Presstitutes Abandon Journalism For Political Activism

By Paul Craig Roberts

November 09, 2018 Information Clearing House  When President Trump nominated Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General, the presstitutes were opposed to Sessions and declared him unfit for office. Now that he has been fired, the presstitutes are his champions.

There are reports that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has organized a protest march for today denouncing Trump for firing Sessions. https://news.grabien.com/story-msnbcs-maddow-organizing-street-marches-protest-sessions-fir

CNN’s Jake Tapper added his view of the firing as “that’s how gangsters act” and got John Dean from the Watergate era to delare that Sessions’ firing was “planned like a murder.” https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/11/07/saturday-night-massacre-sessions-john-dean-jake-tapper-newsroom-intv-bts-vpx.cnn

It is the same story elsewhere in the presstitute media.

The presstitutes are upset about Sessions being fired, because Sessions recused himself from the Russiagate investigation, thus permitting Mueller to go beyond his mandate. Mueller’s indictment of Manafort, for example, has nothing whatsoever to do with Russiagate. The Trump-hating presstitutes and Trump-hating Democrats still hope to make something of the investigation that has come up completely empty after two years, whereas a functioning attorney general will close down the investigation as having found nothing and wandered off into unrelated matters.

As Maddow illustrates, the presstitutes have become political activists who use their media positions not to report, but to campaign against Trump, whether it is Maddow over Sessions or CNN’s Jim Acosta over the caravan from Honduras.https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2018/11/07/white-house-suspends-jim-acostas-press-pass-after-combative-briefing/

Did Acosta show any concern for Hondurans when “America’s First Black President” overthrew the democratically elected government and installed Washington’s man?

Indeed, Larry King, a CNN host for 25 years said that CNN stopped doing news in order to do in Trump.https://thehill.com/homenews/media/415669-larry-king-hits-cnn-stopped-doing-news-to-focus-on-trump

NPR plays the same game. It is Trump, Trump, Trump every day.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the WestHow America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

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Iraq parliament calls for US forces to leave

Source

MEMO | November 10, 2018

Iraqi MP Ahmed Al Asadi, senior leader of the Iraqi Construction Alliance [File photo]

Iraqi MP Ahmad Al-Assadi, senior leader of the Iraqi Construction Alliance, revealed on Friday parliamentarian moves to pressure the Iraqi government to evict US forces from the country.

Al-Assadi said that the previous Iraqi parliament had started the calls, but now the new parliament was calling for a clear timetable for the US withdrawal from Iraq, Arabi21 reported. He added that US forces had entered the country at the request of the Iraqi government for training purposes and assistance in fighting Daesh.

Yet Al-Assadi stressed that: “After the big victory against these gangs [Daesh], the Iraqi government has the right to evaluate the need for American forces to remain on Iraqi soil”. He also said that the calls for US forces to leave would be doubled during the next parliamentary term, noting that the parliament was likely to accept the existence of advisors and trainers based only on the need specified by the authorities.

Regarding the position of the government, Al-Assadi said: “The government has the right to estimate its need for advisors and trainers. The parliamentary discussions, which called for revealing the number, places and need for the American forces were not closed”.

He stressed however that the parliament is entitled to make the final decision regarding whether US forces remain in Iraq or are asked to withdraw.

Time to Get US Forces Out of Europe Before They Can Start WW3.

Time to Get US Forces Out of Europe Before They Can Start WW3

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2018/11/10/time-to-get-us-forces-out-of-europe-before-they-can-start-ww3/

They’ve been over here for 70 years, but the ‘opaque’ presence of our US allies worries many critics.

[Editors note: I’ll let our US readers in on a little secret – over here in Britain, we really don’t like you and what’s more, we never really have. It’s a most understandable dislike because Yanks that come here have had a nasty habit of the sort of arrogance and disdain for the natives that does not sit well at all with the British. This is something that goes back to WW2, when we were invaded by hordes of Yanks who had too much money, too much arrogance and too few manners, your average Yank simply could not resist complaining about how everything was bigger and better back home and how dismal Britain was. Then there was the rampant racism, the US Army still being a segregated force at that time.

Black US servicemen found that they were far more welcome than their white counterparts as they behaved far better and didn’t emulate the over the top arrogance of their white colleagues. Infact, legion are the tales of groups of white US servicemen getting the holy living snot beaten out of them by British servicemen because the Brits took exception to their blatant racism. It usually went like this: a bunch of white GIs would find their way into a British pub and discover there were already several black GIs there, enjoying the local hospitality. All it then took was one white GI to mutter something about ‘shouldn’t have to drink with niggers’ and it was time for the violence to ensue.

By 1945, Britain had been playing host to these unwanted annoying Yanks for almost three years and we couldn’t wait for them to leave, sadly, they never did, or rather, large numbers remained, US bases were kept open and Britain became a key part of the new US military policy of placing substantial forces in Europe, especially aircraft, including nuclear bombers. Then the US went and stabbed Britain in the back by abruptly terminating the Lend-Lease Agreement and forcing us to sign up for crippling loans that took until 2006 to pay off.

With allies like the US, who needs enemies? The US knew Britain was bankrupt and utterly worn out after fighting so long and so hard, but they still stabbed us in the back, doing all they could to devalue the British currency and cripple Britain’s hopes of post-war rebuilding with the result that it took decades for Britain to recover from the post-war US treachery.

Although Britain has, in the wake of the Cold War, managed to get the US to remove it’s nukes from Britain, we are still host to many US bases and tens of thousands of personnel. The US early warning system is reliant on RAF Menwith Hill and the US needs British airbases for operations in Europe. All of which sits very uneasily with the British people – we want the yanks gone, and gone for good, the ‘special relationship’ never existed outside of the soundbites of politicos and we still don’t like Yanks much at all.

So how do you think Britons feel when we see on TV this bloated orange monstrosity of a man pretending to be US president and doing all he can to destabilise the world and push us ever closer to WW3? I can tell you how we feel – an intense loathing and extreme distaste, we see right through Trump and simply cannot fathom why so may in the US fail to do so too. I guess that stereotype of most Yanks being hopelessly dumb holds a fair bit of water.

Very few in Britain think that remaining in an alliance with the US Evil Empire is desirable, we still collectively remember what it is like to be bombed and to lose large numbers of our young men in futile wars, something the US has yet to experience in anything approaching the same magnitude – perhaps the US needs to see it’s cities burning and it’s young boys thrown into pits, too many to bury properly; to experience the same destruction and warfare that Europe has, then you might wake up and finally do something to get rid of Trump before he starts WW3.

We Europeans will not be holding our breath however….

 

Latest US-Led Air Strikes Kill At Least 80 Syrian Civilians

Latest US-Led Air Strikes Kill at Least 80 Syrian Civilians

 by Brett Wilkins

The US-led coalition against Islamic State has carried out more than 100 new air strikes targeting the militant group’s remaining strongholds in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province, killing at least 80 civilians – including dozens of women and children – in recent weeks.

US-led bombing resumed on October 24 following a particularly deadly period in which scores of Syrian men, women and children were killed in strikes on homes and mosques in and around the village of al-Sousa. On October 24, the UK-based monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported 16 civilians died in an air strike on the Al-Zawiya mosque in Hajin, the fourth coalition bombing of a mosque in less than a week. Local media and monitor groups said dozens more were wounded in the attack. Hajin magazine reported IS was using the mosque as a “headquarters.”

On October 27, SOHR and local media reported that a family of five civilians – a man, his wife and their three children – were killed when their home in Al Boubadran village was bombed. The following day, Baladi News reported 20 civilians, mostly women and children, died in a US-led strike on the town of Al Shaafa. As many as 24 others were wounded in the attack.

Several sources including Baladi News and Free Deir Ezzor Radio reported a total of 17 civilians, including four women and three children, died in an October 30 strike on al-Kushma. Step News Agency reported the victims were the families of IS members. That same day, local media and monitor groups said another four civilians, all from the same family, were killed by a US-led strike on Al Shafaa. A woman and a child were reportedly rescued from beneath the rubble.

On November 3, Smart News Agency and other media and monitors reported that between 14 and 21 civilians, mostly women and children, died when US-led warplanes bombed a house near Khalid bin Walid mosque in Hajin. That same day, Al Shaafa was bombed again, with Al Jazeera and other media and monitors reporting that three young children – identified as siblings Zaid, Ziyad and Aisha I’mad Mahmoud Al-Haj Al-Hussein – died when their home was hit. Another five to 10 civilians were reportedly wounded in the attack.

The US-led anti-IS coalition acknowledged carrying out over 100 air strikes in Syria between October 28 and November 3.

The UK-based journalistic monitor group Airwars estimates at least 6,716 and perhaps as many as more than 10,000 civilians have likely died in more than 30,000 air strikes in Syria and Iraq since former president Barack Obama launched the anti-IS campaign in 2014. Civilian casualties have soared during the administration of President Donald Trump, who promised to “bomb the shit out of” IS and kill their families. Trump loosened rules of engagement meant to protect civilians and in May 2017 Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis announced that the US was shifting from a war of attrition to one of “annihilation” in Syria and Iraq. Mattis raised eyebrows and ire by adding that “civilian casualties are a fact of life” that cannot be avoided in such a war.

In the wider US-led war against terrorism, at least hundreds of thousands and likely more than a million men, women and children have died in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria since October 2001. Since the nuclear war waged against Japan in August 1945, US forces have killed more foreign civilians than any other armed force in the world, by far.

Brett Wilkins is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and journalist, as well as editor-at-large for US news at Digital Journal. His work, which focuses on issues of war and peace and human rights, is archived at www.brettwilkins.com.

Nations the World Over Disapprove of US Foreign Policy, Except for israel (apartheid state)

Nations the World Over Disapprove of US Foreign Policy, Except for Israel

You don’t need a Pew poll to know which way the world thinks. But it is useful.

Last week, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the US embargo against Cuba. A total of 189 member-nations said Cuba did not deserve this embargo, which began in 1961 and has continued unabated to this day. Only two countries – the United States and Israel – voted against the motion. No country abstained.Cuba’s minister for foreign affairs, Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla, has said the US embargo has cost the small socialist island state upwards of US$933.678 billion, with the losses in the past year amounting to $4.3 billion (twice the amount of foreign direct investment into the island). This embargo, Rodríguez Parrilla said as he put the resolution forward, is an “act of genocide” against Cuba and its people.

The Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement – both important groupings of the Global South – as well as regional groupings from Africa to Latin America backed the resolution. China’s representative to the UN, Ma Zhaoxu, made the case that the US embargo on Cuba prevented the island from meeting its obligations to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Last year, the United States strengthened the embargo with an attack on the tourism sector (83 hotels were placed on the banned list). It is likely that President Donald Trump’s administration will deepen its assault on Cuba.

Threats by the United States did not convert the vote of otherwise reliable US allies. Each year since 1992 a resolution of this kind has come before the UN General Assembly. Each year the world has overwhelmingly voted against the US embargo. This year was no different.

 

World worried about the United States

You don’t need a Pew poll to know which way the world thinks.

But it is useful. Last month, Pew Research Center released a poll that looked at the image of Donald Trump and the United States in 25 countries around the world. In most countries, neither Trump nor the United States come off well. Seventy percent of the populations in these countries have no confidence in Trump. The same proportion of people believe that the United States does not take the interests of other countries into consideration when moving policies forward. This is evident with the US embargo on Cuba.

Neither the people of Canada nor Mexico – the closest neighbors of the United States – have a favorable view of either Trump or the United States. Only Israel, which voted with the United States over the embargo on Cuba, has a high opinion of Trump and of the US.

Beyond the Pew poll, it is evident from the atmosphere in the United Nations that the countries of the world – even close US allies – fear US policy on a number of issues. Cuba is a canary in the coal mine. But even clearer is the US policy of ramping up sanctions against Iran.

 

World does not want to strangle Iran

At the debate over the US embargo on Cuba, Iran’s representative to the UN, Gholamali Khoshroo, detailed how the US had withdrawn from several international agreements and how it had failed to implement UN Security Council resolutions that it did not like.

Behind Khoshroo’s comments lay the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal agreed upon by Iran and the UN Security Council members, the United Nations and the European Union. This deal was sanctified by a Security Council resolution. Trump’s unilateral move to scuttle the nuclear deal and the return of sanctions against Iran this week replicates, Khoshroo intimated, the long-standing and unpopular sanctions against Cuba. The United States, he said, should “sincerely apologize” to the people of Cuba and Iran.

As the new US sanctions regime went into place against Iran, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Ankara, “US sanctions on Iran are wrong. For us, they are steps aimed at unbalancing the world. We don’t want to live in an imperialist world.”

Erdogan is not alone here. Even countries with close ties to the United States, such as India and Japan, are against the sanctions. They may not use words like “imperialist,” but their actions clearly bristle at the heavy-handedness of the US government when it comes to its use of instruments such as financial sanctions.

It was clear that China was never going to honor the new US sanctions on Iran. Nor were Turkey and Iraq, and nor were the three large economies of Asia that rely on Iranian oil (India, Japan and South Korea). No wonder the United States gave these countries waivers to the sanctions.

Some countries, including India and Japan, have been discussing the need for an alternative financial system so that they can do trade with countries that are sanctioned by the United States. They do not believe that the US should be allowed to suffocate world trade through its control over banking systems and through the world’s reliance on the dollar. Pressure to build alternatives no longer comes from the margins; it comes from Tokyo and New Delhi, from Frankfurt and Seoul.

One major casualty of the US sanctions on Iran will be Afghanistan, already ripped apart by almost two decades of war. Afghanistan relies on Iranian oil and, during this year, non-oil trade rose by 30%. India’s project to help build a port in Chabahar is linked to opening new land routes into Afghanistan.

Just as the US sanctions went into place against Iran, Ahmad Reshad Popal, director general of Afghanistan’s Customs Department, opened the Farah crossing to Iranian goods – a snub to US policy. Even Afghanistan, virtually under US occupation, cannot abide by the US policy on Iran. Nor even can the NATO troops in Afghanistan, whose trucks are fueled in part by Iranian oil.

 

World does not want ‘Iraq war’ in Latin America

George W Bush used the term “axis of evil” to lump together Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Of the three, the US was only able to go to war against Iraq, in 2003. Pressure for regime change in North Korea was held back by its nuclear-weapons program, while pressure for regime change in Iran continues.

Donald Trump has now come up with a new term – “troika of tyranny,” which comprises Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. In Miami, Trump’s close adviser John Bolton gave a speech where he inaugurated this term.

He spoke of the right-wing turn in Latin America and the isolation – as far as he was concerned – of socialist governments. Bolton celebrated the election of men such as Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Ivan Duque in Colombia, men who he said were committed to “free-market principles and open, transparent, and accountable governance.” No mention here of the grotesque views of Bolsonaro or the militarism of both men.

Bolton called the leaders of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela “strongmen.” But there is no more “clownish, pitiful” figure – to borrow from Bolton – than Bolsonaro, no more authoritarian heads of government than Bolsonaro, Duque and Trump. Duque has taken Colombia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a sign that the Colombian military will now answer more to Washington than to the Colombian people.

In his speech, Bolton threatened the governments in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Trump’s administration, he said, “is taking direct action against all three regimes” – “direct action” a key phrase here.

Such actions against these countries are not new.

The United States invaded Cuba in 1898 and held it as a virtual colony until the Cuban Revolution of 1959. Pressure on the Cuban Revolution intensified by 1961, with the US forcing an embargo on the island, attempting an invasion of the country and attempting to assassinate the leadership of the revolution.

US marines entered Nicaragua in 1909 and occupied the country until 1933. When the marines left, the national liberation forces under Augusto César Sandino attempted to free the country. Sandino was assassinated, and a US-backed dictatorship by the Somoza family ruled the country until 1979. That year, the Sandinistas – named after Sandino – overthrew the dictatorship. In response, the US funded the Contras (short form for counter-revolutionary forces), who prosecuted a bloody war against the small country.

Ever since Hugo Chavez came to power in Venezuela, the US has tried to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution that he inaugurated. A failed coup in 2002 was followed up by various forms of intimidation and sanctions. In 2015, US president Barack Obama declared that Venezuela was an “extraordinary threat to US security” and slapped sanctions on the country. It is this policy that Trump has since continued.

Itchy fingers in the Trump administration are eager to start a shooting war somewhere in Latin America – either Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela. The appetite for this is not there in the United Nations. Nor is it shared in Latin America. But that has never stopped the United States.

Disregard for world opinion as well as the opinion of the US citizenry defines the US government. Thirty-six million people around the world, half a million of them in New York City, protested on February 15, 2003, in an attempt to prevent the US war on Iraq. George W Bush did not pay attention to them. Nor will Trump.

Last August, Trump asked his advisers why the US couldn’t just invade Venezuela. The next day, on August 11, 2017, he said he was considering the “military option” for Venezuela. At a private dinner with four Latin American allies, Trump asked if they wanted the US to invade Venezuela. Each of them said no.

Not sure if their opinions count.

Top Photo | A six-meter high cartoon baby blimp of U.S. President Donald Trump is flown as a protest against his visit, in Parliament Square in London, England, July 13, 2018. Matt Dunham | AP

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, journalist, commentator, and a Marxist intellectual. He is the Executive Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and the Chief Editor of LeftWord Books

Source | This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

US Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan Killed 500,000 People

Source

Over 60,000 US troops either killed or wounded in conflicts

Jason Ditz

Brown University has released a new study on the cost in lives of America’s Post-9/11 Wars, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The study estimates between 480,000 and 507,000 people were killed in the course of the three conflicts.

This includes combatant deaths and civilian deaths in fighting and war violence. Civilians make up over half of the roughly 500,000 killed, with both opposition fighters and US-backed foreign military forces each sustaining in excess of 100,000 deaths as well.

This is admittedly a dramatic under-report of people killed in the wars, as it only attempts to calculate those killed directly in war violence, and not the massive number of others civilians who died from infrastructure damage or other indirect results of the wars. The list also excludes the US war in Syria, which itself stakes claims to another 500,000 killed since 2011.

The report also notes that over 60,000 US troops were either killed or wounded in the course of the wars. This includes 6,951 US military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11.

The Brown study also faults the US for having done very little in the last 17 years to provide transparency to the country about the scope of the conflicts, concluding that they are “inhibited by governments determined to paint a rosy picture of perfect execution and progress.”

Those wishing to read the full Brown University study can find a PDF version here.

Disregard for world opinion defines the US government

World Rejects Dangerous US Foreign Policy

 by Vijay Prashad

Last week, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the US embargo against Cuba. A total of 189 member-nations said Cuba did not deserve this embargo, which began in 1961 and has continued unabated to this day. Only two countries – the United States and Israel – voted against the motion. No country abstained.

Cuba’s minister for foreign affairs, Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla, has said the US embargo has cost the small socialist island state upwards of US$933.678 billion, with the losses in the past year amounting to $4.3 billion (twice the amount of foreign direct investment into the island). This embargo, Rodríguez Parrilla said as he put the resolution forward, is an “act of genocide” against Cuba and its people.

The Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement – both important groupings of the Global South – as well as regional groupings from Africa to Latin America backed the resolution. China’s representative to the UN, Ma Zhaoxu, made the case that the US embargo on Cuba prevented the island from meeting its obligations to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Threats by the United States did not convert the vote of otherwise reliable US allies. Each year since 1992 a resolution of this kind has come before the UN General Assembly. Each year the world has overwhelmingly voted against the US embargo. This year was no different.

World worried about the United States

You don’t need a Pew poll to know which way the world thinks.

But it is useful. Last month, Pew Research Center released a poll that looked at the image of Donald Trump and the United States in 25 countries around the world. In most countries, neither Trump nor the United States come off well. Seventy percent of the populations in these countries have no confidence in Trump. The same proportion of people believe that the United States does not take the interests of other countries into consideration when moving policies forward. This is evident with the US embargo on Cuba.

Neither the people of Canada nor Mexico – the closest neighbors of the United States – have a favorable view of either Trump or the United States. Only Israel, which voted with the United States over the embargo on Cuba, has a high opinion of Trump and of the US.

Beyond the Pew poll, it is evident from the atmosphere in the United Nations that the countries of the world – even close US allies – fear US policy on a number of issues. Cuba is a canary in the coal mine. But even clearer is the US policy of ramping up sanctions against Iran.

World does not want to strangle Iran

At the debate over the US embargo on Cuba, Iran’s representative to the UN, Gholamali Khoshroo, detailed how the US had withdrawn from several international agreements and how it had failed to implement UN Security Council resolutions that it did not like.

Behind Khoshroo’s comments lay the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal agreed upon by Iran and the UN Security Council members, the United Nations and the European Union. This deal was sanctified by a Security Council resolution. Trump’s unilateral move to scuttle the nuclear deal and the return of sanctions against Iran this week replicates, Khoshroo intimated, the long-standing and unpopular sanctions against Cuba. The United States, he said, should “sincerely apologize” to the people of Cuba and Iran.

As the new US sanctions regime went into place against Iran, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Ankara, “US sanctions on Iran are wrong. For us, they are steps aimed at unbalancing the world. We don’t want to live in an imperialist world.”

Erdogan is not alone here. Even countries with close ties to the United States, such as India and Japan, are against the sanctions. They may not use words like “imperialist,” but their actions clearly bristle at the heavy-handedness of the US government when it comes to its use of instruments such as financial sanctions.

It was clear that China was never going to honor the new US sanctions on Iran. Nor were Turkey and Iraq, and nor were the three large economies of Asia that rely on Iranian oil (India, Japan and South Korea). No wonder the United States gave these countries waivers to the sanctions.

Some countries, including India and Japan, have been discussing the need for an alternative financial system so that they can do trade with countries that are sanctioned by the United States. They do not believe that the US should be allowed to suffocate world trade through its control over banking systems and through the world’s reliance on the dollar. Pressure to build alternatives no longer comes from the margins; it comes from Tokyo and New Delhi, from Frankfurt and Seoul.

One major casualty of the US sanctions on Iran will be Afghanistan, already ripped apart by almost two decades of war. Afghanistan relies on Iranian oil and, during this year, non-oil trade rose by 30%. India’s project to help build a port in Chabahar is linked to opening new land routes into Afghanistan.

Just as the US sanctions went into place against Iran, Ahmad Reshad Popal, director general of Afghanistan’s Customs Department, opened the Farah crossing to Iranian goods – a snub to US policy. Even Afghanistan, virtually under US occupation, cannot abide by the US policy on Iran. Nor even can the NATO troops in Afghanistan, whose trucks are fueled in part by Iranian oil.

World does not want ‘Iraq war’ in Latin America

George W Bush used the term “axis of evil” to lump together Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Of the three, the US was only able to go to war against Iraq, in 2003. Pressure for regime change in North Korea was held back by its nuclear-weapons program, while pressure for regime change in Iran continues.

Donald Trump has now come up with a new term – “troika of tyranny,” which comprises Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. In Miami, Trump’s close adviser John Bolton gave a speech where he inaugurated this term.

He spoke of the right-wing turn in Latin America and the isolation – as far as he was concerned – of socialist governments. Bolton celebrated the election of men such as Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Ivan Duque in Colombia, men who he said were committed to “free-market principles and open, transparent, and accountable governance.” No mention here of the grotesque views of Bolsonaro or the militarism of both men.

Bolton called the leaders of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela “strongmen.” But there is no more “clownish, pitiful” figure – to borrow from Bolton – than Bolsonaro, no more authoritarian heads of government than Bolsonaro, Duque and Trump. Duque has taken Colombia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a sign that the Colombian military will now answer more to Washington than to the Colombian people.

In his speech, Bolton threatened the governments in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Trump’s administration, he said, “is taking direct action against all three regimes” – “direct action” a key phrase here.

Such actions against these countries are not new.

The United States invaded Cuba in 1898 and held it as a virtual colony until the Cuban Revolution of 1959. Pressure on the Cuban Revolution intensified by 1961, with the US forcing an embargo on the island, attempting an invasion of the country and attempting to assassinate the leadership of the revolution.

US marines entered Nicaragua in 1909 and occupied the country until 1933. When the marines left, the national liberation forces under Augusto César Sandino attempted to free the country. Sandino was assassinated, and a US-backed dictatorship by the Somoza family ruled the country until 1979. That year, the Sandinistas – named after Sandino – overthrew the dictatorship. In response, the US funded the Contras (short form for counter-revolutionary forces), who prosecuted a bloody war against the small country.

Ever since Hugo Chavez came to power in Venezuela, the US has tried to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution that he inaugurated. A failed coup in 2002 was followed up by various forms of intimidation and sanctions. In 2015, US president Barack Obama declared that Venezuela was an “extraordinary threat to US security” and slapped sanctions on the country. It is this policy that Trump has since continued.

Itchy fingers in the Trump administration are eager to start a shooting war somewhere in Latin America – either Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela. The appetite for this is not there in the United Nations. Nor is it shared in Latin America. But that has never stopped the United States.

Disregard for world opinion as well as the opinion of the US citizenry defines the US government. Thirty-six million people around the world, half a million of them in New York City, protested on February 15, 2003, in an attempt to prevent the US war on Iraq. George W Bush did not pay attention to them. Nor will Trump.

Last August, Trump asked his advisers why the US couldn’t just invade Venezuela. The next day, on August 11, 2017, he said he was considering the “military option” for Venezuela. At a private dinner with four Latin American allies, Trump asked if they wanted the US to invade Venezuela. Each of them said no.

Not sure if their opinions count.

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute, which provided it to Asia Times

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