seize, the rest of the country is more difficult and dangerous. As regards staying power, while Americans like quick victories, Latin American guerrillas have repeatedly proven that they can fight for decades. Therefore, while the USA is probably capable of invading and ravaging Venezuela, it is likely incapable of imposing a new regime and controlling the country.

Conclusion – Afghanistan 2001-2017

Afghanistan is often called the “graveyard of empires,” and Afghanistan may well become the graveyard of the “war on the cheap” doctrine, which is paradoxical since this doctrine was initially applied in Afghanistan with apparent success. Remember the US Special Forces on horseback, directing B-52 airstrikes against retreating Afghan forces? Sixteen years later, the Afghan war has dramatically changed and 90% of US casualties come from IEDs, all the efforts at a political settlement have failed, and victory and withdrawal appear completely impossible. The fact that the USA has now accused Russia of “arming the Taliban” is a powerful indicator of the USA-led power bloc’s desperation. Eventually, the Americans will leave, totally defeated, but for the time being all they will admit to is: “not winning.”

Here’s the dilemma: with the end of the Cold War and Post Cold War, complete US military reform is long overdue, but also politically impossible. The present US armed forces are the bizarre result of the Cold War, the “war on the cheap” years and failed military interventions. In theory, the US should adopt a new national security strategy and a military strategy that supports the national security strategy, and then develop a military doctrine which would produce a force modernization plan incorporating all aspects of military reform, from training to force planning to deployment. It took the Russians over a decade to do this. It will take the Americans at least as long. Right now, such far reaching reform seems years away. Garden variety jingoism (“We’re number one!!”) and deep denial rule the day. As in Russia, it will probably take a truly catastrophic embarrassment (like the first Russian war in Chechnya) to force the Pentagon to face reality. Until then, the ability of US forces to impose their domination on countries which refuse to surrender to threats and sanctions will continue to degrade.

So is Venezuela next? Hopefully not. But if so, it will be one very big mess with much destroyed and little achieved. The USA-led power bloc has long been punching above its weight. Prevailing against Iran or North Korea is clearly beyond current US military capabilities. Attacking Russia or China would be suicidal. Which leaves the Ukraine. The US might possibly send some weapons to the junta in Kiev and organize training camps in the western Ukraine. But that’s about it. None of that will make any real difference anyway, except further aggravate the Russians.

The Russians have succeeded in turning the course of the civil war in Syria with what was an extremely small, if highly skilled, task force.  Now, for the 2nd time, President Putin has announced a major withdrawal of Russian forces.  In contrast, the thoroughly defeated US has not only claimed the credit for defeating ISIS for itself, but has ostentatiously failed to make any announcement about a withdrawal of its own, completely illegal and mostly useless, forces from Syria.  Will they ever learn from their own mistakes?

The era of “wars on the cheap” is over. The world is a different place than it was. The USA has to adapt to this reality, if it wants to retain some level of credibility; but right now it does not appear anybody in Washington, DC is willing to admit this. As a result, the era of major US military interventions might well be coming to an end, even if there will always be some small country to “triumphantly” beat up.

Iran protests: Western salivation, agitation & desperation

December 31, 2017

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker blog

Iran protests: Western salivation, agitation & desperation

I am on vacation and trying to stay away from politics to recharge my batteries, but a sane voice on Iranian politics in English is almost impossible to find, so….

Despite the Western media’s slobbering at the minor protests in Iran, there is no need to fear that Iranian democracy is about to “fall”. Allow me to get right to the heart of the matter and prove why:

What did the 2009 protests prove?

Firstly, that opposition to the Iranian system is obviously a minority, which was immediately indicated back then by the fact that the pro-Ahmadinejad counter-protests were larger – a rarely reported fact. Today there are major pro-government counter-protests now planned all over Iran, but good luck hearing much about that either.

Secondly, and more importantly – and this cannot be disputed whatsoever:

Exactly like in Venezuela this year – there is a hardcore, GRASSROOTS system of citizen supporters who will defend the Iranian Revolution with their lives…because they feel the Iranian Revolution (like Chavismo) has benefited the average citizen so very much. That’s why Venezuelan democracy didn’t fall – it was due to the common person attending a counter-protest, maybe even wielding a garden tool. This is what preserved Venezuelan democracy – not state military action – and this is also what happened in Iran in 2009.

So Iran 2009 and Venezuela 2017 proved that Mao was wrong when he said “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” – if you have enough of the People, all you really need is a makeshift club.

Because true politics – which is far different from pathetically snarky discussions on TV – is ultimately about People Power, and Iran’s government has the People clearly on their side. 2009 proved that if you push the Iranian People to the brink, you will be confronted with their power. (Iran is NOWHERE near the brink right now, of course.)

Iran’s Basij Resistance Bases – or volunteer militias, in Western terms – are far more deeply embedded in all levels of society than Chavismo colectivos. They are more more akin to the Chinese Communist Party (minus the formalised and incredibly rigorous testing and selection policy) as they compose perhaps 11 million people in an 80-million person country. Strikes are basically the only way to get any revolution going, but good luck getting an unjust strike past the Basij branches which are set up among unions, professional organizations, civil servants groups, student groups, industrial workplaces, etc.

And most of these members are unpaid. And they have families who likely feel similarly. And they have friends who clearly aren’t opposed to them…because they are still friends, after all.

So, you see…we are not talking about a “group” – we are basically talking about half of Iran.

Now you can ignore the ironclad reality of such grassroots (i.e. popular democratic) support all you like, but you will never defeat them internally. Never.

For that, as Libya proved, you need NATO bombs. There was huge internal support for the Libyan system: I was there when it started, and I witnessed pro-Ghadaffi protesters, and I was awed by their intensity – but they were overwhelmed by US and French bombs, 40 tons of illegal arms drops by France, a naval and air blockade spearheaded by the UK, Canada and all of Western Europe, etc.

So the analysis above should answer the question on every idiot Western commentator’s lips regarding a possible “fall” of Iran. I simply say: How do you account for the already-proven massive number of people willing to forget about political niceties/compromises and fight FOR Iran’s government?

This is not “tough talk” or “nationalistic talk” on my part – this is reality, and it must be accounted for in any discussion which claims to be serious (or worth having).

Foreign interventions and false flags – also not a worry for Iran

What must also be remembered is that Iran already had their “NATO intervention” – it was called the Iran-Iraq War. For 8 horrible years the West foisted Iraq on Iran, supplied Iraq with weapons, turned a blind eye to the worst chemical weapons atrocities since World War One, and did all they could to create, prolong and influence the deadliest war in the last quarter of the 20th century.

And it was still not enough.

A 2nd phony Western war would also totally backfire in 2018 – have no doubt about that. The Iran-Iraq War created a nationalist unity which Libya did not have; Libya’s revolution did create the highest standard of living in Africa and fewer poor people than the imperialist Netherlands (and free loans, education, health care, etc.), but it was never really tested. Syrians, on the other hand, will soon enjoy a nationalist unity also forged in the crucible of a horribly unjust war.

So there are simply not the type of divisions in Iranian society which the West was able to exploit in Libya. A 2nd phony Western war would undoubtedly be met with a largely-unified response to expel the invaders and Iran would never be fooled by their phony promises; this is evidenced by massive popular support for our right to nuclear energy, even though it is (allegedly) the main source of inhumane sanctions. The Iran-Iraq War not only “made the bones” of the Iranian system, but it is remembered and feared – a return to that will be wildly, massively opposed.

Iran is, in this sense, like Cuba and China: a revolutionary country full of many revolutionaries. There is no irony in their politics, nor any going back.

Iran is definitely one step ahead of Venezuela in another way: their government is not revolutionary, after all, but based on a democratic support for Chavismo that is fundamentally bourgeois (West European democracy). I am not denigrating Venezuela, but they have never instituted the fundamental, wholesale changes which countries like Cuba, China, Vietnam, Eritrea and others have implemented. This commitment to “playing by the rules” of a bourgeois democratic system leaves them very vulnerable and almost welcoming of the very forces which want to destroy the gains democratically won by Chavismo.

And it was not enough in Venezuela, too – Chavismo is still standing. It’s bruised, bloodied and shaky, but it’s still there despite the vast US-led effort against it. The source of the reactionary-foreign capitalist pact against Venezuelan socialism was because Chavistas are, correctly, starting to implement Cuban-style changes to their governmental structure in order to become less bourgeois and more poplar democratic.

What’s a more realistic fear? A Ukraine-style false flag operation.

recently re-broadcast a totally-ignored Italian report on 3 snipers who admitted they were paid to shoot at both sides at Ukraine’s Maidan. That caused the killing of 100 people, massive chaos, the subsequent discrediting of the government and then what still reigns today – horrible civil war.

However, Ukraine is no revolutionary society. The Iranian government would not, and should not, permit an encampment like at Ukraine’s Maidan. Iran is a country which has been besieged by foreign forces for decades, and is no position to allow an “Occupy” type of protest at Zuccotti Park in New York City (razed at night after less than 2 months, with more repression to prevent their return; that’s a slightly better democratic score than other Occupy protests in the US which were stopped much sooner; and a far better score than France, who rousted out their Nuit Debout protesters in Paris every single night, forcing them to rebuild the following day.) because we all know that it would be filled with 10 times more foreign operatives than in Ukraine, i.e., it cannot possibly be as democratic is it would claim to be. There would be Mossad, CIA, MKO, Al-Qaeda, ISIL, Mi5, DGSE and truly the worst of the worst in the world. You cannot compare the US and Iran; Iran is fighting for its life and its sovereignty, while the US government fights to preserve its capitalist inequality.

However, all those foreign, murderous groups will have no problem creating a sort of false-flag which kills hundreds and hundreds of innocent Iranians if it means installing a compliant billionaire puppet like in Ukraine – Iran is far, far richer than Ukraine, after all. And Iran is also the only thorn in the side of Western imperialist capitalism in the Muslim world.

With great power comes great responsibility, and thus Iran’s government is not about to allow a Ukraine-style Maidan to occur. Staggeringly, Iran has seen 17,000 people killed by terrorists since 1979; during this year’s ISIL attacks there was no overreaction such as installing a 2-year state of emergency like in France. Iran both does not mess around with risks and does not needlessly antagonise their own people (which actually means to make another risk).

Two people have died in the protests, and the government declared that security forces fired no bullets, and attributed the death to foreign agents. Given what has happened in Ukraine (and hundreds of other places over the years), and given the massive democratic support the government has…it would be insane and illogical to rush to judgment against the government.

Of course, this is exactly what the Western media is doing. They will desperately blow this out of proportion. They will salivate at the protests, dissimulate regarding their own hypocrisies, agitate for war, and all because they are so desperate to push their anti-Iranian agenda. This is textbook, and the historical modus operandi, and it will not change when the Western calendar turns to 2018 in around 12 hours.

It will likely work to great effect outside of Iran, but inside? No way. Iran is too busy trying to repair our issues – which every society has because humans are not perfect – to be fooled by tabloid journalism.

Are Iranians not permitted to have normal protests?

These protests are economic. Have you not noticed that these have swept much of the world for the past decade?

You might have an insane MKO cult member willing to burn a poster of Khamenei – giving the Western media the chance to blow that out of proportion – but this is an economic protest. But these are not a fruit-seller setting himself on fire, like in Tunisia, to desperately protest corruption, harassment and everyday brutality.

Protests are not unknown in Iran society: Has your country pulled off a silent march larger than Iran in 2009? Remember the silent marches of 2009? 1979 saw more than a small bit of protesting too, let’s remember. These protests are akin to the 3-500 protests per day in supposedly-undemocratic China: more effective government policies are being called for, not a whole new government!

Because these protests are economic, I will insist that the West give the Iranian government as much leeway as they take for themselves when confronted with similar demonstrations.

Waitaminut…I sure hope Iran is not THAT bad!

Because during the age of austerity I have been tear gassed too many times to count while covering economic protests in France. Only because I am a foreign journalist, I have not been among the thousands of arrested pro-democracy protesters; there have been hundreds of banned protests (how many more chilled into silence and thus strangled in the cradle?); plenty of harsh jail sentences of leading activists; countless people hurt by batons and water cannons amid total Western media silence; countless protesters cowed by invasive searches by riot police and the guarantee of rough treatment.

But where were the Western calls for “regime change” in France, like which are pouring from the mouths of Western commentators?

When Hollande and Macron forced through by executive order the widely-opposed capitalist laws which sparked the anti-government protests, where are their accusations of “authoritarianism”?

Of course there were none.

Ugh. I just remembered I’m on vacation…I shouldn’t be wasting me time trying to point out that Iran’s government doesn’t needs to defend their actions to Westerners….

But the crimes of capitalism do not take a vacation

The truth is that Iran’s economic policies – like China, Cuba and everyone else – have been negatively tainted by the anti-socialist and neoliberal ideas which swept the world after the fall of the USSR.

While Iran has implemented an army of pro-socialist ideas which have undeniably redistributed wealth in an amazingly effective fashion, they have also pursued some pro-capitalist and pro-neoliberal ideas – this trend has spared no nation since 1991. The recent economic choices of Cuba and China are no different, but even though Marx said we must use the tools of capitalism in order to create socialism…that necessarily creates economic problems.

Now without a doubt, the main problem with Iran’s economy is simple: international blockade. It is deranged to believe otherwise.

However, the protests can be interpreted as evidence that experimentations with capitalism have not worked – indeed, they never have and never will. Neoliberalism has led to what it always does – inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

These protests are the same as in France: against decreased purchasing power and unemployment. Can’t we have a “normal” protest, LOL? It is sad, but many have been led to believe that Iranians are aliens, but our problems are actually the same as yours!

But Iran does have much better alternatives, however: Khamenei’s pushing of a “resistance economy” – meaning a nationalist economy which rejects capitalism – is in direct opposition to neoliberalism. But – NEWS FLASH – Iran is a democracy; Khamenei is not anything close to an absolute ruler (the translated title of “supreme leader” is quite misleading, LOL); there are supporters of capitalism in Iran.

Thankfully, supporters of capitalism are a minority, as Iran follows what I have termed “Iranian Islamic Socialism”. These protests will lead to economic changes which implement more Islamic and socialist economic principles.

As we all know, these are two things which the Western media hates.

And thus, the Western media wants to ignore these complaints – which reflect near-universal economic hardship amid the Great Recession (even in non-blockaded countries) – and portray all protesters as pushing for the downfall of the Iranian system.

That’s nonsense, and it won’t happen. The reason why is simple: there is widespread democratic support for Iran and the popular, democratic revolution which set up the current system. Again, I am on vacation and I won’t waste more time telling people that the sky is blue – stick your head out the window and if you still disagree: it must be nighttime, you blockhead.

A minor point: a common Western trope is that these protests are in response to the “wasted resources” caused by lending support and solidarity to places like Palestine, Syria and Iraq. However, polls of Iranians show there is massive support for giving material and military support to these countries. (“In general, to what degree do you support or oppose Iran providing help to”: Hezbollah (71% approve), government of Assad (66% approve), Hamas (70% approve) Shiites and Kurds in Iraq fighting ISIL (88% approve), Iran should send military personnel to Syria(63% approve)) Clearly, the naysayers are in the minority: therefore, changing these policies would be undemocratic. Of course, the West would be ecstatic if Iran was no longer around to thwart their imperial projects. However, Iran’s politicians work in a democracy: if they want to win re-election, they will continue with these popular policies.

A final point: Why are democratic protests for policy reform a “sign of a vibrant and healthy democracy” when they occur in the West…but “an indicator people want to bring down the system” whenever they occur in non-Western countries? Ultimately, these protests will be heeded and, like all genuine protests, will make Iranian democracy stronger and the country better.

But as far as believing the Western media’s coverage of Iran’s protests – which is both uninformed and not remotely objective (and capitalist-imperialist, of course) — I suggest following my lead: enjoy your vacation instead.

Happy Western New Year to all!

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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.

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