Maduro: We Are All Part of Axis of Resistance

June 21, 2022

By Staff, Khamenei.ir

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the ‘Axis of Resistance’ is not just confined to certain countries across the world, but it refers to all those fighting colonialism and hegemonic powers.

“The Axis of Resistance exists throughout the world; it exists in Africa, in Asia, in the Middle East, in Latin America and in the Caribbean. The Resistance also belongs to the people who are fighting against neoliberalism, racism and various forms of colonization, political, economic, cultural colonization and cyber colonization,” Maduro said in an exclusive interview with the official website of Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei that was published on Monday.

“All of us who fight against colonialism, all of us who fight to decolonize our minds and our people, are part of the Axis of Resistance that stands against the methods of the imperialists for imposing hegemony on the world,” he added.

Maduro: We Are All Part of Axis of Resistance

Lauding the deeds of the Axis of Resistance throughout the years, Maduro said, “The 21st century is our century. It is the century of the unity of the people. It is the century in which people will be liberated. It is the century of justice and truth. Empires are in decline, and people’s projects for well-being, development and greatness have just begun. This century is our century.”

Pointing to a recent meeting with Imam Khamenei and the His Eminence’s statement about the very close relationship between Iran and Venezuela, Maduro said, “Since Commander Hugo Chavez’s first visit in 2001, Iran and Venezuela have established exemplary political, diplomatic, moral, and spiritual ties.”

“During this current trip, I’ve witnessed how there is an exemplary relationship between us in terms of our increasing cooperation. We’ve had many successes. So Imam Khamenei is right when he states that the relationship between the two countries is quite unique and extraordinary,” he noted.

Asked about his latest assertion regarding the Zionist occupation regime’s conspiracies against Venezuela through Mossad, Maduro said, “Imperialism and Zionism are conspiring against the progressive, revolutionary processes taking place in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially the Bolivarian Revolution.”

The Venezuelan president stressed, “This is because we are a true alternative, an alternative of truth and justice, an alternative of freedom, an alternative of democracy, and an alternative for realizing projects that are fully humane in the Latin American region and the Caribbean Sea. In addition to this, Mossad’s conspiracies are due to our strong position of solidarity with the Palestinian people and our support of them for their regaining their historical rights and for the Palestinian Resistance. Our support of them is strong and unique, and we will continue supporting them in this manner.”

Asked about the role of Iran’s anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and the Quds Force over the last 20 years in strengthening the relationship between Tehran and Caracas, Maduro said he met General Soleimani in March and April of 2019 when he came to Venezuela during the time of US’ cyberattacks against the country’s power plants.

“I really didn’t know. I didn’t know him. I didn’t know how amazing he was, but the discussion I had with him was very pleasant. We reviewed everything during our meeting and he immediately suggested we get help from Iranian experts. Two or three days later, Iranian experts came to repair electrical services in Venezuela,” he added.

In response to a question regarding a saying by Imam Khamenei that, “If Prophet Issa [Peace upon Him] were among us today, he wouldn’t miss a moment to fight the leaders of global oppression and arrogance,” Maduro said, “We’re believing Christians. We’re the type of Christians who take action while praying and thinking. And Christ came into this world to fight the Empires. He came to confront the Roman Empires. He risked his life. He sacrificed his life to fight the Roman Empire.”

The Venezuelan leader said, “If there’s one good thing I can say about Christianity, it is its anti-imperialist nature and its seeking of truth and justice against the oppressors. I have no doubt that if Christ were among us today, he would have been at the forefront of the battle against imperialism, colonialism and all forms of oppression.”

During the interview, Maduro pointed to several meetings he had had with Imam Khamenei over the years as well as the meeting between Chavez and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

“I’ve always admired Imam Khamenei’s excellent memory. That he recalls the memories of those days is important. In the talks that I have had with him, he has recalled some of the conversations he had with Commander Chavez where Commander Chavez shared some of his memories about Cuba and Commander Fidel Castro. There was a time when a hurricane was heading straight toward Cuba. It was a Category 5 hurricane. A conversation took place between Fidel and Chavez. Fidel said, “Chavez! What you need to do right now is to pray. Pray for us!” Chavez started praying. That day passed and the hurricane changed its course. It didn’t cross over Cuba. Chavez called Fidel and said, “It’s a miracle!” Fidel replied, “Yes, it’s because God helps Chavez and Chavez’s friends.” In the last talk that I had with Imam Khamenei, he told me this story in a friendly, kind way in memory of Commander Chavez and Commander Fidel Castro,” he said.

“Holding a conversation with Imam Khamenei truly fills one with spirituality and wisdom. He likes the Venezuelan people. He likes the people’s ideals, and he always offers us great ideas and recommendations,” Maduro underlined.

World War 3 for dummies

June 18, 2022

Source

By Gaius Baltar

Some knowledgeable people, apparently including the Pope, are beginning to suspect that there may be more going on in the world than just the war in the Ukraine. They say that World War 3 has already started and things will get worse from now on. This can be difficult to determine while we are participating in the unfolding events and do not have the benefit of the historical perspective. It is doubtful that people back in 1939 realized that they were looking at the start of a major worldwide conflict, although some may have suspected it.

The current global situation is in many ways like a giant jigsaw puzzle where the general public only sees a tiny part of the complete picture. Most don’t even realize that there may be more pieces and don’t even ask these simple questions: Why is all this happening and why is it happening now?

Things are more complicated than most people realize. What they see is the evil wizard Vladimir Saruman Putin invading innocent Ukraine with his orc army – for absolutely no reason. This is a simplistic view, to say the least because nothing happens without a reason. Let’s put things in perspective and see what is really going on – and why the world is going crazy before our eyes. Let’s see what World War 3 is all about.

The pressure cooker

The West (which we can define here as the US and the EU and a few more) has been maintaining pressure on the entire world for decades. This does not only apply to countries outside the West, but also to Western countries which strayed from the diktats of the West’s rulers. This pressure has been discussed widely and attributed to all kinds of motives, including neocolonialism, forced financial hegemony, and so forth. What is interesting, particularly during the last 20 years, is which countries have been pressured and what they do not have in common.

Among the pressured countries we find Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Libya, Syria, Serbia, Thailand, and Iran to mention a few. There have also been recent additions, including India and Hungary. In order to understand why they have been pressured, we need to find out what they have in common. That’s not easy since they are extremely different in most ways. There are democracies and non-democracies, conservative and communist governments, Christian, Muslim and Buddhist countries, and so on. Still, many of them are very clearly allied. One must ask why conservative and religious countries such as Russia or Iran would ally themselves with Godless communists in Cuba and Venezuela.

What all these countries have in common is their desire to run their own affairs; to be independent countries. This is unforgivable in the eyes of the West and must be tackled by any means necessary, including economic sanctions, color revolutions, and outright military aggression.

The West and its NATO military arm had surrounded Russia with hostile countries and military bases, armed and manipulated Ukraine to be used as a hammer against it, and employed sanctions and threats. The same thing was and is happening in Asia where China is being surrounded by all means available. The same applies to all the Independents mentioned above to some extent. In the past 10 years or so the pressure has increased massively on the Independents and it reached almost a fever pitch in the year before the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

During the year before the Ukraine war, the US sent its diplomats around the world to tune up the pressure. They were like a traveling circus or a rock band on a tour, but instead of entertainment, they delivered threats: buy this from us and do what we tell you or there will be consequences. The urgency was absolute and palpable, but then came the Ukraine war and the pressure went up to 11. During the first month of the war, the entire West’s diplomatic corps was fully engaged in threats against the ‘rest of the world’ to engineer the isolation of Russia. This didn’t work, which resulted in panic in political and diplomatic circles in the US and Europe.

All this pressure through the years, and all the fear and panic when it didn’t work, are clearly related to the events in the Ukraine. They are a part of the same ‘syndrome’ and have the same cause.

The debt dimension

There have been many explanations for what is going on and the most common is the fight between two possible futures; a multipolar world where there are several power centers in the world, and a unipolar world where the West governs the world. This is correct as far as it goes, but there is another reason which explains why this is happening now and all the urgency and panic in the West.

Recently the New Zealand tech guru Kim Dotcom tweeted a thread about the debt situation in the US. According to him all debt and unfunded liabilities of the US exceed the total value of the entire country, including the land. This situation is not unique to the US. Most countries in the West have debt that can only be paid back by selling the entire country and everything it contains. On top of that, most non-western countries are buried in dollar-denominated debt and are practically owned by the same financiers who own the West.

During the last few decades, the economy of the US and Europe has been falsified on a level that is difficult to believe. We in the West have been living far beyond our means and our currencies have been massively overvalued. We have been able to do this through two mechanisms:

  1. The first one is the reserve status of the dollar and the semi-reserve status of the euro which have enabled the West to export digital money and receive goods in return. This has created enormous financial power for the West and enabled it to function as a parasite on the world economy. We have been getting a lot of goods for free, to put it mildly.
  2. The second falsification mechanism is the increase in debt to a level where we have essentially pawned everything we own, including our houses and lands, to keep up our living standards. We own nothing now when the debt has been subtracted. The debt has long since become unserviceable – far beyond our ability to pay interests on – which explains why the interest rates in the West are in the neighborhood of zero. Any increase would make the debt unserviceable and we would all go formally bankrupt in a day.

On top of all this, the falsification has created artificially strong currencies in the West which has boosted their purchasing power for goods priced in non-western currencies. These mechanisms have also enabled the West to run bloated and dysfunctional service economies where inefficiencies are beyond belief. We have giant groups of people in our economies that not only create no value but destroy value systematically. What maintains the West’s standard of living now is a small minority of productive people, constant debt increase, and parasitism of the rest of the world.

The people who own all this debt actually own everything we think we own. We in the West own nothing at this point – we only think we do. But who are our real owners? We know more or less who they are because they meet every year at the World Economic Forum in Davos along with the western political elites who they also happen to own.

It is clear that our owners have been getting increasingly worried, and their worries have been increasing in sync with the increased pressure applied by the West on the rest of the world, particularly the Independents. During the last Davos meeting, the mood was bleak and panicked at the same time, much like the panic among the western political elites when the isolation of Russia failed.

What is about to happen

The panic of our owners and their politicians is understandable because we have come to the end of the line. We can no longer keep up our living standards by debt increase and parasitism. The debt is reaching beyond what we own as collateral and our currencies are about to become worthless. We will no longer be able to get free stuff from the rest of the world, or pay back our debt – let alone pay interest on it. The entire West is about to go bankrupt and our standard of living is about to go down by a massive percentage. This is what has our owners panicked and they see only two scenarios:

  1. In the first scenario most countries in the West, and everything and everyone within them, declare bankruptcy and erase the debt by diktat – which sovereign states are able to do. This will also erase the wealth and political power of our owners.
  2. In the second scenario, our owners take over the collateral during the bankruptcy. The collateral is us and everything we own.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which scenario was chosen. The plan for the second scenario is ready and being implemented as we speak. It is called ‘The Great Reset’ and was constructed by the people behind the World Economic Forum. This plan is not a secret and can be examined to a certain degree on the WEF website.

The Great Reset is a mechanism for the seizing of all debt collateral which includes your assets, the assets of your city or municipality, the assets of your state, and most corporate assets not already held by our owners.

This asset seizure mechanism has several components, but the most important are the following four:

  1. Abolishment of sovereignty: A sovereign (independent) country is a dangerous country because it can choose to default on its debt. The decrease in sovereignty has been a priority for our owners and various schemes have been attempted such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The most successful scheme is undoubtedly the European Union itself.
  2. The down-tuning of the economy: The western economy (and indeed the global economy) must be tuned down by a very significant percentage. This down-tuning is necessary because the western economy is massively falsified now and must be taken down to its real level – which may be as low as half of what it is now – or more. The slow takedown has also the purpose of avoiding a sudden crash that would cause massive social unrest which would be a threat to our owners. A controlled takedown is therefore preferable to an uncontrolled crash. This controlled takedown is already happening and has been going on for quite some time. Many examples can be mentioned of this takedown, including the EU and US energy policy which is designed to sabotage the western economy, and the obvious attempts at demand destruction during and after the epidemic, including the fairly bizarre logistical problems which suddenly came out of nowhere.
  3. Asset harvesting (you will own nothing and be ‘happy’): All assets that can be considered to be collateral to our private and collective/public debt will be taken over. This is a clearly stated aim of the Great Reset but it is less clear how this would be carried out. Total control of western governments (and indeed all governments) would seem to be necessary for this. That precondition is closer than one might think because most western governments seem to be beholden to Davos at this point. The process will be sold as necessary social restructuring because of an economic crisis and global warming and will result in a massive decrease in living standards for regular people, although not the elites.
  4. Oppression: A great many people will not like this and an uprising is a likely response, even if the takedown is done gradually. To prevent this from happening, a social control mechanism is being implemented which will erase personal freedom, the freedom of speech, and privacy. It will also create absolute dependence of the individual on the state. This must be done before the economic takedown can be completed or there will be a revolution. This mechanism is already being implemented enthusiastically in the West as anybody with eyes and ears can see.

Russia, China, and other Independents

How do Russia and China, and the war in Ukraine, factor into all of this? Why all the pressure from the West throughout the years and why all this panic now? Part of the reason for the pressure on the Independents, particularly Russia and China, is simply that they have resisted western hegemony. That is enough for getting on the West’s naughty list. But why the increased pressure in recent years?

The reason is that Russia and China cannot be subjugated through bankruptcy and their assets harvested. They do not have much debt in western currencies which means that the people who own the West through debt do not currently own Russia and China (like they own the West and the indebted ‘third world’) and cannot acquire them through debt. The only way to acquire them is through regime change. Their governments must be weakened by any means, including economic sanctions and military means if necessary -thus the use of Ukraine as a battering ram for Russia and Taiwan for China.

Subjugating Russia and China is an existential issue for our Davos owners because when they take the western economy down, everything else must go down too. If the western economy is taken down and a large economic block doesn’t participate in the downfall, it will be a disaster for the West. The new block will gain massive economic power, and possibly unipolar hegemony of sorts, while the West descends into a feudal Dark Age and irrelevance. Therefore the entire world must go down for the Great Reset to work. Russia and China must be subjugated by any means, as well as India and other stubborn nations.

This is what has fueled the situation we now find ourselves in and will fuel the continuation of World War 3. The western owner-elites are going to war to keep their wealth and power. Everyone who resists must be subjugated so they can follow the West into the planned Great Reset Dark Age.

The reason for the current panic among western elites is that the Ukraine project isn’t going as planned. Instead of Russia being bled on the battlefield, it is Ukraine and the West that bleed. Instead of the Russian economy crashing resulting in Putin’s replacement by a Davos-compatible leader, it is the West’s economy that is crashing. Instead of Russia being isolated, it is the West that is being increasingly isolated. Noting is working, and to top it all off, Europe has given the Russians the means and motive to destroy the European economy by partly shutting down its industry. Without Russian resources, there is no European industry, and without industry, there are no taxes for paying for unemployment benefits, pensions, all the refugees, and pretty much everything else which holds European societies together. The Russians now have the ability to engineer an uncontrolled crash in Europe which is not what Davos planned. An uncontrolled crash might see Davos’s heads roll, literally, and that is causing fear and panic in elite circles. The only solution for them is to move on with World War 3 and hope for the best.

What to do

The Great Reset of the world economy is the direct cause of World War 3 – assuming that is what is going on. What can be done about this? From inside the West, little can be done. The only way is to somehow remove Davos from the equation, but that is most likely not going to happen for two reasons: The first one is that the Davos great resetters are too entwined in the western economy and politics. Davos is like an octopus with its arms and suckers inside every country’s elite circles, media, and government. They are too entrenched to be easily removed. The second reason is that the western population is too brainwashed and ignorant. The level of their brainwashing is such that a large part of them actually want to become poor – although they use the word ‘green’ for ‘poor’ because it sounds better. There are, however, some indications that there may be divisions within western elites. Some of them, particularly within the US, may be resisting the primarily Europe-designed Great Reset – but whether this opposition is real or effective remains to be seen.

However, outside the West, there are certain measures that can be taken and must be taken. Some of those measures are drastic and some of them are being done as we speak. Among the measures are the following:

  1. The Independents, led by Russia, China, and India, must create a block to isolate themselves from the radioactive West. This isolation must not only be economic, but also political and social. Their economic systems must be divorced from the West and made autonomous. Their cultures and history must be defended against western influences and revisionism. This process appears to be underway.
  2. The Independents must immediately ban all western sponsored institutions and NGOs in their countries, regardless of whether they are sponsored by western states or individuals. Furthermore, they must ban all media receiving western sponsorship and strip every school and university of western sponsorship and influence.
  3. They must leave all international institutions up to and possibly including the United Nations because all international bodies are controlled by the West. They must then replace them with new institutions within their block.
  4. They must, at some point, declare the dollar and the euro currencies non grata. That means that they should declare default on all debts denominated in these currencies, but not other debts. This will most likely come at a later stage but is inevitable.

This will create a situation where the West will descend into darkness without pulling others down with it – if we manage to escape the nuclear fire.

FORGET LIBERATING UKRAINE – WE FIRST NEED TO LIBERATE OUR MINDS 

JUNE 10TH, 2022

By Jonathan Cook

Source

Nothing should better qualify me to write about world affairs at the moment – and Western meddling in Ukraine – than the fact that I have intimately followed the twists and turns of Israeli politics for two decades.

We will turn to the wider picture in a moment. But before that, let us consider developments in Israel, as its “historic,” year-old government – which included for the very first time a party representing a section of Israel’s minority of Palestinian citizens – teeters on the brink of collapse.

Crisis struck, as everyone knew it would sooner or later, because the Israeli parliament had to vote on a major issue relating to the occupation: renewing a temporary law that for decades has regularly extended Israel’s legal system outside its territory, applying it to Jewish settlers living on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank.

That law lies at the heart of an Israeli political system that the world’s leading human rights groups, both in Israel and abroad, now belatedly admit has always constituted apartheid. The law ensures that Jewish settlers living in the West Bank in violation of international law receive rights different from, and far superior to, those of the Palestinians that are ruled over by Israel’s occupying military authorities.

The law enshrines the principle of Jim Crow-style inequality, creating two different systems of law in the West Bank: one for Jewish settlers and another for Palestinians. But it does more. Those superior rights, and their enforcement by Israel’s army, have for decades allowed Jewish settlers to rampage against Palestinian rural communities with absolute impunity and steal their land – to the point that Palestinians are now confined to tiny, choked slivers of their own homeland.

In international law, that process is called “forcible transfer,” or what we would think of as ethnic cleansing. It’s a major reason that the settlements are a war crime – a fact that the International Criminal Court in the Hague is finding it very hard to ignore. Israel’s leading politicians and generals would all be tried for war crimes if we lived in a fair, and sane, world.

So what happened when this law came before the parliament for a vote on its renewal? The “historic” government, supposedly a rainbow coalition of leftwing and rightwing Jewish parties joined by a religiously conservative Palestinian party, split on entirely predictable ethnic lines.

Members of the Palestinian party either voted against the law or absented themselves from the vote. All the Jewish parties in the government voted for it. The law failed – and the government is now in trouble – because the rightwing Likud Party of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined the Palestinian parties in voting against the law, in the hope of bringing the government down, even though his legislators are completely committed to the apartheid system it upholds.

UPHOLDING APARTHEID

What is most significant about the vote is that it has revealed something far uglier about Israel’s Jewish tribalism than most Westerners appreciate. It shows that all of Israel’s Jewish parties – even the “nice ones” that are termed leftwing or liberal – are in essence racist.

Most Westerners understand Zionism to be split into two broad camps: the right, including the far-right, and the liberal-left camp.

Today this so-called liberal-left camp is tiny and represented by the Israeli Labour and Meretz parties. Israel’s Labour Party is considered so respectable that Britain’s Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, publicly celebrated the recent restoration of ties after the Israeli party severed connections during the term of Starmer’s predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.

But note this. Not only have the Labour and Meretz parties been sitting for a year in a government led by Naftali Bennett, whose party represents the illegal settlements, they have just voted for the very apartheid law that ensures the settlers get superior rights over Palestinians, including the right to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their land.

In the case of the Israeli Labour Party, that is hardly surprising. Labour founded the first settlements and, apart from a brief period in the late 1990s when it paid lip service to a peace process, always backed to the hilt the apartheid system that enabled the settlements to expand. None of that ever troubled Britain’s Labour Party, apart from when it was led by Corbyn, a genuinely dedicated anti-racist.

But by contrast to Labour, Meretz is an avowedly anti-occupation party. That was the very reason it was founded in the early 1990s. Opposition to the occupation and the settlements is supposedly hardwired into its DNA. So how did it vote for the very apartheid law underpinning the settlements?

UTTER HYPOCRISY

The naïve, or mischievous, will tell you Meretz had no choice because the alternative was Bennett’s government losing the vote – which in fact happened anyway – and reviving the chances of Netanyahu returning to power. Meretz’s hands were supposedly tied.

This argument – of pragmatic necessity – is one we often hear when groups professing to believe one thing act in ways that damage the very thing they say they hold dear.

But Israeli commentator Gideon Levy makes a very telling point that applies far beyond this particular Israeli case.

He notes that Meretz would never have been seen to vote for the apartheid law – whatever the consequences – if the issue had been about transgressing the rights of Israel’s LGBTQ community rather than transgressing Palestinian rights. Meretz, whose leader is gay, has LGBTQ rights at the top of its agenda.

Levy writes: “Two justice systems in the same territory, one for straight people and another for gay people? Is there any circumstance in which this would happen? A single political constellation that could bring it about?”

The same could be said of Labour, even if we believe, as Starmer apparently does, that it is a leftwing party. Its leader, Merav Michaeli, is an ardent feminist.

Would Labour, Levy writes, “ever raise its hand for apartheid laws against [Israeli] women in the West Bank? Two separate legal systems, one for men and another for women? Never. Absolutely not.”

Levy’s point is that even for the so-called Zionist left, Palestinians are inherently inferior by virtue of the fact that they are Palestinian. The Palestinian gay community and Palestinian women are just as affected by the Israel’s apartheid law favoring Jewish settlers as Palestinian men are. So in voting for it, Meretz and Labour showed that they do not care about the rights of Palestinian women or members of the Palestinian LGBTQ community. Their support for women and the gay community is dependent on the ethnicity of those belonging to these groups.

It should not need highlighting how close such a distinction on racial grounds is to the views espoused by the traditional supporters of Jim Crow in the U.S. or apartheid’s supporters in South Africa.

So what makes Meretz and Labour legislators capable of not just utter hypocrisy but such flagrant racism? The answer is Zionism.

Zionism is a form of ideological tribalism that prioritizes Jewish privilege in the legal, military and political realms. However leftwing you consider yourself, if you subscribe to Zionism you regard your ethnic tribalism as supremely important – and for that reason alone, you are racist.

You may not be conscious of your racism, you may not wish to be racist, but by default you are. Ultimately, when push comes to shove, when you perceive your own Jewish tribalism to be under threat from another tribalism, you will revert to type. Your racism will come to fore, just as surely as Meretz’s just did.

DECEPTIVE SOLIDARITY

But of course, there is nothing exceptional about most Israeli Jews or Israel’s Zionist supporters abroad, whether Jewish or not. Tribalism is endemic to the way most of us view the world, and rapidly comes to the surface whenever we perceive our tribe to be in danger.

Most of us can quickly become extreme tribalists. When tribalism relates to more trivial matters, such as supporting a sports team, it mostly manifests in less dangerous forms, such as boorish or aggressive behavior. But if it relates to an ethnic or national group, it encourages a host of more dangerous behaviors: jingoism, racism, discrimination, segregation and warmongering.

As sensitive as Meretz is to its own tribal identities, whether the Jewish one or a solidarity with the LGBTQ community, its sensitivity to the tribal concerns of others can quickly dissolve when that other identity is presented as threatening. Which is why Meretz, in prioritizing its Jewish identity, lacks any meaningful solidarity with Palestinians or even the Palestinian LGBTQ community.

Instead, Meretz’s opposition to the occupation and the settlements often appears more rooted in the sentiment that they are bad for Israel and its relations with the West than that they are a crime against Palestinians.

This inconsistency means we can easily be fooled about who our real allies are. Just because we share a commitment to one thing, such as ending the occupation, it doesn’t necessarily mean we do so for the same reasons – or we attach the same importance to our commitment.

It is easy, for example, for less experienced Palestinian solidarity activists to assume when they hear Meretz politicians that the party will help advance the Palestinian cause. But failing to understand Meretz’s tribal priorities is a recipe for constant disappointment – and futile activism on behalf of Palestinians.

The Oslo “peace” process remained credible in the West for so long only because Westerners misunderstood how it fitted with the tribal priorities of Israelis. Most were ready to back peace in the abstract so long as it did not entail any practical loss of their tribal privileges.

Yitzhak Rabin, the West’s Israeli partner in the Oslo process, showed what such tribalism entailed in the wake of a gun rampage by a settler, Baruch Goldstein, in 1994 that killed and wounded more than 100 Palestinians at worship in the Palestinian city of Hebron.

Rather than using the murder spree as the justification to implement his commitment to remove the small colonies of extreme settlers from Hebron, Rabin put Hebron’s Palestinians under curfew for many months. Those restrictions have never been fully lifted for many of Hebron’s Palestinians and have allowed Jewish settlers to expand their colonies ever since.

HIERARCHY OF TRIBALISMS

There is a further point that needs underscoring, and that the Israel-Palestine case illustrates well. Not all tribalisms are equal, or equally dangerous. Palestinians are quite capable of being tribal too. Just look at the self-righteous posturing of some Hamas leaders, for example.

But whatever delusions Zionists subscribe to, Palestinian tribalism is clearly far less dangerous to Israel than Jewish tribalism is to Palestinians.

Israel, the state representing Jewish tribalists, has the support of all Western governments and major media outlets, as well as most Arab governments, and at the very least the complicity of global institutions. Israel has an army, navy and air force, all of which can rely on the latest, most powerful weaponry, itself heavily subsidized by the U.S. Israel also enjoys special trading status with the West, which has made its economy one of the strongest on the planet.

The idea that Israeli Jews have a greater reason to fear the Palestinians (or in a further delusion, the Arab world) than Palestinians have to fear Israel is easily refuted. Simply consider how many Israeli Jews would wish to exchange places with a Palestinian – whether in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem or from the minority living inside Israel.

The lesson is that there is a hierarchy of tribalisms, and that a tribalism is more dangerous if it enjoys more power. Empowered tribalisms have the ability to cause much greater harm than disempowered tribalisms. Not all tribalisms are equally destructive.

But there is a more significant point. An empowered tribalism necessarily provokes, accentuates and deepens a disempowered tribalism. Zionists often claim that Palestinians are a made-up or imaginary people because they did not identify as Palestinians until after the state of Israel was created. Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously suggested the Palestinians were an invented people.

This was, of course, self-serving nonsense. But it has a kernel of truth that makes it sound plausible. Palestinian identity clarified and intensified as a result of the threat posed by Jewish immigrants arriving from Europe, claiming the Palestinian homeland as their own.

As the saying goes, you don’t always fully appreciate what you have until you face losing it. Palestinians had to sharpen their national identity, and their national ambitions, faced with the threat that someone else was claiming what they had always assumed belonged to them.

SUPERIOR VALUES

So how does all this help us understand our own tribalism in the West?

Not least, whatever the anxieties being encouraged in the West over the supposed threat posed by Russia and China, the reality is that the West’s tribalism – sometimes termed “Western civilization,” or “the rules-based order,” or “the democratic world,” or, even more ludicrously, “the international community” – is by far the most powerful of all tribalisms on the planet. And so also the most dangerous.

Israel’s tribal power, for example, derives almost exclusively from the West’s tribal power. It is an adjunct, an extension, of Western tribal power.

But we need to be a little more specific in our thinking. You and I subscribe to Western tribalism – either consciously or less so, depending on whether we see ourselves as on the right or the left of the political spectrum – because it has been cultivated in us over a lifetime through parenting, schools and the corporate media.

We think West is best. None of us would want to be Russian or Chinese, any more than Israeli Jews would choose to be Palestinian. We implicitly understand that we have privileges over other tribes. And because we are tribal, we assume those privileges are justified in some way. They either derive from our own inherent superiority (a view often associated with the far right) or from a superior culture or traditions (a view usually embracing the moderate right, liberals and parts of the left).

Again, this echoes Zionist views. Israeli Jews on the right tend to believe that they have inherently superior qualities to Palestinians and Arabs, who are seen as primitive, backward or barbarian-terrorists. Overlapping with these assumptions, religious-Zionist Jews tend to imagine that they are superior because they have the one true God on their side.

By contrast, most secular Jews on the left, like the liberals of Meretz, believe that their superiority derives from some vague conception of Western “culture” or civilization that has fostered in them a greater ability to show tolerance and compassion, and act rationally, than do most Palestinians.

Meretz would like to extend that culture to Palestinians to help them benefit from the same civilizing influences. But until that can happen, they, like the Zionist right, view Palestinians primarily as a threat.

Seen in simple terms, Meretz believes they cannot easily empower the Palestinian LGBTQ community, much as they would like to, without also empowering Hamas. And they do not wish to do that because an empowered Hamas, they fear, would not only threaten the Palestinian LGBTQ community but the Israeli one too.

So liberating Palestinians from decades of Israeli military occupation and ethnic cleansing will just have to wait for a more opportune moment – however long that may take, and however many Palestinians must suffer in the meantime.

NEW HITLERS

The parallels with our own, Western worldview should not be hard to perceive.

We understand that our tribalism, our prioritizing of our own privileges in the West, entails suffering for others. But either we assume we are more deserving than other tribes, or we assume others – to become deserving – must first be brought up to our level through education and other civilizing influences. They will just have to suffer in the meantime.

When we read about the “white man’s burden” worldview in history books, we understand – with the benefit of distance from those times – how ugly Western colonialism was. When it is suggested that we might still harbor this kind of tribalism, we get irritated or, more likely, indignant. “Racist – me? Ridiculous!”

Further, our blindness to our own super-empowered Western tribalism makes us oblivious too to the effect our tribalism has on less empowered tribalisms. We imagine ourselves under constant threat from any other tribal group that asserts its own tribalism in the face of our more empowered tribalism.

Some of those threats can be more ideological and amorphous, particularly in recent years: like the supposed “clash of civilisations” against the Islamist extremism of al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

But our preferred enemies have a face, and all too readily can be presented as an improbable stand-in for our template of the bogeyman: Adolf Hitler.

Those new Hitlers pop up one after another, like a whack-a-mole game we can never quite win.

Iraq’s Saddam Hussein – supposedly ready to fire the WMD he didn’t actually have in our direction in less than 45 minutes.

The mad ayatollahs of Iran and their politician-puppets – seeking to build a nuclear bomb to destroy our forward outpost of Israel before presumably turning their warheads on Europe and the U.S.

And then there is the biggest, baddest monster of them all: Vladimir Putin. The mastermind threatening our way of life, our values, or civilization with his mind games, disinformation and control of social media through an army of bots.

EXISTENTIAL THREATS

Because we are as blind to our own tribalism as Meretz is to its racism towards Palestinians, we cannot understand why anyone else might fear us more than we fear them. Our “superior” civilization has cultivated in us a solipsism, a narcissism, that refuses to acknowledge our threatening presence in the world.

The Russians could never be responding to a threat – real or imagined – that we might pose by expanding our military presence right up to Russia’s borders.

The Russians could never see our NATO military alliance as primarily aggressive rather than defensive, as we claim, even though somewhere in a small, dark mental recess where things that make us uncomfortable are shoved we know that Western armies have launched a series of direct wars of aggression against countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and via proxies in Syria, Yemen, Iran and Venezuela.

The Russians could never genuinely fear neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine – groups that until recently Western media worried were growing in power – even after those neo-Nazis were integrated into the Ukrainian military and led what amounts to a civil war against ethnic Russian communities in the country’s east.

In our view, when Putin spoke of the need to de-Nazify Ukraine, he was not amplifying Russians’ justifiable fears of Nazism on their doorstep, given their history, or the threat those groups genuinely pose to ethnic Russian communities nearby. No, he was simply proving that he and the likely majority of Russians who think like he does are insane.

More than that, his hyperbole gave us permission to bring our covert arming of these neo-Nazis groups out into the light. Now we embrace these neo-Nazis, as we do the rest of Ukraine, and send them advanced weaponry – many billions of dollars worth of advanced weaponry.

And while we do this, we self-righteously berate Putin for being a madman and for his disinformation. He is demented or a liar for viewing us as a existential threat to Russia, while we are entirely justified in viewing him as an existential threat to Western civilization.

And so we keep feeding the chimerical devil we fear. And however often our fears are exposed as self-rationalizing, we never learn.

Saddam Hussein posed an earlier existential threat. His non-existent WMDs were going to be placed in his non-existent long-range missiles to destroy us. So we had every right to destroy Iraq first, preemptively. But when those WMDs turned out not to exist, whose fault was it? Not ours, of course. It was Saddam Hussein’s. He didn’t tell us he did not have WMDs. How could we have known? In our view, Iraq ended up being destroyed because Saddam was a strongman who believed his own propaganda, a primitive Arab hoisted by his own petard.

If we paused for a moment and stood outside our own tribalism, we might realize how dangerously narcissistic – quite how mad – we sound. Saddam Hussein did not tell us he had no WMDs, that he had secretly destroyed them many years earlier, because he feared us and our uncontrollable urge to dominate the globe. He feared that, if we knew he lacked those weapons, we might have more of an incentive to attack him and Iraq, either directly or through proxies. It was we who trapped him in his own lie.

And then there is Iran. Our endless fury with the mad ayatollahs – our economic sanctions, our and Israel’s executions of Iran’s scientists, our constant chatter of invasion – are intended to stop Tehran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon that might finally level the Middle East’s playing field with Israel, whom we helped to develop a large nuclear arsenal decades ago.

Iran must be stopped so it cannot destroy Israel and then us. Our fears of the Iranian nuclear threat are paramount. We must strike, directly or through proxies, against its allies in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Gaza. Our entire Middle East policy must be fashioned around the effort to prevent Iran from ever gaining the bomb.

In our madness, we cannot imagine the fears of Iranians, their realistic sense that we pose a much graver threat to them than they could ever pose to us. In the circumstances, to Iranians, a nuclear weapon might surely look like a very wise insurance policy – a deterrence – against our boundless self-righteousness.

VICIOUS CYCLE

Because we are the strongest tribe on the planet, we are also the most deluded, the most propagandized, as well as the most dangerous. We create the reality we think we oppose. We spawn the devils we fear. We force our rivals into the role of bogeyman that makes us feel good about ourselves.

In Israel, Meretz imagines it opposes the occupation. And yet it keeps conspiring in actions – supposedly to aid Israel’s security, like the apartheid law – that justifiably make Palestinians fear for their existence and believe they have no Jewish allies in Israel. Backed into a corner, Palestinians resist, either in an organized fashion, as during their intifada uprisings, or through ineffectual “lone-wolf” attacks by individuals.

But the Zionist tribalism of Meretz – as liberal, humane and caring as they are – means they can perceive only their own existential anxieties; they cannot see themselves as a threat to others or grasp the fears that they and other Zionists provoke in Palestinians. So the Palestinians must be dismissed as religious maniacs, or primitive, or barbarian-terrorists.

This kind of tribalism produces a vicious cycle – for us, as for Israel. Our behaviors based on the assumption of superiority – our greed and aggression – mean we inevitably deepen the tribalisms of others and provoke their resistance. Which in turn rationalizes our assumption that we must act even more tribally, even more greedily, even more aggressively.

CHEERLEADING WAR

We each have more than one tribal identity, of course. We are not only British, French, American, Brazilian. We are Black, Asian, Hispanic, white. We are straight, gay, trans, or something even more complex. We are conservative, liberal, left. We may support a team, or have a faith.

These tribal identities can conflict and interact in complex ways. As Meretz shows, one identity may come to the fore, and recede into the background, depending on circumstances and the perception of threat.

But perhaps most important of all, some tribalisms can be harnessed and manipulated by other, narrower, more covert tribal identities. Remember, not all tribalisms are equal.

Western elites – our politicians, corporate leaders, billionaires – have their own narrow tribalism. They prioritize their own tribe and its interests: making money and retaining power on the world stage. But given how ugly, selfish and destructive this tribe would look were it to stand before us nakedly pursuing power for its own benefit, it promotes its tribal interests in the name of the wider tribe and its “cultural” values.

This elite tribe wages its endless wars for resource control, it oppresses others, it imposes austerity, it wrecks the planet, all in the name of Western civilization.

When we cheerlead the West’s wars; when we reluctantly concede that other societies must be smashed; when we accept that poverty and food banks are an unfortunate byproduct of supposed economic realities, as is the toxifying of the planet, we conspire in advancing not our own tribal interests but someone else’s.

When we send tens of billions of dollars of weapons to Ukraine, we imagine we are being selfless, helping those in trouble, stopping an evil madman, upholding international law, listening to Ukrainians. But our understanding of why events are unfolding as they are in Ukraine, more so than how they are unfolding, has been imposed on us, just as it has on ordinary Ukrainians and ordinary Russians.

We believe we can end the war through more muscle. We assume we can terrorize Russia into withdrawal. Or even more dangerously, we fantasize that we can defeat a nuclear-armed Russia and remove its “madman” president. We cannot imagine that we are only stoking the very fears that drove Russia to invade Ukraine in the first place, the very fears that brought a strongman like Putin to power and sustain him there. We make the situation worse in assuming we are making it better.

So why do we do it?

Because our thoughts are not our own. We are dancing to a tune composed by others whose motives and interests we barely comprehend.

An endless war is not in our interests, nor in those of Ukrainians or Russians. But it might just be in the interests of Western elites that need to “weaken the enemy” to expand their dominance; that need pretexts to hoover up our money for wars that profit them alone; that need to create enemies to shore up the tribalism of Western publics so that we do not start to see things from the point of view of others or wonder whether our own tribalism really serves our interests or those of an elite.

The truth is we are being constantly manipulated, duped, propagandized to advance “values” that are not inherent in our “superior” culture but manufactured for us by the elites’ public-relations arm, the corporate media. We are made into willing co-conspirators in behavior that actually harms us, others, and the planet.

In Ukraine, our very compassion to help is being weaponized in ways that will kill Ukrainians and destroy their communities, just as Meretz’s caring liberalism has spent decades rationalizing the oppression of Palestinians in the name of ending it.

We cannot liberate Ukraine or Russia. But what we can do may, in the long term, prove far more significant: We can start liberating our minds.

Juan Guaidó gets ‘chaired’

June 05, 2022

China to receive two million barrels of Iranian oil, despite US sanctions

Iran has been cooperating with China, Russia, Venezuela, and Cuba in order to bypass the effects of US economic sanctions

May 19 2022

(Photo credit: Press TV)

ByNews Desk

China is scheduled to receive around two million barrels of Iranian crude oil this week that it will pump into an oil terminal in the Zhanjiang city of Guangdong province, southwest of the country.

The oil will be discharged by the Diona crude oil carrier owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), according to Vortexa Analytics, an agency that specializes in tanker tracking.

“This would be the third Iranian oil cargo destined for government stockpile following two similar-sized shipments in December and January,” the agency reported.

Despite ongoing economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the US, China has been purchasing large amounts of Iranian oil over the past two years.

Iran plays a crucial role in the Belt and Road Initiative, a mega-infrastructure and economic initiative launched by Beijing to link the economies of Europe, Asia, and Africa, with an eye on expanding to Latin America.

Over recent years, Iran has played an instrumental role in cooperating with other countries to overcome the effects of punitive US sanctions.

On 3 May, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas to discuss energy relations and ways to overcome the repercussions of US sanctions unilaterally imposed on the two countries.

Venezuela and Iran have recently stepped up energy cooperation to overcome sanctions, with Venezuela importing condensate and thinners from Iran.

Back in January, an Iranian supertanker started discharging about two million barrels of Iranian condensate at the main port of Venezuela’s state-run oil company, as part of a bilateral deal that defies the US sanctions imposed on both nations.

On 17 May, UN Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan said the US must lift economic sanctions on Iran due to the harmful impact they have on the Iranian people.

“I call on the United States to abandon unilateral sanctions,” the UN special rapporteur told a press conference in Tehran.

Douhan went further, saying that the application of “extra-territorial sanctions on Iranian companies or companies working with Iran or paying Iran in dollars is illegal under international law.”

The UN official said she would address her concerns over the legality of US sanctions in her final report, to be published at a later date.

Venezuela Floods: Massive Natural Disaster Displacing 20,000 Families

 ARABI SOURI

Venezuela floods led to massive outages in water, electricity, and communication, it destroyed homes, and farms, and cut off roads; over 20,000 families were displaced.

The government in Caracas announced emergency measures for relief and construction as thousands of more homes were damaged by heavy rains and mudslides, especially in the western regions of the country with flash rain reaching three times the seasonal average.

The video is also available on BitChuteOdysee, and Rumble.

Meanwhile, Venezuela continues to suffer under the inhumane US and Western European embargo and illegal unilateral coercive measures resisting the hegemony of the regimes in Washington to take over the country’s oil industry and gold reserves.

Multiple US-led regime-change operations were foiled by the Venezuelan security, some carried out by Israeli assassins against President Nicolas Maduro.

The current natural disaster hitting the country will not sway the ‘civilized west’ to lift their evilness off the country, they will double down to try to squeeze concession out of the Venezuelan people, their history around the globe spells such behavior.

Syria News is a collaborative effort by two authors only, we end up most of the months paying from our pockets to maintain the site’s presence online, if you like our work and want us to remain online you can help by chipping in a couple of Euros/ Dollars or any other currency so we can meet our site’s costs.

button-PayPal-donate

Your $1.7 billion of gold is now ours, UK tells starving Venezuelans

Dec 26, 2021, 

RT.com

In its prolonged freezing of Venezuelan assets, the UK continues to withhold 31 tons of its gold stored at the Bank of England, with a new Supreme Court ruling supporting the seizure.

The recent decision, CNN reported“ruled that recognition of heads of state and government was solely the responsibility of the British government, which had recognized [opposition leader Juan] Guaidó as Venezuela’s Constitutional interim President.” 

Like most duplicitous corporate media, CNN pushed the narrative that Nicolas Maduro isn’t actually Venezuela’s elected president (he “claimed” the “widely disputed” election). But, as I wrote in March, he is president, and “Venezuela’s election process has been recognized as transparent and effective, with former US President Jimmy Carter in 2012 calling it ‘the best in the world.’ On the other hand, the Venezuelan opposition, as well as Western nations, have interfered with and attempted to sabotage elections.”

In any case, the UK court, drawing on the ‘one voice principle’, decided that because UK leaders like Boris Johnson regard the unbeloved Guaidó as ‘interim president’, he therefore, inexplicably, is – in spite of most of the world not recognizing him as such.

So, Venezuela’s 31 tons of gold deposited at the Bank of England,” remains captive.

Meanwhile, script-reading legacy media are echoing one another in claiming that Venezuela has no right to its own gold, disingenuously promoting the false premise that Guaidó is Venezuela’s president.

The BBC ran with: ‘UK Supreme Court denies Maduro claim to Venezuelan gold’.

Fortune Times gushed: ‘UK Supreme Court thwarts Maduro’s bid to control $1.9bn Venezuela gold.’

How very benevolent of the UK courts to thwart the dastardly elected president of a nation whose population it is allied with the US in relentlessly punishing. 

As any good stooge of imperialism does, Guaidó – the Western puppet previously-unknown to the world, and largely unknown within Venezuela before his self-appointment as ‘president’ – pops up when needed, aka when the US and allies want to hurt the Venezuelan people even further. 

The recent decision, CNN reported“ruled that recognition of heads of state and government was solely the responsibility of the British government, which had recognized [opposition leader Juan] Guaidó as Venezuela’s Constitutional interim President.” 

Like most duplicitous corporate media, CNN pushed the narrative that Nicolas Maduro isn’t actually Venezuela’s elected president (he “claimed” the “widely disputed” election). But, as I wrote in March, he is president, and “Venezuela’s election process has been recognized as transparent and effective, with former US President Jimmy Carter in 2012 calling it ‘the best in the world.’ On the other hand, the Venezuelan opposition, as well as Western nations, have interfered with and attempted to sabotage elections.”

In any case, the UK court, drawing on the ‘one voice principle’, decided that because UK leaders like Boris Johnson regard the unbeloved Guaidó as ‘interim president’, he therefore, inexplicably, is – in spite of most of the world not recognizing him as such.

So, Venezuela’s 31 tons of gold deposited at the Bank of England,” remains captive.

Meanwhile, script-reading legacy media are echoing one another in claiming that Venezuela has no right to its own gold, disingenuously promoting the false premise that Guaidó is Venezuela’s president.

The BBC ran with: ‘UK Supreme Court denies Maduro claim to Venezuelan gold’.

Fortune Times gushed: ‘UK Supreme Court thwarts Maduro’s bid to control $1.9bn Venezuela gold.’

How very benevolent of the UK courts to thwart the dastardly elected president of a nation whose population it is allied with the US in relentlessly punishing. 

As any good stooge of imperialism does, Guaidó – the Western puppet previously-unknown to the world, and largely unknown within Venezuela before his self-appointment as ‘president’ – pops up when needed, aka when the US and allies want to hurt the Venezuelan people even further. 

In a March 2021 article, I opined, “You would have to have been offline or in a coma for the past couple of years to not be aware of some key facts about ‘interim president’ Guaidó. Venezuelans didn’t vote for Guaidó to be president, he hasn’t even stood for president. Venezuelans voted for Maduro. Guaidó named himself ‘interim president’, to the support of only roughly 50 countries – leaving a glaring nearly 150 countries not recognizing this Western-groomed stooge as Venezuela’s leader.”

Contrary to the UK’s re-recognition of this man as the president of Venezuela, as I noted, even the EU dropped its recognition of Guaidó as interim president. 

On-the-ground support for the non-president?

In 2019, I spent several weeks in Caracas, refuting Western pundits’ and media claims that there was chaos following a series of power outages. During that time, I observed protests in support of the government, and sought out the supposedly-massive protests in support of Guaidó (spoiler, I couldn’t find them, in spite of scouring the city on a motorcycle taxi).

In one particularly massive pro-government protest, Venezuelans spoke of media lies about their country and also how they wanted the “Western puppet” Guaidó to be arrested. 

They make it up, it’s all lies, all lies. The only president we recognize is Nicolas Maduro. And we want this man, Juan Guaidó, to be arrested immediately.

In an encounter another day, a woman unleashed, “We didn’t vote for you, Guaidó. We’re not a North American colony. We’re not Colombia. Respect Venezuela. The US wants to steal our resources. Trump, stop f**king us over.”

Up in the hills of Petare, riding on a friend’s motorcycle, wherever we went, we met people who spat on Guaidó and on the West’s lies about Venezuela.

This latest UK court ruling to continue denying Venezuela its gold – and deny the nation a means of providing relief to its uber-sanctioned population, which struggles to get enough food to eat because of it – is not surprising, giving the West’s history of attempting to overthrow Venezuela’s leaders and destabilize the country. 

It needs to be underscored that the same politicians, pundits and media which promote Guaidó as a Venezuelan leader, much less president, and whitewash the UK’s theft of Venezuela’s gold, systematically downplay the deadly sanctions against its people.

RELATED LINKS:

UK Gold Ruling Based on ‘Illegal Interference’ in Venezuela

US-led Sanctions Against Venezuela: A Primer

New US admin stands for same grotesque & brutal policies against Venezuela, shows just how little they actually CARE for people

Venezuela playlist

US is manufacturing a crisis in Venezuela so that there is chaos and ‘needed’ intervention

Maduro to Al Mayadeen: We will not abandon Palestine

December 26, 2021

Net Source: Al Mayadeen

By Al Mayadeen

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro says, in an interview for Al Mayadeen, that the Venezuelan people resisted fierce attacks launched by US imperialism and its allies, and discusses relations with some countries, including Iran and Syria.

Maduro to Al Mayadeen: We will not abandon Palestine

In an exclusive interview with Al Mayadeen, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro noted that 2021 was the first year in which Venezuela registered economic growth since “the beginning of the criminal imperialist US sanctions,”  adding that this growth was the result of Venezuela’s economy which produces food, goods, products, and services. The country has witnessed growth in its industries, trade, and its domestic market as a result of the Venezuelans’ continued effort.

Maduro considered that the people of Venezuela resisted the fierce attacks launched by the US imperial power and its allies around the world, “but we held on and resisted.” Maduro highlighted that the people of Venezuela did not suffice themselves with resistance, rather the important goal they sought after was to achieve progress by way of a collective effort through the stimulation of all economic sectors.

The Venezuelan President revealed that he finds inspiration in Venezuela’s heroic history, stressing the need to believe in the people in order to motivate its sense of pride and ameliorate its strengths, both spiritually and morally. Maduro added that when the individual sees a greater historical cause embodied in himself, he will ascend to the level of the difficulties and challenges that face him.

Al Mayadeen Exclusive | Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro: I find inspiration in #Venezuela’s heroic history. @NicolasMaduro pic.twitter.com/VFv1klL5IW— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) December 26, 2021

According to Maduro, the people of Venezuela were no less than heroes before the challenges they faced, and he as a President had to be up to par with this heroic people. He also needed to have great faith and patience, as well as trust in the future, to rise up to the challenge and enter the battle.

The Venezuelan president pointed out that the late Cuban president, Fidel Castro, had always said that one must fight in all circumstances, fight until the last breath.

Commenting on opposition leader and US favorite Juan Guaido, Maduro described him as a sort of a “political Frankenstein” who was defeated, adding that “imperialism thought that Venezuela was its property” and that it had the ability to appoint a president for the country, through its colonialist comportment.

Nicolas #Maduro on #JuanGuaido: He was a kind of a political “Frankenstein” who was defeated. @NicolasMaduro #Venezuela pic.twitter.com/xKBqt4MYLD— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) December 26, 2021

He further clarified that the people of Venezuela confronted imperialism, and told its leaders and its Guaido that they shall not pass, and indeed they did not.

Maduro called for abandoning imperialism and its Frankenstein in the swamp, stressing that during the previous US administration, Trump appointed a High Commissioner called Elliott Abrams to rule over a “colony called Venezuela,” in accordance with Trump’s neo-colonialist and imperialist perspective.

However, Maduro noted, Abrams was “so shameless that he wrote my wife, asking her to divorce me,” and told her that they would allow her to take her family out of the country. He also added that Abrams asked him to “betray the people of Venezuela, Bolivar’s cause, and Chavez’s legacy, and to hand Venezuela over to US imperialism.

Al Mayadeen Exclusive | Nicolas Maduro: They wanted me to betray the people of #Venezuela#Bolivar’s cause, and #Chavez’s legacy, and to hand Venezuela over to #US imperialism. @NicolasMaduro pic.twitter.com/GvbAAL930v— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) December 26, 2021

According to the Venezuelan President, imperialism’s plans ran into the reality of the high Bolivarian ethical values “that we uphold.” Venezuela also witnessed surprises, which revealed the bravery of many people in this world, such as resistance factions, and movements of solidarity, and heads of states and governments, “that provided us with support and defended us.”

Every traitor of Venezuela is now in history’s ash heap

During his interview for Al Mayadeen, Maduro noted that he had always felt that Venezuela was not alone. At the UN, he said, they [Venezuela’s enemies] tried on numerous occasions to avoid recognizing the legitimacy of our government, and they were beaten by support from the vast majority of governments. He expressed his pride in the world’s solidarity and resistance movements, and their leaders.

Maduro emphasized that he knew who the traitors were, and where to find them, saying that those that attempt to interfere in Venezuela’s affairs will dry out and wither. Each traitor to Venezuela has gone to the ash heap of history, like Lenin Moreno and Mauricio Macri. But, he said, it is best to talk of things beneficial to our peoples, “instead of remembering that trash.” 

Al Mayadeen Exclusive | Nicolas Maduro: Each traitor to #Venezuela has gone to the ash heap of history. @NicolasMaduro pic.twitter.com/lePbDDPpQl— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) December 26, 2021

Venezuela’s President commented on the elections, saying they were exemplary, and some of the monitors were witnesses to our electoral system being the safest and most progressive in the world. He also highlighted that this election was the 29th in the 21 years since the Bolivarian revolution, and marks the 27th victory, and said “ we are a true power,” a power that is always renewing itself in its discourse, in its plans, and its leadership.

Regarding his country’s commitments and challenges, he emphasized the need to meet them. Every time a victory is achieved, Venezuela performs a comprehensive review, accompanied with self-criticism, and studies future plans, he added, stressing that before the year’s end, the plans will be ready for 2022, 2023, and 2024.

According to the Venezuelan President, his country is not living on its past glories, as with every victory they learn their lessons, and find renewed energy and strength for the future; everything is meticulously planned. The secret to building a revolution, he went on to say, lies in self-criticism, which they always do, as they remain vigilant 24 hours a day.

Facing the end of 2021, Maduro declared that he is currently enjoying the sweet taste of victory, and is readying himself to sacrifice and work to achieve new victories in the coming years, and that the National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela are a new body built to be part of this nation. 

The armed forces, he said, raised the banner of independence and fighting imperialism, the banner of freedom, the banner of the great liberator of America, Simon Bolivar. 

Discussing late Venezuelan leader and former President Hugo Chavez, Maduro told Al Mayadeen that he was a great military leader in whom one could find all the elements of comprehensive leadership. He considered that Chavez was the one who restructured the armed forces, giving them a new code based on resistance. He emphasized Venezuela’s armed forces role as the backbone of the revolution and the pillar of democracy and its existence.

The Venezuelan leader saw that imperialism devotes millions of dollars to buy off soldiers in many countries around the world, recruiting them so that they would organize military coups by using them as they did in Paraguay, Bolivia, Honduras, and Chile. Commander Chavez, he said, severed this relationship the United States had with Venezuela and said his country has sovereign military forces, which are the backbone for peace, stability, and democracy in Venezuela.

Chavez’s decision was a great shock

Maduro reminisced on the words of former President Chavez when he had to undergo complex surgery and said that if anything should happen that would impede his ability to perform his duties as president, then Maduro should assume responsibility.

He considered Chavez’s decision to be a great shock because he [Maduro] knew very well that when Chavez thinks of something and makes a decision, it is because he expects that something will happen, clarifying that “us revolutionaries” are obliged to deal with any conditions forced upon them, and as revolutionaries, they must be ready for battle, ready to surmount pain, injury, and grief, and that is what happened.

He expressed his satisfaction for the loyalty he showed Chavez’s legacy, and his honoring of the oath he swore before him and continuing to be in the frontlines of the confrontation, holding the banner of victory, of Venezuela.

Discussing his wife, Maduro said Cilia Flores is first and foremost, a leader from our country, and has had her own history. He added that she was a member of Parliament, a director in the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, and an Attorney General of Venezuela at one point, clarifying that she is firm in her opinions and resolute in her utterances, with people calling her the “first fighter.”

He declared that Flores continuously fights for children, the youth, and for Venezuelan women, and expressed his great pride to be her husband.

We will not abandon Palestine

On the Palestinian cause, President Maduro stressed that no one in the world dares to ask Caracas to abandon Palestine. “We cannot accept such demands. It is a sin to simply think about abandoning Palestine or leaving it by itself.”

“Palestine is humanity’s holy land, and we have the Palestinian land in such high regard. We hear the name ‘Palestine’ loud and high,” Maduro affirmed, condemning the Israeli occupation’s crimes against Palestinians, saying “Israel” would pay for them one day.

The Venezuelan leader sent a message to the Palestinian people, in which he affirmed Venezuela’s, the Venezuelan people’s, and the leader Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian revolution’s support for Palestine. He reiterated his neverending total support of Palestine as Venezuela loves Palestine, all its people, and all its factions.

“We wish Palestine well, and we have cooperation agreements with it – agreements that are going very well. We would like to give more for Palestine,” President Maduro said, calling on the peoples of the world, all of its leaders, all Arabs, and all Islamic leaders not to leave Palestine alone.

He voiced additional support for Palestine, saying it deserved unwavering and fearless support from all world leaders, saying “Palestine is crying out for help; Palestine is asking for your support, crimes are committed against it every day, and its youth are killed every day.”

Al Mayadeen Exclusive | Nicolas Maduro: #Palestine is crying out for help; Palestine is asking for your support, crimes are committed against it every day, and its youth are killed every day.#Venezuela@NicolasMaduro pic.twitter.com/40AGYxyd4C— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) December 26, 2021

Commenting on the latest events in occupied Palestine, namely the Israeli crimes, violations, and abuses, Maduro said the occupation’s crimes were indescribable, and are unmatched in this world, reaffirming his support for the Palestinian people, concluding by dedicating “a big kiss to the heart of Palestine.”

Syria will rise again with Assad

President Maduro talked about Syria and its president Bashar Al-Assad, describing him as a courageous, heroic, fighting man who has a beautiful family and a wonderful people, expressing his regret over what happened to Syria, saying it was “destined to endure a criminal terrorist war.”

Maduro affirmed that the Syrian people have suffered a lot throughout the last 11 years, and they knew how to preserve and win. The Syrian Arab Army, alongside the unified Syrian people and President Bashar Al-Assad, will make Syria rise again and fully liberate it, he declared. 

“The Arab world; the whole world will be amazed at how Syria will resurrect in the following years,” Maduro added.

Moreover, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry will undertake several initiatives in 2020 to reactivate cooperation between Arab countries and Latin America to establish links on both monetary and financial levels, the Venezuelan leader announced.

A lot of things could happen in the coming years between Venezuela and the Arab world, he emphasized, divulging his belief that it will happen.

“I want to use this interview with Al Mayadeen to call on all the leaders, peoples, and investors to invest in Venezuela,” he said.

The leader called his country the land of opportunities, which offers all constitutional and legal guarantees for investments in oil, gas, petrochemicals, tourism, gold, diamonds, iron, steel, aluminum, and foodstuffs.

I thank God for meeting Qassem Soleimani

Speaking about Iran, Maduro said relations with the Islamic Republic have always been really good, “Whether with former President Ahmadinejad, former President Hassan Rouhani, or now with President Ebrahim Raisi.”

Maduro said he agreed on several new plans with President Raisi, and the intergovernmental committee of both countries is working on these new projects which include networking and cooperation between Iran and Venezuela.

The Venezuelan president also voiced his admiration for Iranian Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, describing him as a man of great wisdom and great intelligence.

He revealed that former Quds Force commander martyr Major General Qassem Soleimani visited Venezuela between March and April 2019. “We were in the midst of the electrical crisis launched by the imperialists of the north against Venezuela’s electrical network,” touching on the conversation the two figures had on several areas of cooperation, including electricity. Maduro confirmed that all matters discussed between them went on to be implemented.

The Venezuelan President praised Major General Soleimani, “He was a smiley, optimistic man, and I thank God for ever meeting him.”

He further said, “Soleimani combated terrorism and the brutal terrorist criminals who attacked the peoples of the Axis of resistance. He was a brave man.”

He stressed the importance of learning from these horrific crimes, such as the crime of assassinating martyr Soleimani. “Is this a world we want, where we witness the White House issuing an order to kill a hero of the struggle against terrorism in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon?”

The world must raise its voice again, he underscored, “in condemnation of the murder of the people’s hero, Major General Soleimani.”

President Nicolas Maduro concluded by thanking Al Mayadeen for the attention it gives to peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean and for constantly covering its news on social media, not to mention its cooperation with the Venezuelan TeleSur TV channel.

“We must make more effort toward our spiritual, cultural, and political unification, and we must learn from the struggle and path of each one of our countries,” he concluded.

Venezuela – A Tribute for Endless Pursuit of Democracy

Venezuela – A Tribute for Endless Pursuit of Democracy

September 19, 2020

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

Venezuela is again the shining light of Democracy – pushing ahead with the 6 December National Assembly (NA) elections – despite the endless challenges of covid – of sanctions, of embargos, of confiscation of foreign assets, and even of a totally illicit blockage of reserve currencies – Venezuela’s gold – naturally in the world’s protectorate of international financial fraud, The City of London.

This unique drive for democracy against all odds succeeds to a great degree thanks to President Maduro, who relentlessly resists not only the attempts against his life, but the lies and vilifications about Venezuela from most of the western world, led, of course, by the United States, followed closely by the European Union which, it seems, dominated by NATO, can’t break loose from being at Washington’s bidding.

It is sad to see European states – hands and minds still dripping of colonial blood, not being able to break the stranglehold of their genocidal past – and step onto a new plate, into a new history – fighting for justice and human rights. An example how far from this eye-opening conscientious awakening Europe is, was again demonstrated today by the EU Commission’s call to “sanction” Russia for the totally unproven Navalny poisoning, by stopping the almost completed Nord Stream 2 German-Russian gas pipeline project.

Never mind the absurdity, that Germany and the EU are punishing themselves, not only because alternative badly needed gas supplies will be considerably more expensive – and god forbid – may be coming from US fracking sources. In other words, the EU would approve of an environmental disaster. Many of EU member countries are by their Constitution barred from using fracking gas or oil.

And again, the EU vassalhood – to call it what it is – refused President Maduro’s invitation to observe the December 6 elections. Mr. Maduro went out of his way to invite all the important opinion makers to come and observe the fairness of the elections, including the UN and the Europeans. The latter prefer not to see the correctness with their own eyes, but being able to criticize what they have not seen. There is no darker blindness than that emanating from not wanting to see.

And that of course only, because the European leaders (sic) – all shoe-ins by an international deep state elite – will do whatever it takes to preserve as long as possible the unsustainable – an unfettered, neoliberal no holds barred capitalism. The WEF (World Economic Forum) calls it best: The Great Reset – the upwards reorganization of assets. After the very elite-made global covid hoax has destroyed and continues to devastate most of what was the world economy, what gave work and food to billions of people – people are dwelling in the gutters with nothing left – no health care, no shelter, no food – no hope. The latter is the killer.

Venezuela is the antidote to this western usurping approach to civilization – what’s left of it. Venezuela pursues justice and fights for equality. By the way, Venezuela is in the honorable company of Cuba, Syria, Iran, Russia and China. The US, alias the west, cannot tolerate an example of ethics in its hegemonic orbit. Western allies – united under the boot of NATO – pretend freedom is their cause, while their own people suffer from unfathomable injustice every day – poverty and famine of children is skyrocketing in the Global North, the so-called developed or industrialized world – the bankers world, the world of those who indebt the Global South into dependence, into the Global North’s neo-colonies.

Venezuela, on the contrary, aims at eradicating poverty famine and misery – and that despite her constant strangulation by Washington and their western allies, and even by some of what should be their Latin Brothers, the Lima Group, formed in August 2017 in Lima, Peru (12 members as of December 2019: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana, Saint Lucia, Bolivia and Haiti).

Imagine – how much pressure these Lima Group countries are under to accuse, boycott, denigrate and speak out in international fora against their fellow Latin Americans of Venezuela. Once upon a time there was a United Latin America – united under the leadership of Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar. With the onset of the British Empire’s transatlantic move of its power center to become the United States of America, the southern part of the America’s became what recent US Presidents called “our backyard” – ready to be usurped in any way possible, mostly in the form of military dictatorships and lately by Washington-induced coups against democratically elected heads of states.

However, the spirit of Simon Bolivar, El Libertador, lives on. Together with Nicolas Maduro’s tenacious will for freedom, for autonomy, for full sovereignty for Venezuelans, their use and destiny over natural resources, may prevail and influence upcoming elections in Bolivia (October 2020), Chile (October 2020 referendum on whether a new Constitution ought to be drafted, replacing the one dating back to Pinochet), Brazil (municipal election in November 2020) and Ecuador (general elections in February 2021).

Venezuela’s overarching strength by solidarity and endless fight for justice and Human Rights, brought the opposition to its knees. The right-wing Washington supported opposition, led by self-nominated “president” Juan Guaidó, boycotted past elections, so as not to show their weakness vis-à-vis the rest of the world. Now, perhaps the real head of opposition, Henrique Capriles, is changing tactics. Realizing that the only way to have any say in the political arena of Venezuela is by participating in it, he is calling for participation in the 6 December National Assembly elections.

President Maduro has always invited participation of the opposition in elections and will welcome their presence for the December 2020 NA elections too. Because Democracy is at the heart of Chavismo, the very socialist thought being carried forward – steadily, without wavering, by President Maduro and his Government. – Viva! Venezuela’s Democracy – a shining light for the Americas and for the world.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals such as Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO) and more. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.  Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

George Galloway: American Hegemony

Iranian Coronavirus Aid Flight Arrives In Venezuela despite Continued US Pressure

Iranian Coronavirus Aid Flight Arrives In Venezuela despite Continued US Pressure

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuela said an Iranian flight carrying humanitarian aid for use in the fight against the coronavirus has arrived in the South American country, as Tehran and Caracas move to forge closer ties to blunt the impact of the US sanctions targeting the two nations.

The plane carrying emergency equipment, including medicines and test kits, landed at Venezuela’s Maiquetia airport on Monday to help the country combat the COVID-19 outbreak, Venezuela’s Planning Minister Ricardo Menendez said.

“Right now, what we are receiving is different types of testing kits,” Menendez said on state television, standing on a runway at Maiquetia airport near what appeared to be boxes piled on pallets.

Commenting on the aid delivery, Iran’s Ambassador to Venezuela Hojjatollah Soltani said, “Today we are seeing the arrival of these materials to strengthen Venezuela in its fight against coronavirus.”

Iran — one of the worst-hit states by the coronavirus — has been under a series of draconian American sanctions that are hampering its access to imports of medicine and vital medical equipment.

However, the Islamic Republic has been successful in its efforts to contain the outbreak mainly relying on home-grown efforts for producing treatment and diagnostics.

Venezuela — also subjected to crippling US bans — has so far reported over 2,470 COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths, but health experts have warned that the country’s healthcare system remains vulnerable to the outbreak due to the American embargo.

International aid bodies, including the Human Rights Watch and the Johns Hopkins University’s Centers for Public Health and Human Rights, have warned that the virus outbreak in Venezuela jeopardizes the health of Venezuelans and threatens to contribute to the regional spread of the disease.

In a statement in May, the two humanitarian institutions said “it is critically important for foreign governments to depoliticize aid and for the US government to ensure that existing sanctions do not contribute to the crisis or hinder humanitarian efforts.”

Iran’s aid delivery is the latest sign of growing ties between Iran and Venezuela.

Recently, Iran dispatched five tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela despite threats by the administration of US President Donald Trump to take action against them.

Sanctioned Countries Are Now Leading the World in the Fight Against Coronavirus

By Alan Macleod

Source

Countries currently facing US sanctions, around a quarter of the world’s population, are faring far better than the United States and leading the global fight against COVID-19.

After weeks of dismissing it as a liberal “hoax” designed to unseat the president, brushing the virus off as no big deal and under control, the Trump administration is clearly floundering in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite weeks of warning where it could have taken precautionary steps, the United States currently has four times the confirmed cases and twice the deaths of any other country. At the same time, the countries it is currently placing under economic siege, totaling around a quarter of the world’s population, are faring far better and leading the global fight against the coronavirus.

China, for instance, the first epicenter of the outbreak, has managed to slow its new COVID-19 cases to a trickle, reopening for business after losing 4,632 people – a number that, in the context of a stark April reality, appears impressively low. Although much of the discourse in the West condemns the Chinese government’s supposedly incompetent or slow response to COVID-19, the reality is that Beijing alerted the World Health Organization on December 31, when just 27 cases (and no deaths) had been identified, with authorities not yet even aware that the condition was a coronavirus.

The country is at the forefront of the production and distribution of protective and medical equipment throughout the world and, along with Russia (another sanctioned state) is one of the few nations to fly medical personnel around the world to help other countries. Russia even sent a planeload of cargo to the United States, despite the American sanctions hurting its economy. While their actions have been presented in corporate media as cynically trying to “curry favor” abroad, the aid has been much appreciated in countries suffering under the pandemic. In contrast, the U.S. has led the world in stealing or requisitioning supplies destined for other nations.

Another sanctioned state exporting doctors across the world during the pandemic is Cuba, the island nation is sending medical staff to neighbors like Haiti, Venezuela, Suriname and Jamaica and also further afield to Italy. “This is a global battle and we have to fight it together,” said nurse Carlos Armando Garcia Hernandez, capturing the medical internationalist spirit of Cuban medicine pioneered by Che Guevara, who quipped that, “The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.” A Cuban antiviral drug, Interferon Alpha 2b, has also proved successful in boosting patients’ immune systems, helping them fight off the coronavirus, and is now being used worldwide.

Venezuela, meanwhile, struggling under crippling U.S. sanctions that have claimed the lives of at least 100,000 people according to an American UN Special Rapporteur, has mobilized to fight the virus head on. The country has conducted twice as many tests as any other South American nation, but only 288 COVID-19 cases have been found, leading to only 10 deaths. Even before any cases were confirmed, President Maduro declared a health emergency, quickly closing public buildings like theaters and restaurants. His administration rapidly organized a huge online database where citizens could inform authorities of their symptoms. Medical professionals visited tens of thousands of people in their own homes, distributing test kits and advice. Maduro decreed the suspension of all rent and utility bills during the crisis, also banning the firing of workers.

A testament to the country’s efforts is that thousands of Venezuelan expats in the U.S., at least 92 percent of whom voted against Maduro in the 2013 elections, came back to the country during the pandemic, suggesting they are far more confident in Venezuela’s handling of the crisis.

Meanwhile, Vietnam, a country not currently sanctioned but having faced Washington’s wrath for decades, surely earns the top prize in handling the virus. Despite recording its first positive case just two days after the first American one, authorities have managed to limit the outbreak to just 268 cases and zero deaths. This is not because they are not testing, far from it. In fact, the country has designed, developed and mass produced multiple test kits all costing less than $20 each and giving dependable results in less than 90 minutes.

Those arriving from abroad are quarantined for two weeks while anyone coming to a major city or building has their temperature checked. Whole villages and towns have been fenced off due to one positive test. There is certainly an authoritarian element to their response; those lying about their past whereabouts or found to be spreading false information about the pandemic can face charges. However, the response has hinged upon the strong collective solidarity of the Vietnamese people, many of whom have likened the present events to the Tet Offensive, where millions united in secret to drive the American invaders back in a surprise attack.

In Iran, one of the first global hotspots and a country that planners in the U.S. were gleefully predicting would fall in on itself under the strain, has managed to get to grips with the pandemic. The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 has been falling day-on-day since March 30.

Ironically, Mohammad Morandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, claims the crippling sanctions that blocked Iranian oil exports have inadvertently better prepared them to deal with the total collapse in global oil prices than U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia, the UAE or Qatar.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi@s_m_marandi

Trump blocked Iranian oil exports & inadvertently prepared Iran for the collapse of the oil market.

Are others prepared? Will the Saudi regime survive? UAE? Kuwait? Qatar? US shale? What will happen to the US banking sector & oil industry?

The balance of power is shifting.

While the sanctioned countries vary greatly in their level of human development and the democratic credentials of their governments, they all share one thing in common: they have refused to buy into a U.S.-led neoliberal economic order that appears totally unprepared and unable to come to terms with a globalized pandemic. Countries that have been the most enthusiastic adopters of neoliberalism have, not coincidentally, found their individualistic ideology that promotes greed and discourages collective solutions sorely lacking in tackling a public health crisis that threatens the entire world.

WESTERN LEADERS, SCREW YOUR ‘SANCTIONS TARGET THE REGIME’ BLATHER: SANCTIONS KILL PEOPLE

December 16, 2019, RT.com

-by Eva Bartlett

The US has a favourite tool for bullying non-compliant nations: sanctions. Sanctions inflict considerable suffering, even death, on ordinary people in targeted nations. Yet those defiant nations persist and resist.

A recent opinion piece in the Washington Post proposing a new oil-for-food scheme, this time in Venezuela, surprisingly acknowledges that sanctions “can also end up harming the people that they intend to protect.”

Okay, first off, we know there is no intention of “protecting” civilians in any of the countless countries targeted by Western sanctions. Do Western talking heads really think we’ve forgotten the half-a-million dead Iraqi children, thanks to US sanctions?

Yet, ask a Western leader about crippling sanctions placed on nations which don’t bow to Imperial demands and you’ll be met with some nonsensical explanation that sanctions only target ‘regimes’ and ‘terrorists,’ not the people.

I’ve lived in, spent considerable time in, or visited areas under sanctions and siege, and I’ve seen first hand how sanctions are a form of terrorism, choking civilians, depriving them of basic and urgent medical care, food, employment, and travel entitlements that many of us in Western nations take for granted.

When I was in Syria last October, a man told me his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but because of the sanctions he couldn’t get her the conventional treatments most in the West would avail of.

In 2016, in Aleppo, before it was liberated of al-Qaeda and co, Dr. Nabil Antaki told me how –because of the sanctions– it had taken him well over a year to get a simple part for his gastroenterology practise.

In 2015, visiting Damascus’ University Hospital, where bed after bed was occupied by a child maimed by terrorists’ shelling (from Ghouta), a nurse told me:

We have so many difficulties to ensure that we have antibiotics, specialized medicines, maintenance of the equipment… Because of the sanctions, many parts are not available, we have difficulties obtaining them.

Visiting a prosthetic limbs factory in Damascus in 2016, I was told that, due to the sanctions, smart technology and 3D scanners –used to determine the exact location where a limb should be fixed– were not available. Considering the over eight years of war and terrorism in Syria, there are untold numbers of civilians and soldiers in need of this technology to simply get a prosthetic limb fixed so they can get on with their lives. But no, America’s concern for the Syrian people means that this, too, is near impossible.

In 2018, Syria’s minister of health told me Syria had formerly been dubbed by the World Health Organization a “pioneer state” in providing health care.

“Syria had 60 pharmaceutical factories and was exporting medicine to 58 countries. Now, 16 of these factories are out of service. Terrorists partially or fully destroyed 46 hospitals and 620 medical centres.”

I asked the minister about the complex in Barzeh, targeted with missile strikes by the US and allies in April 2018. Turns out it was part of the Ministry of Health, and manufactured cancer treatment medications, as well as antidotes for snake or scorpion bites/stings, the antidote also serving as a basic material in the manufacture of many medicines.

[READ: Caught in a lie, US & allies bomb Syria the night before international inspectors arrive ]

Last year, Syrian-American doctor Hussam al-Samman told me about his efforts to send to Syria chemotherapy medications for cancer patients in remission. He jumped through various hoops of America’s unforgiving bureaucracy, to no avail. It was never possible in the first place.

“We managed to get a meeting in the White House. We met Rob Malley, a top-notch assistant or adviser of Obama at that time. I asked them: ‘How in the world could your heart let you block chemotherapy from going to people with cancer in Syria?’They said: ‘We will not allow Bashar al-Assad to have anything that will make people love him. We will not support anything that will help Bashar al-Assad look good’.”

Fast forward to the present: in spite of the sanctions, or precisely because of the sanctions, Syria recently opened its first anti-cancer drugs factory. President Assad is, again, looking rather good to Syrians.

UN expert: Sanctions on Venezuela “a form of terrorism”

Alfred de Zayas, the human rights lawyer and former UN official, aptly calls sanctions a form of terrorism, “because they invariably impact, directly or indirectly, the poor and vulnerable.

Earlier this year, The Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated 40,000 deaths had occurred due to sanctions in 2017-2018.

While in Venezuela in March this year, I spoke with people from poor communities about the effects of sanctions. Most I met were very well aware of the US economic war against their country, and rallied alongside their government.[READ: US is manufacturing a crisis in Venezuela so that there is chaos and ‘needed’ intervention][READ: Venezuela isn’t Syria… but America’s war tactics are the same ]

One woman told me:

“If you don’t have water, don’t have electricity, the basics, how would you feel, as a mother? This makes some of the population, that doesn’t understand about the sanctions, blame the government.”

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, said during that visit:

“We told [American diplomat and Trump envoy] Mr Elliott Abrams, ‘the coup has failed, so now what are you going to do?’ He kind-of nodded and said, ‘Well, this is going to be a long-term action, then, and we are looking forward to the collapse of your economy.’”Indeed, that collapse would come about precisely due to the immoral US sanctions against the Venezuelan people.

North Korean Youth: Sanction the USA

After visiting Korea’s north in August 2017, in a photo essay I noted:

“The criminal sanctions against the North, enforced since 1950, making even more difficult the efforts to rebuild following decimation. The sanctions are against the people, affecting all sectors of life.”[READ: Photo-Report: The North Korea Neither Trump Nor Western Media Wants The World To See]And although most I met there were proud of their country’s achievements in spite of the sanctions, they were also vocal about the injustice of being bombed to near decimation and then sanctioned.

In a Pyongyang Middle School, to my questions about the sanctions, a girl replied:

The sanctions are not fair, our people have done nothing wrong to the USA.

Another boy spoke of the silence around America’s use of nuclear bombs on civilians:

Why do people all over the world give us sanctions? Why can’t we put sanctions on the US?

5df75c9685f5407f827bf153

Dr. Kim Un-Song: “The sanctions are inhumane and against human rights.” © Eva Bartlett

At the Okryu Children’s Hospital, Doctor Kim Un-Song said: “As a mother, I feel extremely angry at the sanctions against the DPRK, even blocking medicine and instruments for children. This is inhumane and against human rights.

As with Syria, sanctions on the DPRK prevent further entry to Korea of hospital machinery, as well as replacement parts.

Defying the sanctions

In spite of draconian sanctions, Syria, the DPRK and Venezuela continue to resist. After fighting international terrorism since 2011, Syria is rebuilding in liberated areas. That process could proceed more quickly were sanctions lifted, making it easier for companies outside of Syria to invest. 

But Syria is managing, with its allies’ support, including that of North Korea, and due to the steadfastness of the heroic Syrian people, and its leadership. 

REB

Link to tweet: https://twitter.com/SyriaRebuilt/status/1205149675747205120

Likewise, Venezuela and North Korea, facing America’s economic war and endless propagandistic rhetoric, continue to resist.

jorge

Link to tweet: https://twitter.com/jaarreaza/status/1204209014625783810

In each of these countries, I’ve met well-informed people who are fighting the sadism of the sanctions, and who are determined to remain free of US tyranny.


Venezuela, Iran: Trump and the Deep State — Astute News

The new deal of the White House and the Pentagon The parliamentary elections of 6 November 2018 deprived President Trump of his majority in the House of Representatives. The Democratic Party assumed that this would lead inevitably to his destitution. Of course, he had done nothing to deserve it, but a flood of hysteria swamped […]

via Venezuela, Iran: Trump and the Deep State — Astute News

Venezuela isn’t Syria… but America’s war tactics are the same — In Gaza

May 14, 2019, RT.com -by Eva Bartlett

Since Juan Guaido declared himself Venezuela’s interim president, rhetoric emanating from Washington has grown increasingly familiar. It echoes the bombastic & hollow humanitarian-crisis type of war propaganda which has been used repeatedly in resource-rich nations, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya to Syria. And now we’re seeing it […]

via Venezuela isn’t Syria… but America’s war tactics are the same — In Gaza

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela

Alfred de Zayas, human rights lawyer & UN independent expert on international order. His report on Venezuela has been buried by the MSM.

This news-report is being submitted to all US and allied news-media, and is being published by all honest ones, in order to inform you of crucial facts that the others — the dishonest ones, who hide such crucial facts — are hiding about Venezuela. These are facts that have received coverage only in one single British newspaper: the Independent, which published a summary account of them on January 26th. That newspaper’s account will be excerpted here at the end, but first will be highlights from its topic, the official report to the UN General Assembly in August of last year, which has been covered-up ever since. This is why that report’s author has now gone to the Independent, desperate to get the story out, finally, to the public.

THE COVERED-UP DOCUMENT

On 3 August 2018, the UN’s General Assembly received the report from the UN’s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. His recent travel though both countries focused on “how best to enhance the enjoyment of all human rights by the populations of both countries.”

He “noted the eradication of illiteracy, free education from primary school to university, and programmes to reduce extreme poverty, provide housing to the homeless and vulnerable, phase out privilege and discrimination, and extend medical care to everyone.”

He noted “that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Ecuador, both devote around 70 per cent of their national budgets to social services.” However (and here, key paragraphs from the report are now quoted):

22. Observers have identified errors committed by the Chávez and Maduro Governments, noting that there are too many ideologues and too few technocrats in public administration, resulting in government policies that lack coherence and professional management and discourage domestic investment, already crippled by inefficiency and corruption, which extend to government officials, transnational corporations and entrepreneurs. Critics warn about the undue influence of the military on government and on the running of enterprises like Petróleos de Venezuela. The lack of regular, publicly available data on nutrition, epidemiology and inflation are said to complicate efforts to provide humanitarian support.

23. Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Tarek Saab, has launched a vigorous anticorruption campaign, investigating the links between Venezuelan enterprises and tax havens, contracting scams, and deals by public officials with Odebrecht. It is estimated that corruption in the oil industry has cost the Government US$ 4.8 billion. The Attorney General’s Office informed the Independent Expert of pending investigations for embezzlement and extortion against 79 officials of Petróleos de Venezuela, including 22 senior managers. The Office also pointed to the arrest of two high-level oil executives, accused of money-laundering in Andorra. The Ministry of Justice estimates corruption losses at some US$ 15 billion. Other stakeholders, in contrast, assert that anti-corruption programmes are selective and have not sufficiently targeted State institutions, including the military.

29. …Over the past sixty years, non-conventional economic wars have been waged against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to make their economies fail, facilitate regime change and impose a neo-liberal socioeconomic model. In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being “weaponized” against rivals. Yet, human rights are the heritage of every human being and should never be instrumentalized as weapons of demonization.

30. The principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States belong to customary international law and have been reaffirmed in General Assembly resolutions, notably [a list is supplied].

31. In its judgment of 27 June 1986 concerning Nicaragua v. United States, the International Court of Justice quoted from [UN] resolution 2625 (XXV): “no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State”.

36. The effects of sanctions imposed by Presidents Obama and Trump and unilateral measures by Canada and the European Union have directly and indirectly aggravated the shortages in medicines such as insulin and anti-retroviral drugs. To the extent that economic sanctions have caused delays in distribution and thus contributed to many deaths, sanctions contravene the human rights obligations of the countries imposing them.Moreover, sanctions can amount to crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. An investigation by that Court would be appropriate, but the geopolitical submissiveness of the Court may prevent this.

37. Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns with the intention of forcing them to surrender. Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees. A difference, perhaps, is that twenty-first century sanctions are accompanied by the manipulation of public opinion through “fake news”, aggressive public relations and a pseudo-human rights rhetoric so as to give the impression that a human rights “end” justifies the criminal means.

39. Economic asphyxiation policies are comparable to those already practised in Chile, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua and the Syrian Arab Republic. In January 2018, Middle East correspondent of The Financial Times and The Independent, Patrick Cockburn, wrote on the sanctions affecting Syria: There is usually a pretence that foodstuffs and medical equipment are being allowed through freely and no mention is made of the financial and other regulatory obstacles making it impossible to deliver them. An example of this is the draconian sanctions imposed on Syria by the US and EU which were meant to target President Bashar al-Assad and help remove him from power. They have wholly failed to do this, but a UN internal report leaked in 2016 shows all too convincingly the effect of the embargo in stopping the delivery of aid by international aid agencies. They cannot import the aid despite waivers because banks and commercial companies dare not risk being penalised for having anything to do with Syria. The report quotes a European doctor working in Syria as saying that “the indirect effect of sanctions … makes the import of the medical instruments and other medical supplies immensely difficult, near impossible”. In short: economic sanctions kill.

41. Bearing in mind that Venezuelan society is polarized, what is most needed is dialogue between the Government and the opposition, and it would be a noble task on the part of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to offer his good offices for such a dialogue. Yet, opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Julio Borges, during a trip through Europe to denounce the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called for further sanctions as well as a military “humanitarian intervention”.

44. Although the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not yet reached the humanitarian crisis threshold, there is hunger, malnutrition, anxiety, anguish and emigration. What is crucial is to study the causes of the crisis, including neglected factors of sanctions, sabotage, hoarding, black market activities, induced inflation and contraband in food and medicines.

45. The “crisis” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is an economic crisis, which cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others. It is significant that when, in 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because it ”is still a high-income country … and as such is not eligible”.

46. It is pertinent to recall the situation in the years prior to the election of Hugo Chávez. 118 Corruption was ubiquitous and in 1993, President Carlos Pérez was removed because of embezzlement. The Chávez election in 1998 reflected despair with the corruption and neo-liberal policies of the 1980s and 1990s, and rejection of the gulf between the super-rich and the abject poor.

47. Participatory democracy in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called “protagónica”, is anchored in the Constitution of 1999 and relies on frequent elections and referendums. During the mission, the Independent Expert exchanged views with the Electoral Commission and learned that in the 19 years since Chávez, 25 elections and referendums had been conducted, 4 of them observed by the Carter Center. The Independent Expert met with the representative of the Carter Center in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who recalled Carter’s positive assessment of the electoral system. They also discussed the constitutional objections raised by the opposition to the referendum held on 30 July 2017, resulting in the creation of a Constitutional Assembly. Over 8 million Venezuelans voted in the referendum, which was accompanied by international observers, including from the Council of Electoral Specialists of Latin America.

48. An atmosphere of intimidation accompanied the mission, attempting to pressure the Independent Expert into a predetermined matrix. He received letters from NGOs asking him not to proceed because he was not the “relevant” rapporteur, and almost dictating what should be in the report. Weeks before his arrival, some called the mission a “fake investigation”. Social media insults bordered on “hate speech” and “incitement”. Mobbing before, during and after the mission bore a resemblance to the experience of two American journalists who visited the country in July 2017. Utilizing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, critics questioned the Independent Expert’s integrity and accused him of bias, demonstrating a culture of intransigence and refusal to accept the duty of an independent expert to be neutral, objective, dispassionate and to apply his expertise free of external pressures.

67. The Independent Expert recommends that the General Assembly:

  • (g) Invoke article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations and refer the following questions to the International Court of Justice: Can unilateral coercive measures be compatible with international law? Can unilateral coercive measures amount to crimes against humanity when a large number of persons perish because of scarcity of food and medicines? What reparations are due to the victims of sanctions? Do sanctions and currency manipulations constitute geopolitical crimes?
  • (h) Adopt a resolution along the lines of the resolutions on the United States embargo against Cuba, declaring the sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela contrary to international law and human rights law. …

70. The Independent Expert recommends that the International Criminal Court investigate the problem of unilateral coercive measures that cause death from malnutrition, lack of medicines and medical equipment.

72. The Independent Expert recommends that, until the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court address the lethal outcomes of economic wars and sanctions regimes, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, the Russell Tribunal and the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission undertake the task so as to facilitate future judicial pronouncements.

On January 26th, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens”, and Michael Selby-Green reported that:

The first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years has told The Independent the US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law.

Former special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term at the UN in March, has criticized the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans.

The comments come amid worsening tensions in the country after the US and UK have backed Juan Guaido, who appointed himself “interim president” of Venezuela as hundreds of thousands marched to support him….

The US Treasury has not responded to a request for comment on Mr de Zayas’s allegations of the effects of the sanctions programme.

US sanctions prohibit dealing in currencies issued by the Venezuelan government. They also target individuals, and stop US-based companies or people from buying and selling new debt issued by PDVSA or the government.

The US has previously defended its sanctions on Venezuela, with a senior US official saying in 2018: “The fact is that the greatest sanction on Venezuelan oil and oil production is called Nicolas Maduro, and PDVSA’s inefficiencies,” referring to the state-run oil body, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA.

Mr De Zayas’s findings are based on his late-2017 mission to the country and interviews with 12 Venezuelan government minsters, opposition politicians, 35 NGOs working in the country, academics, church officials, activists, chambers of commerce and regional UN agencies.

The US imposed new sanctions against Venezuela on 9 March 2015, when President Barack Obama issued executive order 13692, declaring the country a threat to national security.

The sanctions have since intensified under Donald Trump, who has also threatened military invasion and discussed a coup….

Despite being the first UN official to visit and report from Venezuela in 21 years, Mr de Zayas said his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored by the UN and the media, and caused little debate within the Human Rights Council.

He believes his report has been ignored because it goes against the popular narrative that Venezuela needs regime change.

The then UN high commissioner, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit, and the Venezuela desk of the UN Human Rights Council also declined to help with his work after his return despite being obliged to do so, Mr de Zayas claimed….

Ivan Briscoe, Latin America and Caribbean programme director for Crisis Group, an international NGO, told The Independent that Venezuela is a polarising subject. … Briscoe is critical of Mr de Zayas’s report because it highlights US economic warfare but in his view neglects to mention the impact of a difficult business environment in the country. … Briscoe acknowledged rising tensions and the likely presence of US personnel operating covertly in the country…

Eugenia Russian, president of FUNDALATIN, one of the oldest human rights NGOs in Venezuela, founded in 1978 before the Chavez and Maduro governments and with special consultative status at the UN, spoke to The Independent on the significance of the sanctions…

“In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect that the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States,” Ms Russian said.

She said there may also be causes from internal errors, but said probably few countries in the world have suffered an “economic siege” like the one Venezuelans are living under…

In his report, Mr de Zayas expressed concern that those calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis” are trying to justify regime change and that human rights are being “weaponised” to discredit the government and make violent overthrow more “palatable”…

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and an abundance of other natural resources including gold, bauxite and coltan. But under the Maduro government they’re not easily accessible to US and transnational corporations.

US oil companies had large investments in Venezuela in the early 20th century but were locked out after Venezuelans voted to nationalise the industry in 1973.

Other than readers of that single newspaper, where has the public been able to find these facts? If the public can have these facts hidden from them, then how much trust should the public reasonably have in the government, and in the news-media?

Important Notes

Zeid Raad Al Hussein, who “reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit,” is Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a Jordanian Prince. Jordan is a vassal-state in the US empire. But Prince Hussein is a Jordanian diplomat who served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 to 2018 — hardly an unbiased or independent person in such a supposedly nonpartisan role.

Here is the garbage that a reader comes to, who is trying to find online Mr. de Zayas’s report on this matter. As intended, the document remains effectively hidden to the present day. Perhaps the UN needs to be replaced and located in Venezuela, Iran, or some other country that’s targeted for take-over by the people who effectively own the United States Government and control the UN’s bureaucracy. The hiding of this document was done not only by the press but by the UN itself.

On January 23rd, Germany’s Die Zeit headlined “Christoph Flügge: ‘I am deeply disturbed’: The UN International Criminal Court Judge Christoph Flügge Accuses Western Nations of Threatening the Independence of the Judges”. Flügge especially cited US President Trump’s agent, John Bolton. That same day, the Democratic Party and Labour Party organ, Britain’s Guardian, bannered “International criminal court: UN court judge quits The Hague citing political interference”.

This news-report said that, “A senior judge has resigned from one of the UN’s international courts in The Hague citing ‘shocking’ political interference from the White House and Turkey.” The judge especially criticised Bolton:

The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat.” Flügge said that the judges on the court had been “stunned” that “the US would roll out such heavy artillery.”

Flügge told the Guardian: “It is consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No 1 and we stand above the law’.”

On February 6th, a former UK Ambassador to Syria vented at an alt-news site, 21st Century Wire (since he couldn’t get any of the major-media sites to publish it), “A Guide to Decoding the Doublespeak on Syria”, and he brazenly exposed there the Doublespeak-Newspeak that the US Government and press (what he called America’s “frothing neocons and their liberal interventionist fellow travellers”) apply in order to report the ‘news’ about Syria.

So: how can the public, in a country such as the US, democratically control the Government, if the government and its press are lying to them, like that, all the time, and so routinely?

As US Laments Human Rights in Venezuela, US-Allied Colombia Descends into Drug-fueled Humanitarian Crisis

By Whitney Webb
Source

The dichotomy between Washington’s relationship with Venezuela and Colombia is yet another clear example that the public justifications for the U.S.’s Latin America policy are little more than window dressing for the U.S.-backed expansion of neo-fascist governments throughout Latin America.

BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA (Analysis) — Several troubling situations are currently playing out across Colombia, yet the country’s continuing downward spiral into drug-fueled and politically-motivated violence has caused little concern in Washington, offering yet another clear indication that the U.S.’ current posturing on Venezuela is hardly motivated by concerns about “democracy,” “human rights,” or the welfare of the Venezuelan people.

This, of course, can hardly be considered surprising, given that Colombia is a top U.S. ally whose government has long been closely aligned with Washington’s interests. However, although the lack of U.S. government or media attention to Colombia may effectively hide it from the American public, the country is becoming increasingly lawless, with cocaine production reaching new record levels and the government sanctioning the mass murder of the country’s largest indigenous group. Not only that but since Colombia’s new president, Iván Duque, came to power late last year, the number of indigenous social leaders who have been murdered has spiked to the highest levels in over a decade.

Ultimately, the lack of media coverage of Colombia’s humanitarian crises, which have large implications for the Americas as a whole, is a telling example of how such crises are regularly weaponized by governments and media to exclusively target governments it wishes to pressure or overthrow, while turning a blind eye to those same or worse acts when committed by an allied nation.

An absurdly double standard

Though it was Barack Obama who first deemed Venezuela a “national security threat” and reinitiated draconian sanctions against the oil-rich nation, the Trump administration has greatly increased the sanctions targeting Venezuela, often citing its government’s alleged participation in illegal drug trafficking as justification for doing so. However, the U.S. has offered little in the way of concrete evidence to back up those allegations.

During this same period, moreover, the Trump administration has expressed little concern for the booming illicit drug trade in neighboring Colombia, which has broken records for cocaine production for the last two years in a row. Though the Colombian government and military have been repeatedly tied to the country’s drug trade, the Trump administration – like previous U.S. administrations – hasn’t lifted a finger.

According to UN figures released last September, Colombia’s cocaine production has again broken records, with the country producing an estimated 1,379 tons of cocaine in 2017, the latest year for which such statistics exist. That figure is a 31 percent increase in cocaine production from 2016. 2016 itself was a record-breaking year with cocaine production gaining by 50 percent over 2015 levels.

Though Trump had threatened to decertify former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ government over the rapid growth of cocaine production, he ultimately gave Colombia a pass in the U.S.’ annual determination of countries considered to be “major drug transit or major drug producing” areas “because the Colombian National Police and Armed Forces are close law enforcement and security partners of the United States in the Western Hemisphere.”

The document also described Venezuela, along with its regional ally Bolivia, as “countries that have failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to their obligations under international counternarcotics agreements” despite the fact that Bolivia had the fewest illegal coca crops of any South American country that year.

Colombia | cocaine

Since getting a free pass from the Trump administration, Colombia’s current president, Iván Duque, has signaled his hopes to revive a failed, U.S.-backed program to indiscriminately spray suspected coca fields with the infamous Monsanto product glyphosate to reduce cocaine production.

Though the U.S. government and Western media have traditionally placed the blame on leftist guerillas in Colombia, like the FARC, the 2016 peace deal that saw the FARC abandon the drug trade has removed this convenient scapegoat and highlighted the long-standing role of the Colombian military and prominent right-wing politicians in cocaine production.

In fact, the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) has described the Colombian military — which has been armed and trained for decades by the U.S. under the Clinton era policy known as “Plan Colombia” — as being among “the biggest heroin and cocaine trading institutions.”

The Colombian government has also been intimately involved, particularly during the presidency of Álvaro Uribe, who allegedly served as the “head of Colombia’s paramilitary groups” both before and while in office. Uribe was once ranked by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency “on a list of 104 important narco-traffickers contracted by the Colombian narcotics cartels.”

There are also indications of the U.S. government’s own involvement in the Colombian cocaine trade. For example, Colombia’s most notorious drug trafficker, Pablo Escobar, at one point worked for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, according to Escobar’s own children. Escobar allegedly sold cocaine for the CIA to help the U.S. government finance its fight against communism and left-wing governments in Latin America.

As pointed out in the book Cocaine, Death Squads and the War on Terror: U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia, the U.S.’ anti-drug efforts in Colombia were never intended to eradicate cocaine, but instead alter the market share by ensuring that allies of the U.S. in Colombia – the Colombian government, paramilitaries and the wealthy elite who are favorable to U.S. business interests – could monopolize the drug trade with no competition from outsiders. Thus, it should hardly shock anyone that the U.S. continues to turn a blind eye to the country’s booming illegal drug trade and its associated violence, even as it continues to break records year after year.

Erasing the erasure of the Wayuú

As the long-standing, U.S.-backed plan to oust the Chavista regime in Venezuela has unfolded, Maduro’s government has been called out in Western media for “starving his own people,” despite the fact that U.S. sanctions imposed on Venezuela are a driving factor behind the country’s economic crisis. However, since 2011, Colombia has been the site of ongoing genocide against the country’s largest indigenous group – the Wayuú – in the country’s Guajira region, after the Colombian government diverted their only source of water to support the operations of the country’s – and continent’s – largest coal mine.

The suffering of the Wayuú, who have reported the deaths of at least 14,000 children due to the lack of clean water, has gone unreported by the same outlets that routinely raise concern about lack of essential goods in Venezuela. The Wayuú, who comprise around 20 percentof Colombia’s entire indigenous population and 48 percent of the Guajira region’s total inhabitants, are now on the brink of dying out completely seven years after the Ranchería river – their community’s only freshwater source – was diverted by the government-constructed Cercado dam in order to service the water needs of the Cerrejón coal mine.

An estimated 37,000 Wayuú now suffer from severe malnutrition, as they can no longer grow crops or raise livestock without a freshwater source. Each person in the community now lives off of less than 0.7 liters (24 oz.) of water a day while the Cerrejón mine guzzles more than 2.7 million liters of water in a 24-hour period – most of which is used to improve mine “visibility” by minimizing dust pollution. Despite the clear impact of the dam and mine on the humanitarian crisis facing the Wayuú, the Colombian government and supportive Western media have blamed “climate change” and weather patterns like El Niño for the situation.

The most likely reason for the erasure of the slow genocide of the Wayuú from Western media is the fact that the Cerrejón mine is largely a U.S.-backed operation, as the mine was originally founded by ExxonMobil and is now owned by a consortium of largely Western mining companies such as Anglo American and BHP Billiton. These same mining companies often work with right-wing paramilitary groups — who are also closely connected to the Colombian government — and who repeatedly threaten the lives of Wayuú who speak up about their people’s suffering, including their chief legal advocate, Javier Rojas Uriana.

Notably, the Colombian Wayuú have been immigrating to the Wayuú community in Venezuela in order to avoid the slow death caused by malnutrition, lack of water, and waterborne illnesses from the polluted water from the community’s remaining wells. The Venezuelan Wayuú have been largely supportive of Chavismo and have backed the Maduro-led government, referring to U.S.-backed opposition protests as violent riots “intended to create chaos.” The Huffington Post noted in 2017 that the Wayuú’s support for Maduro had largely been erased by the Western media because it “does not match up with the media’s anti-Venezuelan government narrative.”

Liquidating social leaders, activists, human-rights advocates

While the fate of the Wayuú (and thus 20 percent of the country’s entire indigenous population) continues to hang in the balance, the plight of Colombia’s indigenous peoples has grown even worse since the recent inauguration of Colombian President Iván Duque.

Despite Duque’s having come to power just last August, El Tiempo recently reported that the murders of indigenous leaders in the country have spiked to levels unseen in over a decade since Duque became Colombia’s president. According to data cited by El Tiempo, 120 indigenous social leaders – as well as human-rights defenders — have been murdered in cold blood during Duque’s first 100 days in office.

Though the murder of social leaders by right-wing paramilitary groups has been a long standing problem in Colombia’s recent history, this level of targeted murder represents a spike over recent years — in which 226, 159, and 97 such murders occurred over the course of the entire years of 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. Notably, the Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro has been routinely accused by Western media of murdering opposition activists; yet, those same outlets have been silent on Colombia’s recent spike in activist murders.

Colombia | Slain Activists

Despite the jump, Duque’s government has expressed little concern. This is hardly surprising when one considers that Duque is the hand-picked successor and protégé of Álvaro Uribe, the former Colombian president who was once “the head of Colombia’s paramilitary groups,” according to former paramilitary group commanders of the right-wing death squad AUC, which has been funded by several prominent U.S. corporations.

Uribe, who was Colombia’s president from 2002 to 2010, and was a close ally of George W. Bush, was also personally implicated inorganizing a massacre conducted by a right-wing paramilitary group; and his cousin, Colombian politician Mario Uribe, was charged with mobilizing right-wing death squads in the country to help secure Uribe’s presidential victory in 2002. Uribe’s brother was also arrested for founding a right-wing paramilitary group in 2016.

Under Uribe’s presidency, the Colombian military massacred thousands of civilians — such as in the “false positives” scandal, where the Colombian military dressed up an estimated 5,000 civilians in guerilla clothing and killed them in cold blood, subsequently gaining a bonus from Uribe’s government for the sinister act. It should be no surprise then that, under Uribe, the murder rate of indigenous leaders and human-rights activists reached its all-time high at 1,912 murders in 2003.

Given Duque’s close relationship to Uribe, it is also little surprise that paramilitary groups have endorsed Duque following his election and have vowed to “exterminate” Duque’s opposition, calling prominent Colombian progressives “military targets.”

What to expect if US gets its way in Venezuela

If Washington’s publicly stated concerns about “human rights” and the welfare of a country’s people in Venezuela were genuine, it would be equally critical of Colombia’s government, given the numerous troubling situations currently unfolding in that country. Instead, the dichotomy between Washington’s relationship with Venezuela and Colombia is yet another clear example that the public justifications for the U.S.’s Latin America policy are little more than window dressing for the U.S.-backed expansion of neo-fascist governments throughout Latin America.

Indeed, if Juan Guaidó – the self-declared, U.S.-backed “president” of Venezuela – manages to seize power in the country, the current state of affairs in Colombia is a telling harbinger of what would likely manifest should Nicolás Maduro be overthrown and replaced with the same type of government that the U.S. has either backed or installed in several Latin American countries over the last few decades, and particularly in recent years.

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela — A Case of News-Suppression

February 07, 2019

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela — A Case of News-Suppression

INTRODUCTION

This news-report is being submitted to all U.S. and allied news-media, and is being published by all honest ones, in order to inform you of crucial facts that the others — the dishonest ones, who hude such crucial facts — are hiding about Venezuela. These are facts that have received coverage only in one single British newspaper: the Independent, which published a summary account of them on January 26th. That newspaper’s account will be excerpted here at the end, but first will be highlights from its topic, the official report to the U.N. General Assembly in August of last year, which has been covered-up ever since. This is why that report’s author has now gone to the Independent, desperate to get the story out, finally, to the public:

THE COVERED-UP DOCUMENT

On 3 August 2018, the U.N.’s General Assembly received the report from the U.N.s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. His recent travel though both countries focused on “how best to enhance the enjoyment of all human rights by the populations of both countries.” He “noted the eradication of illiteracy, free education from primary school to university, and programmes to reduce extreme poverty, provide housing to the homeless and vulnerable, phase out privilege and discrimination, and extend medical care to everyone.” He noted “that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Ecuador, both devote around 70 per cent of their national budgets to social services.” However (and here, key paragraphs from the report are now quoted):

22. Observers have identified errors committed by the Chávez and Maduro Governments, noting that there are too many ideologues and too few technocrats in public administration, resulting in government policies that lack coherence and professional management and discourage domestic investment, already crippled by inefficiency and corruption, which extend to government officials, transnational corporations and entrepreneurs. Critics warn about the undue influence of the military on government and on the running of enterprises like Petróleos de Venezuela. The lack of regular, publicly available data on nutrition, epidemiology and inflation are said to complicate efforts to provide humanitarian support.

23. Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Tarek Saab, has launched a vigorous anticorruption campaign, investigating the links between Venezuelan enterprises and tax havens, contracting scams, and deals by public officials with Odebrecht. It is estimated that corruption in the oil industry has cost the Government US$ 4.8 billion. The Attorney General’s Office informed the Independent Expert of pending investigations for embezzlement and extortion against 79 officials of Petróleos de Venezuela, including 22 senior managers. The Office also pointed to the arrest of two high-level oil executives, accused of money-laundering in Andorra. The Ministry of Justice estimates corruption losses at some US$ 15 billion. Other stakeholders, in contrast, assert that anti-corruption programmes are selective and have not sufficiently targeted State institutions, including the military. …

29. … Over the past sixty years, non-conventional economic wars have been waged against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to make their economies fail, facilitate regime change and impose a neo-liberal socioeconomic model. In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being “weaponized” against rivals. Yet, human rights are the heritage of every human being and should never be instrumentalized as weapons of demonization. …

30. The principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States belong to customary international law and have been reaffirmed in General Assembly resolutions, notably [a list is supplied]. …

31. In its judgment of 27 June 1986 concerning Nicaragua v. United States, the International Court of Justice quoted from [U.N.] resolution 2625 (XXV): “no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State”. …

36. The effects of sanctions imposed by Presidents Obama and Trump and unilateral measures by Canada and the European Union have directly and indirectly aggravated the shortages in medicines such as insulin and anti-retroviral drugs. To the extent that economic sanctions have caused delays in distribution and thus contributed to many deaths, sanctions contravene the human rights obligations of the countries imposing them.Moreover, sanctions can amount to crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. An investigation by that Court would be appropriate, but the geopolitical submissiveness of the Court may prevent this.

37. Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns with the intention of forcing them to surrender. Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees. A difference, perhaps, is that twenty-first century sanctions are accompanied by the manipulation of public opinion through “fake news”, aggressive public relations and a pseudo-human rights rhetoric so as to give the impression that a human rights “end” justifies the criminal means. …

39. Economic asphyxiation policies are comparable to those already practised in Chile, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua and the Syrian Arab Republic. In January 2018, Middle East correspondent of The Financial Times and The Independent, Patrick Cockburn, wrote on the sanctions affecting Syria:

There is usually a pretence that foodstuffs and medical equipment are being allowed through freely and no mention is made of the financial and other regulatory obstacles making it impossible to deliver them. An example of this is the draconian sanctions imposed on Syria by the US and EU which were meant to target President Bashar al-Assad and help remove him from power. They have wholly failed to do this, but a UN internal report leaked in 2016 shows all too convincingly the effect of the embargo in stopping the delivery of aid by international aid agencies. They cannot import the aid despite waivers because banks and commercial companies dare not risk being penalised for having anything to do with Syria. The report quotes a European doctor working in Syria as saying that “the indirect effect of sanctions … makes the import of the medical instruments and other medical supplies immensely difficult, near impossible”. In short: economic sanctions kill. …

41. Bearing in mind that Venezuelan society is polarized, what is most needed is dialogue between the Government and the opposition, and it would be a noble task on the part of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to offer his good offices for such a dialogue. Yet, opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Julio Borges, during a trip through Europe to denounce the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called for further sanctions as well as a military “humanitarian intervention”. …

44. Although the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not yet reached the humanitarian crisis threshold, there is hunger, malnutrition, anxiety, anguish and emigration. What is crucial is to study the causes of the crisis, including neglected factors of sanctions, sabotage, hoarding, black market activities, induced inflation and contraband in food and medicines.

45. The “crisis” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is an economic crisis, which cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others. It is significant that when, in 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because it ”is still a high-income country … and as such is not eligible”. …

46. It is pertinent to recall the situation in the years prior to the election of Hugo Chávez. 118 Corruption was ubiquitous and in 1993, President Carlos Pérez was removed because of embezzlement. The Chávez election in 1998 reflected despair with the corruption and neo-liberal policies of the 1980s and 1990s, and rejection of the gulf between the super-rich and the abject poor.

47. Participatory democracy in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called “protagónica”, is anchored in the Constitution of 1999 and relies on frequent elections and referendums. During the mission, the Independent Expert exchanged views with the Electoral Commission and learned that in the 19 years since Chávez, 25 elections and referendums had been conducted, 4 of them observed by the Carter Center. The Independent Expert met with the representative of the Carter Center in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who recalled Carter’s positive assessment of the electoral system. They also discussed the constitutional objections raised by the opposition to the referendum held on 30 July 2017, resulting in the creation of a Constitutional Assembly. Over 8 million Venezuelans voted in the referendum, which was accompanied by international observers, including from the Council of Electoral Specialists of Latin America.

48. An atmosphere of intimidation accompanied the mission, attempting to pressure the Independent Expert into a predetermined matrix. He received letters from NGOs asking him not to proceed because he was not the “relevant” rapporteur, and almost dictating what should be in the report. Weeks before his arrival, some called the mission a “fake investigation”. Social media insults bordered on “hate speech” and “incitement”. Mobbing before, during and after the mission bore a resemblance to the experience of two American journalists who visited the country in July 2017. Utilizing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, critics questioned the Independent Expert’s integrity and accused him of bias, demonstrating a culture of intransigence and refusal to accept the duty of an independent expert to be neutral, objective, dispassionate and to apply his expertise free of external pressures. …

67. The Independent Expert recommends that the General Assembly: (g) Invoke article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations and refer the following questions to the International Court of Justice: Can unilateral coercive measures be compatible with international law? Can unilateral coercive measures amount to crimes against humanity when a large number of persons perish because of scarcity of food and medicines? What reparations are due to the victims of sanctions? Do sanctions and currency manipulations constitute geopolitical crimes? (h) Adopt a resolution along the lines of the resolutions on the United States embargo against Cuba, declaring the sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela contrary to international law and human rights law. …

70. The Independent Expert recommends that the International Criminal Court investigate the problem of unilateral coercive measures that cause death from malnutrition, lack of medicines and medical equipment. …

72. The Independent Expert recommends that, until the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court address the lethal outcomes of economic wars and sanctions regimes, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, the Russell Tribunal and the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission undertake the task so as to facilitate future judicial pronouncements.

On January 26th, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens”, and Michael Selby-Green reported that:

The first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years has told The Independent the US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law.

Former special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term at the UN in March, has criticized the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans.

The comments come amid worsening tensions in the country after the US and UK have backed Juan Guaido, who appointed himself “interim president” of Venezuela as hundreds of thousands marched to support him. …

The US Treasury has not responded to a request for comment on Mr de Zayas’s allegations of the effects of the sanctions programme.

US sanctions prohibit dealing in currencies issued by the Venezuelan government. They also target individuals, and stop US-based companies or people from buying and selling new debt issued by PDVSA or the government.

The US has previously defended its sanctions on Venezuela, with a senior US official saying in 2018: “The fact is that the greatest sanction on Venezuelan oil and oil production is called Nicolas Maduro, and PDVSA’s inefficiencies,” referring to the state-run oil body, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA.

Mr De Zayas’s findings are based on his late-2017 mission to the country and interviews with 12 Venezuelan government minsters, opposition politicians, 35 NGOs working in the country, academics, church officials, activists, chambers of commerce and regional UN agencies.

The US imposed new sanctions against Venezuela on 9 March 2015, when President Barack Obama issued executive order 13692, declaring the country a threat to national security.

The sanctions have since intensified under Donald Trump, who has also threatened military invasion and discussed a coup. …

Despite being the first UN official to visit and report from Venezuela in 21 years, Mr de Zayas said his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored by the UN and the media, and caused little debate within the Human Rights Council.

He believes his report has been ignored because it goes against the popular narrative that Venezuela needs regime change. …

The then UN high commissioner, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit, and the Venezuela desk of the UN Human Rights Council also declined to help with his work after his return despite being obliged to do so, Mr de Zayas claimed. …

Ivan Briscoe, Latin America and Caribbean programme director for Crisis Group, an international NGO, told The Independent that Venezuela is a polarising subject. … Briscoe is critical of Mr de Zayas’s report because it highlights US economic warfare but in his view neglects to mention the impact of a difficult business environment in the country. … Briscoe acknowledged rising tensions and the likely presence of US personnel operating covertly in the country. …

Eugenia Russian, president of FUNDALATIN, one of the oldest human rights NGOs in Venezuela, founded in 1978 before the Chavez and Maduro governments and with special consultative status at the UN, spoke to The Independent on the significance of the sanctions.

In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect that the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States,” Ms Russian said.

She said there may also be causes from internal errors, but said probably few countries in the world have suffered an “economic siege” like the one Venezuelans are living under. …

In his report, Mr de Zayas expressed concern that those calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis” are trying to justify regime change and that human rights are being “weaponised” to discredit the government and make violent overthrow more “palatable”….

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and an abundance of other natural resources including gold, bauxite and coltan. But under the Maduro government they’re not easily accessible to US and transnational corporations.

US oil companies had large investments in Venezuela in the early 20th century but were locked out after Venezuelans voted to nationalise the industry in 1973.

Other than readers of that single newspaper, where has the public been able to find these facts? If the public can have these facts hidden from them, then how much trust should the public reasonably have in the government, and in the news-media?

(NOTE: Zeid Raad Al Hussein, who “reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit,” is Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a Jordanian Prince. Jordan is a vassal-state in the U.S. empire. But Prince Hussein is a Jordanian diplomat who served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 to 2018 — hardly an unbiased or independent person in such a supposedly nonpartisan role.)

(NOTE: Here is the garbage that a reader comes to, who is trying to find online Mr. de Zayas’s report on this matter: https://documents-dds-ny.un.. As intended, the document remains effectively hidden to the present day. Perhaps the U.N. needs to be replaced and located in Venezuela, Iran, or some other country that’s targeted for take-over by the people who effectively own the United States Government and control the U.N.’s bureaucracy. The hiding of this document was done not only by the press but by the U.N. itself.)

(NOTE: On January 23rd, Germany’s Die Zeit headlined

“Christoph Flügge: ‘I am deeply disturbed’: The U.N. International Criminal Court Judge Christoph Flügge Accuses Western Nations of Threatening the Independence of the Judges”. Flügge especially cited U.S. President Trump’s agent, John Bolton. That same day, the Democratic Party and Labour Party organ, Britain’s Guardian, bannered “International criminal court: UN court judge quits The Hague citing political interference”. This news-report said that, “A senior judge has resigned from one of the UN’s international courts in The Hague citing ‘shocking’ political interference from the White House and Turkey.” The judge especially criticised Bolton: “The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat.” Flügge said that the judges on the court had been “stunned” that “the US would roll out such heavy artillery”. Flügge told the Guardian: “It is consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No 1 and we stand above the law’.”)

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

If The World Understood Sovereignty, It Could End All Our Problems

By Caitlin Johnstone
Source

1 43ZADMZXKymDN7WCbkwytQ 1 98107

My own Australia has of course joined the chorus of US lackeys who are refusing to recognize Venezuela’s only legitimate and elected government, recognizing instead the presidency of some guy named Juan who decided to name himself Venezuela’s president with the blessing of the United States government. A statement from our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, reads as follows:

Australia recognises and supports the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, in assuming the position of interim president, in accordance with the Venezuelan constitution and until elections are held. Australia calls for a transition to democracy in Venezuela as soon as possible.

Australia supported the Lima Group’s early call for Nicolas Maduro to refrain from assuming the presidency on 10 January, relayed through our non-resident Ambassador to Venezuela.

We now urge all parties to work constructively towards a peaceful resolution of the situation, including a return to democracy, respect for the rule of law and upholding of human rights of the Venezuelan people.

It was only a matter of time before such a statement was issued. Australia has long served as Washington’s basement gimp, marching to the beat of US foreign policy on all issues no matter how idiotic or dangerous for as far back as I can remember. My country has seamlessly transitioned from British colony to US military/intelligence asset without ever once raising its head toward anything resembling national sovereignty except once briefly in the mid-seventies, which saw a CIA/MI6 coup oust our elected leadership here. This coup was preceded by our then-Prime Minister’s discovery that Australian intelligence officers had been operating as proxies of the CIA to overthrow the Allende government in Chile in yet another sovereignty-violating coup, one which has often been compared to what we’re seeing in Venezuela today.

The US government and its assorted client states have no business whatsoever issuing orders and ultimatums decreeing that a government of a sovereign nation must restructure itself, but here we are. Sovereignty is such an alien concept in a collective reality tunnel that has been shaped by propaganda to view imperialism, American exceptionalism and nonstop interventionism as perfectly normal that we now have the American establishment simultaneously (A) shrieking about Russian clickbait on Facebook as an unforgivable act of war, and (B) using crushing sanctionsCIA covert ops, and an active campaign to delegitimize a nation’s leadership in order to topple an entire government. This wild discrepancy is justified with the unquestioned assumption that the US has something called “moral authority” in the world, while Russia and Venezuela lack moral authority, despite the US being responsible for innumerable acts of butchery and destruction which are grossly immoral by any metric.

In a recent talk with Fox’s Ann Coulter, sniveling war pundit Bill Maher cited the Monroe Doctrine to argue that the US has every right to tell Venezuela what it’s allowed to do with its own country and its own allies because South America is “our backyard.”

“Today, Venezuela — this is the front page of the New York Times — Venezuela, okay, they have a guy, an opposition leader who finally stood up, and we are backing him,” Maher said. “And Russia warned us to back off because they’re backing the dictator. This was the Monroe Doctrine! This is our backyard! And Russia is now telling us to back off of what goes on in Venezuela, because they know they can? Because they’re so emboldened? That doesn’t bother you?”

 

This freaky slave owner talk is so normalized for reasons which are inseparable from the reasons why our world is as messed up as it is.

Imagine a world wherein sovereignty was truly understood and honored. What would change?

Well, obviously we’d no longer see the most powerful nations interceding in the affairs of others, bursting in and treating a weaker country like property because it has resources it wants or a style of government it doesn’t. The idea that there are people in the world whose lives you don’t get to control would be seen not as some outlandish, fringe notion to be dismissed as wacky crackpottery, but as a self-evident truth which forms the guiding principles of the way different parts of the world interact with each other.

But it goes so much further than that, if you think about it. With a solid understanding of sovereignty, perhaps the single most important thing that would change is that people would no longer think it’s okay to manipulate the thoughts of other people for their own interests. A political/media class would no longer have the permission nor the desire to keep slipping their rapey fingers into our minds and working to control the ways we think, vote and behave, which would enable us to construct a society based on truth and compassion rather than on power-facilitating belief structures placed in our heads by the plutocratic media and plutocracy-serving politicians.

In such a society we wouldn’t have murder, which is the gravest violation of personal sovereignty, nor would we have rape or assault for the same reason. It’s entirely possible that government as we know it would cease to exist and people could design an entirely new way of functioning, though government could also exist in some form that was fully accountable to the people if it turned out that that’s what we wanted. Nobody would see anyone else as property, or as a resource to be exploited, or as a pawn to be manipulated, or as part of a world that must be fully dominated and controlled, if we could just as a species evolve a mature relationship with the concept of sovereignty.

The current US-led coup against Venezuela is a violation not just of the sovereignty of Venezuela, but of the sovereignty of all the nations which have been bullied into and pushed along with it by a much more powerful nation and by the power-serving goons in their own governments. The United States government is the very last organization which should be “helping” a nation topple its government; US interventionism is so consistently disastrous that wanting them to “help” in Venezuela is dumber than wanting Edward Scissorhands to help change diapers at the local daycare center. Everyone knows this on some level, but the servile relationship the world has with the US empire has normalized complicity in absolutely insane agendas all around the world.

One of the most beneficial things anyone can do to help move humanity in a sane direction is to develop a deep, visceral understanding of and respect for the concept of sovereignty. Let this deep understanding inform your life, then let that understanding bleed out into the world. I’ll hold up my end, you hold up yours, and with a small stack of miracles we can help carry this whole thing home

%d bloggers like this: