YOU’RE LOSING YOUR MIND AND YOUR DECENCY, RABBI – NOT EUROPE

YOU’RE LOSING YOUR MIND AND YOUR DECENCY, RABBI – NOT EUROPE

August 29, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

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by Michael Lesher

Because I have no ambition either to be the next Chief Rabbi of Barcelona or to be subject to the whims of whoever is – as it is, I’m not even Spanish – it’s of very little direct importance to me that the current occupant of that position, one Meir Bar-Hen, is a blithering idiot.

On the other hand, I am a Jew – and a human being. And on both counts it does matter very much to me that Rabbi Bar-Hen, who claims in the wake of a car-ramming attack in Barcelona (for which the motive remains unclear) that “Europe is lost” so long as its governments allow Muslims to live side by side with other citizens, is not only a fool but a bigot of unspeakable effrontery. In fact, he’s exactly the sort of man who, with Goebbels, would have pointed to Herschel Grynszpan’s murder of a young German diplomat in 1938 as “proof” that Jews could not be tolerated in Germany.

And yet I confess that even the rabbi’s racism – essentially a declaration of war against every Muslim in Europe – is less infuriating to me than the silent complacency with which his remarks have been received throughout the Jewish world.

One might have hoped a few Jews, even today, would remember that being stigmatized as a collective threat to civilization was a familiar Jewish experience not so long ago. In the previous century, when the Reverend A.E. Patton complained of the danger of immigrant “hordes” who were “stealthy and furtive in manner…too filthy to adopt ideals of cleanliness from the start, too bigoted to surrender any racial traditions or to absorb any true Americanism,” he was writing about Jews, not Muslims, and if asked for evidence of the threat would have pointed to nothing less momentous than the gathering storm in Russia. (The Nazis used similar “evidence,” for that matter; so did some of their descendants at the recent violent hatefest in Charlottesville.) Quite apart from its moral reprehensibility, then, is Muslim-bashing a clever game for Jews to play, given our continuing minority status and a little knowledge of our own history?

And in Spain, of all places! Has a Spanish rabbi utterly forgotten what Jewish historians once dubbed the “Golden Age” of medieval Jewry – namely in Spain, under Muslim ruleand that anti-Semitic persecutions followed on the heels of the expulsion of Muslims from that country?

But bigots don’t speak the language of history, just as they don’t speak the language of contemporary fact. They speak the language of power – and Rabbi Bar-Hen provides a fine example of how that language can turn the truth inside out. Just look at how neatly his recent statements, though at odds with reality, dovetail with Western imperial propaganda.

“I tell my congregants,” Rabbi Bar-Hen told JTA after the attack that left 14 random victims dead in Barcelona, “this place is lost. Don’t repeat the mistake of Algerian Jews, of Venezuelan Jews. Better [get out] early than late.”

Say what?

Algerian Jews did face discriminatory treatment in the 1960s, in the wake of Algeria’s bloody war for independence from France (which the Jewish community, by and large, did not support). But Venezuela is a “historically open society without significant anti-Semitism,” the U.S. State Department concluded as recently as 2005. The only “grievance” of Venezuelan Jews JTA could scrape up the following year was that President Hugo Chavez had had the temerity to criticize Israeli war crimes in Lebanon.

And anyway, what has Venezuela got to do with Spain?

Well, nothing – except that Chavez was on Washington’s enemies’ list long before ISIS was. And that’s the clue to unpacking Rabbi Bar-Hen’s ominous reference to Latin America: it means, “Jews shouldn’t want open societies where the U.S. doesn’t want them. We must stay on the side of Big Brother.”

The same goes for Bar-Hen’s weird juxtaposition of Spain – where, he claims, Jews can’t survive because “radical” Muslims are “living among you” and “it’s very difficult to get rid of them” – against Israel, where he explicitly encourages his congregants to immigrate.

Now, Rabbi Bar-Hen knows as well as anyone that Israel and its occupied territories have a Muslim population too (in fact, one that is proportionally larger than the Muslim community in Spain), and that this population is not altogether acquiescent. If Spain is a “hub of Islamist terror for all of Europe,” as the rabbi claims, what in the world makes Israel a safe haven?

Again, nothing – except that Israel, unlike Spain, is an American client state. And so what the rabbi is really saying to Jews is, “Go where American power goes. The U.S. is fighting a war against the Muslim world, and we want to be on the side of the powerful – never mind what’s right or wrong.”

And then there’s Bar-Hen’s flagship “proof” that Spain is soft on Muslim terrorism: the fact that the government wouldn’t suppress the free travel of Leila Khaled, a Palestinian refugee who nearly 50 years ago helped hijack an airplane (hurting no one) and who wanted, to the horror of people like Rabbi Bar-Hen, to attend a book festival in Spain this year. This showed that Spanish authorities “do not understand the nature of terrorism, if they treat it as an action by the disenfranchised,” the rabbi told JTA.

Got it? In Bar-Hen’s world, a Palestinian woman who was driven out of her native Haifa at the age of 4 can’t possibly be “disenfranchised.” And any country that would dream of allowing a small-time Palestinian resistance fighter to set foot in it, five decades after her last illegal act – the same country having already welcomed the likes of Shimon Peres, the butcher of Qana and eager backer of apartheid South Africa – should be ashamed of itself. That is, if its moral standard is all about what’s good for the Empire.

Which, in a word, is Bar-Hen’s standard.

Taken separately, each one of Bar-Hen’s remarks amounts to pure stupidity. But their sum total is something rather more sinister. Bar-Hen may be a blithering idiot, as I called him a moment ago, but what am I to call a man who scorns the mayor of Barcelona for saying, after the tragic car-ramming deaths in her city, that “Barcelona is a city of peace,” and that “[t]error will not make us stop being who we are: a brave city open to the world”?

Bar-Hen thought so little of that fine statement that he said he might not attend the public solidarity rally called by the mayor, claiming security officials instructed him to avoid public areas in the coming days – because he is recognizably Jewish.

Rabbi, I doubt you’ll read this column. But if you do, I’m calling your bluff. I want to know which “security officials” told you it’s not safe for a Jew with a skullcap to be seen in the streets of Barcelona, though it’s apparently quite safe for Muslims to show themselves, even immediately after a terrible crime has been blamed on someone in their community, and even with the likes of you whipping up public hysteria against them all. I want to know what entitles you to claim victimhood at the same time you incite violence against roughly a billion people worldwide. I want to know why Leila Khaled’s 50-year-old violence is reprehensible to you, while Israel’s continuing brutality is not.

And I want to tell you something, Rabbi. You’re not losing “Europe.” What you’re losing is your mind – your ability to reason, to ground your opinions in fact, to guide your congregants with truth rather than propaganda.

And you’re losing something else, too: your common decency. Because behind your stupidity is, as I’ve shown, a corrupt agenda every Jew, let alone a rabbi, should repudiate. Because when you sell out to imperial power, you cease to be a religious leader and become one more toady to the powers that be. Because inciting hatred against an already demonized people puts you squarely, and exclusively, in the ranks of vulgar propagandists.

And this is one Jew who isn’t going to let rabbis like you forget how utterly, in a moment of crisis, you morally betrayed and abandoned us all.

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Venezuela: West’s Battle Against Multipolarism Reaches Far

August 22, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – The battle between the established unipolar “international order” dominated by Wall Street, Washington, and London and an emerging multipolar order appears fixated on Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and across the entirety of Asia. However, it extends to virtually every corner of the globe, from competition in the Arctic to politically-motivated controversies in Earth orbit.

The South American nation of Venezuela also seems far-removed from this ongoing competition engulfing the world’s hot spots in the Middle East, Central and Asia, but the fate of this besieged nation is directly linked to the that of the rest of the world, either contributing to an emerging multipolar world order, or providing sanctuary and legitimacy to the established unipolar order currently dominated by Wall Street, Washington, and London.

The nation has been the target of US-backed subversion for decades. The latest iteration of American interference began with the rise of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and a failed US-backed coup in 2002 organized to oust him and place a US-controlled client regime in power.

Venezuela’s “Opposition” are US-Backed Agitators  

Many of those involved in the failed 2002 coup are now leading US-backed protesters in the streets in a bid to overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded Chavez after his death in 2013.

The opposition includes former presidential contender, Henrique Capriles Radonski, who heads Primero Justicia (Justice First) which was co-founded by Leopoldo Lopez and Julio Borges, who like Radonski, have been backed for nearly a decade by the US State Department.

Primero Justicia and the network of foreign-funded NGOs that support it have been recipients of both direct and indirect foreign support for at least just as long.

All three co-founders are US educated – Radonski having attended New York’s Columbia University (Spanish), Julio Borges attending Boston College and Oxford, and Leopoldo Lopez who attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (KSG), of which he is considered an alumni of.

The Harvard Kennedy School, which hosts the notorious Belfer Center, includes the following faculty and alumni of Lopez, co-founder of the current US-backed opposition in Venezuela:

John P. Holdren, Samantha Power, Lawrence Summers, Robert Zoellick, (all as faculty), as well as Ban Ki-Moon (’84), Paul Volcker (’51), Robert Kagan (’91), Bill O’Reilly (’96), Klaus Schwab (’67), and literally hundreds of senators, ambassadors, and administrators of Wall Street and London’s current global spanning international order. 

Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (KSG) is one of several universities that form the foundation of both creating corporate-financier driven international policy, as well as cultivating legions of administrators to execute it. This includes creating cadres of individuals to constitute Wall Street and Washington’s client regimes around the world.
Venezuela’s Problem, Like Other Targeted States, is US Sedition, not “Socialism” 
It is true that Venezuela is deemed a “socialist” nation, and its policy of heavily centralizing the economy has not only failed to alleviate the many longstanding socioeconomic conflicts inflicting Venezuelan society, but has also created an ample vector for Wall Street and Washington’s meddling.
By placing all of Venezuela’s proverbial “eggs” in one centralized “basket,” the United States – through the use of various well-honed geopolitical and socioeconomic tools – has managed to knock that “basket” from the government in Caracas’ hands and is now using its well-funded and organized opposition to crush whatever “eggs” survived the fall.
Unfortunately for Venezuela, the Western political landscape is so deeply rooted in blind, poorly developed political ideology, practical geopolitical and geostrategic analysis has been overlooked across both traditional and alternative media platforms, and instead, many – including opponents of US-backed regime change worldwide – have found themselves cheering on what they believe is the self-inflicted collapse of the socialist Venezuelan government at the hands of “free market” protesters.
In reality, they are cheering on yet another episode of US-backed regime change, wrapped in a protective layer of ideological, political, and economic rhetoric to justify otherwise unjustifiable, extraterritorial meddling, interference, chaos, division, and destruction.
Venezuela’s Place Within the Unipolar-Mulipolar World 

Depending on the ultimate fate of the Venezuelan government, the success of US-backed proxies, and the ability of Venezuela to reconstruct itself after decades of foreign-backed subversion, Venezuela can either enhance or set back the emerging multipolar world order.

Regardless of Venezuela’s fate if and when the government in Caracas is toppled, the US-led unipolar international order will benefit. The elimination of competition, even at the cost of creating a center of regional destabilization is considered favorable versus allowing a bastion of alternative socioeconomic and geopolitical power to persist. And in many ways, the creation of a regional center of destabilization may help the US create “synergies” between the chaos it is fostering in Venezuela and in neighboring South and Central American nations the US has likewise targeted for geopolitical coercion and/or regime change.

For Russia, China, other nations of BRICS, and even emerging economies across Southeast Asia and Central Asia, the loss of Venezuela as a means of counterbalance to US hegemony both in the region of the Americas and globally will allow the US to concentrate more resources toward remaining alternative centers of geopolitical and economic power it seeks to target.

This – not the nature of Venezuela’s “socialist” government – is the focus of US efforts and is what defines the consequences of either US success or failure regarding regime change in Caracas.

Any government, socialist or otherwise, operating outside of Wall Street, Washington, and London’s sphere of influence is a target. Competition, not ideology defines and drives Western foreign policy – and for those who oppose this policy – it must be practical geopolitical and geostrategic analysis that defines conclusions and courses of action – not the ideological debates the US itself is using as a pretext and as rhetorical cover to justify its latest regime-change project.

Venezuela may be geographically far removed from the focal point of the great unipolar-multipolar struggle, but understanding how it fits into conflicts raging in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and across Asia illustrates just how encompassing the “international order’s” reach and ambitions really are – and how deadly dangerous they are to global peace, security, and stability.

Who has said that Venezuela does not concern us? من قال إنّ فنزويلا لا تعنينا؟ 

Who has said that Venezuela does not concern us?

أغسطس 18, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

A cold war takes place as the volcanoes of the Latin America from time to time; so the Venezuelan society is dividing clearly into two camps: one includes the capital, the right, and the liberal elites, and the other includes the majority of the middle class and based on the popular and poor classes, the left, and the educated elites that grew up on the thought of the national independence and refusing the American hegemony. Our mission is not to simplify the crisis and to show it mere a conspiracy. The conspiracy means an existing war plan which without it the crisis did not grow, as it does not benefit to show it internationally and locally as mere a confrontation between the democracy advocates and its opponents, it is a crisis of major options that struggle in the Latin America including Venezuela which carried the flag and led  the historic transition in the continent towards the national independence, and the economy which based on the central role of the country in managing the oil sectors, securing the guarantees and the main services for the poor classes.

The struggle in Venezuela is neither new nor includes the whole continent. The Bolivarian movement is like the Sandinista is not imported from the outside. Neither the capitalist class, nor the right forces, nor the American influence by the geographical presence, nor the Zionist influence by the effect of the historic relationships, the demographic presence, and the media and cultural effect are marginal. It is certain that what has been achieved by the figure of the historic leader; the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was surplus to the American endurance, and impressive in terms of achievement. The expectation in the last years of his presidential era was that the internal and the external opponents resort to invest his departure to organize a counter-attack. It was normal that the arrival of a president and an administration that believe in the extremism to the White House gave a sign to begin this counter-revolution.

The alliance which waged the war on Syria is the same which is waging now its war on Venezuela. In both cases it based on dependent structures in the society that attract the marginalized and the slum dwellers, it gets the strength by the money of the Gulf and the Israeli intelligence as well as the weight of the American pressure. In its positions defending the right, Venezuela went far, that the parties of this alliance cannot tolerate it, while the Arab rulers were asking the Israeli leaderships in the war of July 2006 and the war of Gaza 2008 for more killing, devastation, and destruction along with some Lebanese, hoping to break the resistance. Venezuela tried to expel the Israeli ambassador and to announce its firm support to Lebanon, Palestine, their resistances and their peoples. On the day of the war on Syria Venezuela did not hesitate to announce its crucial and decisive position. Just for that we cannot forget these positions and not to exchange them with the same through the announcing to stand with Venezuela and the leadership of the President Maduro.

The presence of a group of the Venezuelan society that is similar to our does not change the fact. The team of the fourteenth of March is neither a Lebanese made nor a Lebanese registered brand; it is an example of Washington’s followers and who are not ashamed of the violation of the independence of their homelands, they just concern about the profits of banks and the foreign agencies more than the national dignity, do not feel embarrassed if the people go to streets, and do not feel ashamed if their positions meet the Israelis, or if they wage a war of sovereignty under the photo of the Saudi King or to have a banquet at the American Embassy, or to boast of a democratic revolution from Gulf capital that does not know neither the constitution nor the elections. A similar to it has led the devastation of Syria; a similar to it is trying to take Venezuela to the civil war. The US President won the presidency by an electoral game; the investigation is still ongoing about the degree of its fairness, since the ceiling of the difference is few votes and part of one percent.

Venezuela concerns us so much, it has preceded us by saying you are not alone at a fatal harsh moment, so the less fulfillment is to say you are not alone at a similar moment.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

من قال إنّ فنزويلا لا تعنينا؟ 

ناصر قنديل

أغسطس 9, 2017

– تدور رحى حرب باردة تسخن وتخبو كبراكين أميركا اللاتينية بين حين وحين، وينقسم حول ضفتيها المجتمع في فنزويلا، بصورة جلية إلى معسكرين، واحد يضمّ الرأسمال واليمين والنخب الليبرالية، وآخر يضمّ أغلب الطبقة الوسطى ويستند إلى الطبقات الشعبية والفقيرة واليسار ونخب مثقفة ترعرعت على فكر الاستقلال الوطني ومناهضة الهيمنة الأميركية، وليست مهمّتنا التهوين من الأزمة وتصويرها مجرد مؤامرة. والمؤامرة تعني خطة حرب موجودة ولم تكبر الأزمة من دونها، كما لن يفيد المقلب الآخر دولياً ومحلياً تصويرها مجرد مواجهة بين دعاة الديمقراطية وخصومها، فهي أزمة خيارات كبرى تتصارع على ساحة أميركا اللاتينية وفي قلبها فنزويلا، التي حملت الراية وقادت التحوّل التاريخي في القارة نحو الاستقلال الوطني، والاقتصاد القائم على دور محوري للدولة في إدارة قطاعات النفط وتأمين الضمانات والخدمات الرئيسية للفئات الفقيرة.

– الصراع في فنزويلا ليس جديداً ولا في القارة كلها، والحركة البوليفارية ومثلها الساندينية ليستا مستورداً خارجياً، والطبقة الرأسمالية ليست هامشية ولا قوى اليمين، ولا النفوذ الأميركي بقوة الحضور الجغرافي، ولا النفوذ الصهيوني بتأثير تاريخية العلاقات والوجود الديمغرافي والتأثير الإعلامي والثقافي، والأكيد أنّ ما تحقق على يد الشخصية القيادية التاريخية للرئيس الفنزويلي الراحل هوغو تشافيز كان فائضاً على قدرة التحمّل الأميركية، ومبهراً في حجم الإنجاز، وكان التوقع في السنوات الأخيرة من عهده الرئاسي أن يلجأ الخصوم الداخليون والخارجيون لاستثمار لحظة رحيله لتنظيم الهجوم المضادّ، وكان طبيعياً أن يمنح وصول رئيس وإدارة تؤمنان بالتطرف إلى البيت الأبيض إشارة البدء للثورة المضادّة.

– الحلف الذي خاض الحرب على سورية هو ذاته يخوضها على فنزويلا. وفي الحالتين يستند إلى بنى طفيلية في المجتمع تستقطب المهمّشين وسكان العشوائيات، ويستقوي بمال الخليج والمخابرات «الإسرائيلية» وثقل الضغط الأميركي. فقد ذهبت فنزويلا في مواقفها دفاعاً عن الحق إلى حيث لا يمكن أن يسامحها أطراف هذا الحلف، فبينما كان حكام العرب يطلبون من القيادات «الإسرائيلية» في حرب تموز 2006 وحرب غزة 2008، المزيد من القتل والخراب والدمار، ومعهم بعض اللبنانيين، أملاً بكسر المقاومة، وقفت فنزويلا لتطرد السفير «الإسرائيلي» وتعلن وقوفها الحازم مع لبنان وفلسطين ومقاومتهما وشعبهما. ويوم دقت ساعة الحرب على سورية لم تتوان فنزويلا عن إشهار موقفها الحازم والحاسم، ولذلك لا يمكن لنا نسيان هذه الوقفات ولا مبادلتها إلا بمثلها، بإعلان الوقوف مع فنزويلا وقيادة الرئيس مادورو.

لا يغيّر من هذه الحقيقة وجود فئة من المجتمع الفنزويلي تشبه ما عندنا، ففريق الرابع عشر من آذار ليس صناعة لبنانية، ولا ماركة لبنانية مسجلة، هو نموذج لأتباع واشنطن، والذين لا يُخجلهم انتهاك استقلال أوطانهم، وتعنيهم أرباح المصارف والوكالات الأجنبية أكثر من الكرامة الوطنية، ولا يرفّ لهم جفن إن رأوا الشعب يملأ الساحات، ولا يُخجلهم أن تتماهى مواقفهم مع «إسرائيل»، ولا أن يخوضوا حروب السيادة تحت صورة الملك السعودي أو من مأدبة في السفارة الأميركية، وأن يتباهوا بثورة ديمقراطية من عاصمة خليجية لم تعرف الدستور ولا الانتخابات، ومثلها قاد خراب سورية، ومثلها تُقاد اليوم محاولة أخذ فنزويلا للحرب الأهلية. فالانقسام ليس نقيصة، ورئيس أميركا يفوز بالرئاسة بلعبة انتخابية لا يزال التحقيق مستمراً حول درجة نزاهتها، وسقف الفارق للفائز بضعة أصوات وجزء من واحد بالمئة.

– تعنينا فنزويلا كثيراً، وقد سبقتنا بالقول لستم وحدكم، في لحظة مصيرية قاسية، وأقلّ الوفاء أن نقول لستم وحدكم في لحظة مشابهة.

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Trump threatens Cuba with ‘regime change’

On Friday, speaking to Cuban-American exiles in Miami, Florida, Donald Trump ordered tighter restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba and a clampdown on US businessmen doing business with companies allegedly controlled by the Cuban military.

Effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba. Our policy will seek a much better deal for the Cuban people and the USA,” said Trump.

Trump called Raul Castro’s government brutal and vowed to liberate the island nation. “With God’s help a free Cuba is what we will soon achieve,” he thundered.

It is best for America to have freedom in its hemisphere whether in Cuba or Venezuela,” he added.

The Castro regime has sent arms to North Korea and fueled chaos in Venezuela. It has supported human trafficking, forced labor and exploitation across the globe,” added Trump.

It would be talking to Holy Cow to remind Donald Trump that Washington has been arming Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Egypt which are using them against Palestinian, Syrians, Yemenis and Lebanese. In 2016, Human trafficking in the United States rose 35.7 percent from the previous year.

US, the self-appointed champion for human rights around the globe – is also the worst human rights abuser when it comes to minors. According to the Family Research Council:

Each year, right under our noses, 100,000 American children are victimized by sex traffickers. Make no mistake, this is not a problem that’s just “over there.” These heinous crimes are happening in our own backyards”.

In 2007, UNICEF reported that the US and Britain  are the worst nations for children to live among the industrialized nations.

Cuban-American Israel-Firsters Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) are allegedly the authors of Trump’s anti-Havana rant.

Since Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba in March 2016, a lot of people felt happy believing that finally the five-decade old American crusade against Castro dynasty came to an end. But now they’re disappointed to find out that the ‘crippling sanctions’ against Cuba, like Iran, are still in force.

Washington lifted some travel restrictions against Cuban citizen. The US released the Cuban-Five in exchange for American Jew spy Alan Gross. US State Department even took-off Cuba from list of countries sponsoring terrorism. Iran and N. Korea are still on that list while Israel which had committed most terrorist acts against the US, never made to the list.

Commenting on Trump’s rant, Ellie Schwartz (Jew) at the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) said:

The way forward for US-Cuba relations is to not simply relax travel and trade restrictions, but to end the embargo once and for all. After half a century, it is clear that the embargo is a failed policy. It has done nothing to accomplish its primary goal of regime change. The embargo has not improved Cuban lives; it has succeeded only in further snubbing the Cuban people it claims to help. If Trump truly sought a better deal for the Cuban people, he would support continued engagement, trade, and travel to Cuba, and thereby increase opportunity for all.”

Both Cuba and Venezuela have no diplomatic relations with the Zionist entity. Both countries have recognized a separate Palestinian state. Cuban president Fidel Castro and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez have paid state visits to Iran. Iranian president Dr. Hassan Rouhani has also visited both Cuba and Venezuela.

Syria’s Assad Just Explained How America Really Works

By Brandon Turbeville

While Americans endlessly battle each other over seemingly important choices like Clinton and Trump or Democrats and Republicans, it is clear that the majority of the population has little understanding of how the U.S. government operates. Yet, for those who pay the price for the apathy and confusion of the general population of the West, it often becomes stunningly obvious that neither presidents nor political parties in America represent any discernible difference in the ongoing agenda of the Deep State and the rest of the oligarchical apparatus. Indeed, that agenda always marches forward regardless of who is president or which political party is in control.

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad has thus had the unique position of not only being on the receiving end of American imperialism by virtue of not only being a citizen of a target country but also by being the head of the country, steeped in politics in his own right and thus understanding how certain factors come into play at the national level.

With that in mind, it is worth pointing out a recent statement made by Assad during the course of an interview regarding the opinion of the Syrian government on Donald Trump. Assad stated,

The American President has no policies. There are policies drawn by the American institutions which control the American regime which are the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the big arms and oil companies, and financial institutions, in addition to some other lobbies which influence American decision-making. The American President merely implements these policies, and the evidence is that when Trump tried to move on a different track, during and after his election campaign, he couldn’t. He came under a ferocious attack. As we have seen in the past few week, he changed his rhetoric completely and subjected himself to the terms of the deep American state, or the deep American regime. That’s why it is unrealistic and a complete waste of time to make an assessment of the American President’s foreign policy, for he might say something; but he ultimately does what these institutions dictate to him. This is not new. This has been ongoing American policy for decades.

Assad also addressed the Western media’s portrayal of him as a “devil” who kills and oppresses his own people. He stated,

Yes, from a Western perspective, you are now sitting with the devil. This is how they market it in the West. But this is always the case when a state, a government, or an individual do not subjugate themselves to their interests, and do not work for their interests against the interests of their people. These have been the Western colonial demands throughout history. They say that this evil person is killing the good people. Okay, if he is killing the good people, who have been supporting him for the past six years? Neither Russia, nor Iran, nor any friendly state can support an individual at the expense of the people. This is impossible. If he is killing the people, how come the people support him? This is the contradictory Western narrative; and that’s why we shouldn’t waste our time on Western narratives because they have been full of lies throughout history, and not something new.

When asked about the allegations made by the United States that the Syrian government has retained some stocks of chemical weapons, Assad responded by saying,

You and I remember well what happened in 2003, when Colin Powell showed the world in the United Nations what he claimed to be the evidence which proves that President Saddam Hussein possessed chemical, nuclear, and other weapons. However, when the American forces invaded Iraq, it was proven that all he said was a lie. Powell himself admitted that the American intelligence agencies deceived him with that false evidence. That wasn’t the first nor will it be the last time. This means that if you want to be a politician in the United States, you have to be a genuine liar. This is what characterizes American politicians: they lie on a daily basis, and say something and do something different. That’s why we shouldn’t believe what the Pentagon, or any other American institution says, because they say things which serve their policies, not things which reflect reality and the facts on the ground.

One can scarcely argue with Assad’s portrayal of the U.S. government and the position of the presidency in 2017. After all, Donald Trump campaigned on keeping America out of foreign wars and the affairs of other countries as well as the WW3 policy of Hillary Clinton. However, not even four months into his presidency, Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria and the United States struck a Syrian military convoy en route to liberate the southeast of the country from terrorists only days ago.

The Trump administration has repeatedly pushed the envelope even further in Syria and provoked fears that the U.S. aggression in the region and in Asia could result in a confrontation with a nuclear power much in the same way that Hillary Clinton advocated for during the campaign.

While Americans remain more divided than ever and as they ceaselessly argue over which party and political figurehead is better, the war machine marches onward not only in Syria but also in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. If Americans are not capable of understanding that there is more to the system in which they live than two pathetic political parties and clownish presidential personalities, that war machine will march itself clear across the globe until it comes back home.

The transcript of the interview with Bashar al-Assad is included below in this article. Assad addresses the United States involvement in the Syrian crisis, the Israeli role, and the attempt to destabilize Venezuela.

teleSUR (TS): Mr. President, thank you for receiving us.

President Bashar al-Assad (BA): I welcome you and teleSUR TV in Syria. You are welcome.

TS: Let’s start directly with the latest developments. Russia has warned that there might be other alleged chemical attacks. What are the precautionary measures that Syria has taken in order to prevent that?

BA: First of all, terrorists have used chemical materials more than once in the past several years and in more than one region throughout Syria. We have asked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send specialized missions to investigate what happened. And every time, the United States obstructed these investigations or prevented sending such missions in order to carry out such investigations. This is what happened last week when we called for investigations over the alleged use of chemical weapons in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. The United States and its allies prevented OPCW from taking that decision. As far as we are concerned, we still insist on an investigation, and we and our Russian and Iranian allies are trying to persuade OPCW to send a team to investigate what happened, because if it doesn’t, the United States might repeat the same charade by fabricating the use of false chemical weapons in another place in Syria in order to justify military intervention in support of the terrorists. On the other hand, we continue to fight the terrorists, because we know that the objective of all these American and Western allegations concerning chemical weapons is to support terrorists in Syria. That’s why we will continue to fight these terrorists.

TS: But the Pentagon says that Syria has chemical weapons. Is it true that Syria has kept one percent of the weapons it has committed itself to hand over and destroy four years ago?

BA: You and I remember well what happened in 2003, when Colin Powell showed the world in the United Nations what he claimed to be the evidence which proves that President Saddam Hussein possessed chemical, nuclear, and other weapons. However, when the American forces invaded Iraq, it was proven that all he said was a lie. Powell himself admitted that the American intelligence agencies deceived him with that false evidence. That wasn’t the first nor will it be the last time. This means that if you want to be a politician in the United States, you have to be a genuine liar. This is what characterizes American politicians: they lie on a daily basis, and say something and do something different. That’s why we shouldn’t believe what the Pentagon, or any other American institution says, because they say things which serve their policies, not things which reflect reality and the facts on the ground.

TS: What is the objective behind Syria’s desire to acquire the latest generation of anti-missile systems from Russia?

BA: We are already in a state of war with Israel; and Israel has been committing aggressions on the Arab states surrounding it since its creation in 1948. So, it’s natural that we should have such systems. However, the terrorists, acting on Israeli, American, Turkish, Qatari, and Saudi instructions have destroyed some of these systems. And it is natural for us to negotiate with the Russians now with a view to strengthening these systems, whether to face any Israeli threats from the air or the threats of American missiles. That has become a real possibility after the recent American aggression on al-Shairat airbase in Syria.

TS: What is the role that Israel, in particular, has played in this war against Syria? We know that Israeli attacks against the positions of the Syrian Arab Army have continued in recent weeks.

BA: It is playing this role in different forms; first, by direct aggression, particularly by using warplanes, artillery, or missiles against Syrian Army positions. Second, it is supporting terrorists in two ways: first by providing direct support in the form of weapons, and second by providing logistic support, i.e. allowing them to conduct military exercises in the areas it controls. It also provides them with medical assistance in its hospitals. These are not mere claims or assumptions. They are facts, verified and published on the internet which you can easily access as proven evidence of the Israeli role in support of the terrorists in Syria.

TS: How do you assess the current policy of Donald Trump in the world, and in Syria in particular?

BA: The American President has no policies. There are policies drawn by the American institutions which control the American regime which are the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the big arms and oil companies, and financial institutions, in addition to some other lobbies which influence American decision-making. The American President merely implements these policies, and the evidence is that when Trump tried to move on a different track, during and after his election campaign, he couldn’t. He came under a ferocious attack. As we have seen in the past few week, he changed his rhetoric completely and subjected himself to the terms of the deep American state, or the deep American regime. That’s why it is unrealistic and a complete waste of time to make an assessment of the American President’s foreign policy, for he might say something; but he ultimately does what these institutions dictate to him. This is not new. This has been ongoing American policy for decades.

TS: The American administration has opened a new front now with North Korea. Is it possible that this will affect the current American approach towards Syria?

BA: No, the United States always seeks to control all the states of the world without exception. It does not accept allies, regardless of whether they are developed states as those in the Western bloc, or other states of the world. Every state should be an American satellite. That is why what is happening to Syria, to Korea, to Iran, to Russia, and maybe to Venezuela now, aims at re-imposing American hegemony on the world, because they believe that this hegemony is under threat now, which consequently threatens the interests of American economic and political elites.

TS: Russia’s role in the Syrian conflict is very clear; but what is the role of China, this other great global power?

BA: There is great cooperation with Russia and China in terms of political action or political positions. Viewpoints are similar, and there is cooperation in the Security Council. As you know, the United States and its allies have tried several times to use the Security Council in order to legitimize the role of the terrorists in Syria and to legitimize their role in the illegitimate and aggressive intervention in Syria. That’s why Russia and China stood together, and China’s role, with the Russian role, was essential in this regard.

Moreover, some of the terrorists are Chinese nationals who came to Syria through Turkey. They pose a threat to us in Syria, but they pose an equal threat to China. China is aware of the fact that terrorism in any place in the world moves to any other place; and consequently, whether these terrorists are of Chinese or any other nationality, they might return to China and strike there as they have done in Europe, in Russia, and in Syria. We are now cooperating with China on security issues.

TS: Western and American media talk now about moderate terrorists and extremist terrorists. In reality, is there a difference between the two groups?

BA: For them, a moderate terrorist is that who carries out acts of beheading and slaughter but without carrying al-Qaeda flag, or without saying “Allah Akbar,” while an extremist terrorist is that who carries the flag and says Allah Akbar when carrying out acts of beheading and slaughter. This is the only difference. For the United States, all those who serve its political agenda against other states are classified as moderate opposition and not as extremist and terrorist, even if they commit the worst acts of terrorism. They are freedom fighters and not fighters in the cause of destruction and sabotage.

TS: There have been six years of war in Syria. What is Syria’s position now, particularly in the absence of statistics about human losses?

BA: The most painful loss in any war is human loss, the suffering which is inflicted any family when it loses one of its members; for the whole family is scarred for life. This is the natural feeling in a region like ours, where family ties are very strong. Nothing compensates that loss, and nothing exceeds the pain it causes. There are of course huge economic and infrastructure losses, but this infrastructure has been built for a little over 50 years by Syrian hands, not foreign hands. And we have the capacity to rebuild this infrastructure. The same goes for the economy, for the Syrian economy is based on Syrian capabilities first and foremost; and our economic ties with the West have always been limited. When the war is over, it will all be rebuilt. We do not have a problem with that. It is true that it takes time, but it is not impossible. So, the greatest and most painful loss for Syria is the human loss.

TS: Of the 86 states constituting the alliance waging war on Syria, are there any that would take part in the process of reconstruction?

BA: No, of course not. First of all, they do not want to rebuild Syria, but some companies in those countries, if they see that the wheel of the economy and rebuilding has started to turn, and since they are opportunists, they are certainly prepared to come and have a share of rebuilding Syria in order to make money. The Syrian people will certainly not accept this. All the states which stood against the Syrian people and took part in the destruction and sabotage will never take part in rebuilding Syria. That is final.

TS: But how was life during these past six years in this besieged country?

BA: Life has certainly been tough to every Syrian citizen. The terrorists have destroyed the infrastructure. In certain areas, electricity is on for one or two hours, and there are areas in which there’s no electricity at all. There are areas in which electricity has been cut off for more than two or three years. People don’t know television, children do not go to school, there are no medical clinics or hospitals, and nobody treats the ill. They live a prehistoric existence thanks to the terrorists. There are areas which did not have water for years, like what happened in Aleppo, which did not have water for many long years. Sometimes, they use polluted water for drinking, washing up, and other purposes. Life has been very tough.

TS: One of the main targets during these years has been the person of Bashar al-Assad. Have you ever felt fear during these years?

BA: When you are in the middle of the war, you do not feel fear. I believe this is something common to all people. But you have a general concern for the homeland; for what is the value of being safe, as an individual, as a citizen, while the country is under threat? You cannot feel safe. I believe that the feeling we have in Syria in general is concern for the future of Syria rather than personal fear. The evidence is that mortar shells fall anywhere, on any house; nevertheless, you see that life continues in Syria. The will to life is much stronger than personal fear. As a President, I take strength from the feelings of the general public, not from my personal feelings. I do not live in isolation from the others.

TS: Western media have been waging a media campaign against you. Am I sitting now with this devil portrayed by the media?

BA: Yes, from a Western perspective, you are now sitting with the devil. This is how they market it in the West. But this is always the case when a state, a government, or an individual do not subjugate themselves to their interests, and do not work for their interests against the interests of their people. These have been the Western colonial demands throughout history. They say that this evil person is killing the good people. Okay, if he is killing the good people, who have been supporting him for the past six years? Neither Russia, nor Iran, nor any friendly state can support an individual at the expense of the people. This is impossible. If he is killing the people, how come the people support him? This is the contradictory Western narrative; and that’s why we shouldn’t waste our time on Western narratives because they have been full of lies throughout history, and not something new.

TS: What can Syria, too, do in order to put an end to this war ahead of the sixth round of Geneva talks?

BA: We said that there are two axes: the first is fighting the terrorists; and this is not subject to any discussion, and we don’t have any other choice in dealing with the terrorists except fighting them. The other axis, the political one, includes two points: first, dialogue with the different political forces over the future of Syria; and second: local reconciliations, in the sense that we negotiate with the terrorists in a certain village or city, depending on each case separately. The objective of this reconciliation is for them to lay down their weapons and receive an amnesty from the state, and consequently return to their normal life. This approach has been implemented during the past three or four years, has succeeded, and is ongoing now. These are the axes which we can work on in order to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.

TS: From the perspective of a country in a state of war, how do you see the situation in Latin America, particularly in Venezuela, where a number of acts very similar to those which caused the conflict in Syria have emerged?

BA: Of course, they should be similar, because the party planning and implementing these acts is the same. It is the United States as a maestro and the Western states constituting the choir. Latin America in general, and Venezuela in particular, used to be the backyard of the United States for decades. Through that backyard, Western states, particularly North America, or the United States, used to secure their economic interests through the influence of the big companies in your countries. Military or political coups in Latin America during the 1960s and the 1970s aimed at perpetuating American hegemony over the interests of your people. But Latin America freed itself during the past twenty years and gained its independent decision-making. Governments started defending the interests of their peoples, which is unacceptable to the United States. That’s why they are exploiting what’s happening in the world, starting with the orange revolution in Ukraine up to the recent coup there a few years ago, and what is taking place in the Arab countries, in Libya, Syria, Yemen and others, in order to implement it in Latin America. They started in Venezuela with the objective of overthrowing the national government, and it will spread over to other Latin American countries.

TS: Some people, particularly ordinary citizens in Latin America, think that a scenario similar to what’s happening in Syria could be repeated in Latin America. What do you think?

BA: This is true. That’s why I say since the party planning and implementing is the same, it’s natural that the scenario is not only similar, but identical. Some local elements might be different. In Syria, they said in the beginning that there were peaceful demonstrations, but in fact, when these peaceful demonstrations did not spread wide enough, they implanted individuals who fired on both sides, on the police and the demonstrations, and there were casualties. They started to say that the state is killing the people, and this scenario is being repeated everywhere. The same scenario will be repeated in Venezuela. That’s why the Venezuelan people have to be very careful. There is a difference between opposing the government and being against the homeland, a huge difference. On the other hand, no foreign state can be more concerned about Venezuela’s interests than the Venezuelan people themselves. Do not believe the West, for it’s not concerned either about human rights or about the interests of states. It is only concerned about the interests of part of the governing elites in its countries. And these governing elites are not necessarily politicians, they are economic companies too.

TS: I’m talking about Latin America, Venezuela, the Bolivarian Revolution which was your strong ally. How do you remember the late Hugo Chavez?

BA: President Chavez was a world-class distinguished personality. When we talk about Latin America, we immediately remember the late President Chavez and the late leader Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution. They are distinguished personalities who changed the face of Latin America. But of course the leader I knew personally and whom I met more than once and had a personal relationship with was President Chavez, when he visited us in Syria and I visited him in Venezuela. He visited us twice. When you meet him, you can tell that he is the son of the people. You do not feel that you are meeting a president or a politician, but a person who lived the suffering of his people. Everything he said, and every minute of his time, was about the details related to the people of his country. And when he talked with a head of another state, or an official from another state, he always thought of how to create common interests which reflect positively on his people. He was a real and strongly charismatic leader. And he was an extremely genuine person.

TS: They demonized Chavez before; and it is clear that it is Nicolas Maduro’s turn now.

BA: Of course, as long as President Maduro is walking the same patriotic line, the line of Venezuela’s independence, and acting in the best interest of his country’s people, it is natural that he should be the first target of the United States. This is self-evident.

TS: How does Bashar al-Assad envision the end of the war?

BA: Today, foreign intervention in Syria aside, the problem is not complicated, for the majority of the Syrians are tired of the war and want a solution. They want to return to safety and stability. There is a dialogue between us as Syrians, there are meetings, and people live with each other, i.e. there is no real barrier. The problem now is that with every step we make towards a solution and regaining stability, the terrorist gangs receive more money and weapons in order to blow the situation up. That’s why I can say that the solution should be stopping outside support to the terrorists. As far as we are concerned in Syria, reconciliation among all Syrians, and forgetting and forgiving all that happened in the past throughout this war, is the way to restore safety to Syria. Rest assured that Syria will be then much stronger than it was before the war.

TS: Are you prepared to have reconciliation with those who carried arms against the Syrian people?

BA: Of course, and this has actually happened in many and different places, and some of them have fought side by side with the Syrian Army, some fell martyrs, and some returned to their cities and live in the part under government control. We don’t have a problem. Tolerance is essential to end any war. And we are proceeding on that track.

TS: Mr. President, what is your message to Latin America and the world?

BA: Keep your independence. We, in the Arab region, are celebrating independence in more than one country. But this independence used to mean, in a number of countries in the region, the mere evacuation of occupying forces. But real independence happens when you are in possession of your national decision-making. For us, Latin America was a model of independence, in the sense that occupiers were evacuated, in case there were foreign forces, but at the same time there was national decision-making, openness, and democracy. You provided the world with an important model. So, keep it, because if the countries of the third and developing world wanted to develop, they should follow the model implemented in Latin America.

TS: Mr. President, thank you for giving teleSUR this interview, and thank you for your precious time and all the information that you have provided.

BA: Thank you for coming, and once again I welcome you in Damascus.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 andvolume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome

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. Turbeville has published over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST atUCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.This article may be freely shared in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

Interview with Parents of Venezuelan Man Set on Fire by Anti-Government Mob

The US regime change effort in Venezuela seems to be going full steam. On Saturday, May 20, a government supporter, 21-year-old Orlando Jose Figuera, was set on fire by a mob, most likely of the protestor-for-hire variety. The video above features an interview with his parents.

An RT report posted today contains the following:

Horrifying images from the scene show Figuera running while nearly naked with flames on his back. “A person was set on fire, beaten up, stabbed… They nearly lynched him, just because he shouted out that he was a ‘Chavista,’” said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, referring to supporters of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela established by late leader Hugo Chavez.

Speaking on state TV, Maduro described the torching as “a hate crime and a crime against humanity.” The 21-year-old victim, who sustained heavy injuries, severe burns, and stab wounds, was taken to intense care.

Amazingly Figuera survived, or at least he’s still alive for the moment.

The Washington Post seems to be doing its faithful best to promote the regime-change effort. An article published today, headlined “Venezuela is Sliding into Anarchy,” says  Figuera was attacked by a “lynch mob,” but not until much further down in the story (a total of 13 paragraphs) do the writers finally get around to mentioning that the victim was a supporter of the government–and then the information is given in such a back-handed manner it is almost as if they are seeking to provide moral justification for what happened to him:

He was suspected of being a pro-government spy, according to some versions. Others alleged he was a thief.

The story also portrays anti-government protest leaders as nonviolent, while including the customary comments on the situation from a Western think tank–in this case the International Crisis Group

Gunson, of the International Crisis Group, said he did not think Venezuela’s opposition leaders could control the spreading turmoil or turn down the temperature. “Only a decision by the government to de-escalate would do it, and there is no sign of that,” he said. “Quite the contrary.”

“I think we will start to see curfews, mass arrests, a higher daily death rate and even worse violations of human rights,” said Gunson.

In other words, if the protests grow even more violent, it’s the government’s fault. The International Crisis Group, by the way, was co-founded by George Soros, who is today listed as a member of the Board of Trustees, according to Wikipedia. Other Jews on the board include former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, and Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea. And if all thls isn’t enough, the Wikipedia article also includes the following tidbit which would strongly suggest the International Crisis Group cannot possibly be an objective observer of events in Venezuela:

Moisés Naím, a member of the board of directors of the International Crisis Group served as the Venezuelan Minister for Development for the centrist government of Carlos Andrés Pérez. In 2011 the International Crisis Group released a report intimating that the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez might suffer “unpredictable, possibly violent consequences” if it did not audit the election results in which Chávez won.[15] The election results have been recognized as valid by 170 neutral international observers with the exception of the United States government, who along with allied governments, provides half of the funding for the International Crisis Group. (emphasis added)

None of this, of course, is mentioned in the Washington Post story.

By the way, former Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez survived a coup attempt by Hugo Chavez in 1992, but later was ousted after the Venezuelan Supreme Court found him guilty of embezzling 250 million bolivars.

Of this past Saturday’s events, Venezuela Analysis is reporting as follows:

The incident occurred during another day of anti-government protest that saw opposition supporters attempt to march on the Ministry of the Interior in downtown Caracas, despite lacking a permit for the route.

The march was preceded by a speech by Miranda Governor and former opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles in which he called Maduro the “the biggest m—–f–cker in the country”.

“We will remain firm until this corrupt narco-dictatorship leaves Venezuela, until we have the change we want… If we have to risk our skin, we will risk it!” he told the crowds.

Although the march began peacefully, the mobilization later devolved into violent clashes as demonstrators tried to penetrate police lines around the western Caracas municipality of El Libertador.

It seems the Trump administration is fully on board with the regime change effort, and apparently Exxon-Mobil, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s former employer, has a particular interest at stake. This at any rate is the assessment in an article published several days ago by Eric Draitser:

There is a misconception spreading through the Beltway like an airborne virus, infectious in its obliviousness to reality: the idea that the administration of President Donald Trump is so bogged down by scandal and controversy that it cannot achieve any geopolitical and strategic objectives. In fact, the opposite is true. Like a cornered animal, Trump and his team are exceedingly dangerous, both in their unpredictability and, strangely enough, also in their predictability.

And when it comes to Venezuela, their strategy is transparent.

Oil reigns supreme in the minds of Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the rest of the administration. In the case of Venezuela, oil remains the lifeblood of its economy.  So in a very real sense, the White House and State Department’s interests converge with the economic imperatives of corporate America in the Bolivarian Republic.

Tillerson represents perhaps the perfect embodiment of U.S. government attitudes toward Venezuela. A slick oil man through and through, Tillerson has long sought to destabilize Venezuela in an attempt to reassert ExxonMobil’s supremacy in the country.

Venezuela’s recent rocky history begins with Chavez’s nationalization of the oil sector under the state oil company PDVSA in 2007. The Chavez government offered ExxonMobil book value for assets that it intended to assume control over, while the Tillerson-led company demanded market value, which they priced at roughly $15 billion.  Eventually, the World Bank’s arbitration court ordered Venezuela to pay $1.6 billion to ExxonMobil.

But ExxonMobil’s anger at Caracas was certainly not assuaged with that settlement agreement. In fact, the following decade saw ExxonMobil step up efforts to destabilize Venezuela’s socialist government using a variety of tactics.

Related

Venezuela Calls for Expanding Armed Civilian Militias To Counter U.S.-Backed Opposition

Venezuela is continuing to endure violent protests from U.S.-funded right-wing opposition groups that seek to destabilize the country and remove its socialist leadership from power. But now, the country’s president is calling for expanding armed civilian militias to combat the groups’ threat.

Global Research, April 24, 2017
MintPress News 19 April 2017

As Venezuela gears up to face a massive protest from U.S.-funded, right-wing opposition groups, embattled President Nicolás Maduro has called for the expansion of armed civilian militias as the threat of more violence on the streets of Caracas continues to grow.

The militias, created by deceased former president Hugo Chávez to resist “imperialist aggression,” currently consist of about 100,000 members. Maduro’s proposed expansion of the civilian force would increase its size to 500,000. Maduro’s announcement was accompanied by a rousing speech in which he called upon Venezuelans to decide if they are “with the homeland” or against it, adding that “now is not the time to hesitate.”

The United Nations quickly condemned Maduro’s plan, arguing that it would only exacerbate tensions in the country. But the UN – along with other human rights organizations such as the Organization of American States – have refused to speak out against the violence perpetrated by the foreign-funded opposition.

The president’s plan to expand the civilian militias comes amid weeks of violent opposition-led protests in the nation’s capital that have seen the deaths of several protestors, with the planned “mother of all protests” set to take place this Wednesday. The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela has also planned a counter-protest for the same day, meaning that clashes between the two groups are almost certain to occur.

The violence of the recent protests has captured international attention, as years of subtle and subversive foreign intervention against oil-rich Venezuela’s leftist government continues to take its toll. Former U.S. President Barack Obama alone dedicated $5 million to “support political competition-building efforts” in Venezuela. The U.S. is estimated to have spent between $50 to $60 million since Chávez’s election to bolster the country’s right-wing opposition. It should come as no surprise, then, that evidence has emerged showing right-wing politicians and their affiliates paying protesters in cash to violently escalate what would otherwise have been a largely peaceful opposition rally.

For instance, in one publicly released video, one of the protestors asserted that he was paid $420 to attack the Supreme Court building in Caracas with Molotov cocktails during an April 8 rally. Given that Venezuela’s economy is in tatters and many basic necessities are in short supply due to sanctions and other forms of economic warfare, offers of such large sums of money are likely hard to resist for many opposition members.

https://videosenglish.telesurtv.net/player/654803/violence-in-venezuela-here-is-what-the-media-doesnt-tell-you/?aspectratio=auto

Venezuela’s opposition has repeatedly asserted that Maduro is transforming his presidency into a dictatorship while also blaming him for Venezuela’s economic problems, food shortages and rising crime. However, Maduro and his supporters continue to assert that opposition leaders, bolstered by foreign governments and corporations, are fomenting violence and waging an economic war intended to destabilize his regime in order to return political power to the right wing, which ruled the country prior to Chávez’s rise to power.

There has been considerable evidence to support Maduro’s claims, though much of it has not been widely reported by the international media. For instance, businesses associated with the opposition have been caught hoarding food and medicine to create the appearance of scarcity and shortages, a tactic long used by the U.S. against leftist Latin American regimes.

In addition, the Venezuelan opposition is openly funded by the United States and Venezuelan oligarchs who have expressed clear interest in regime change in Venezuela for years. While Maduro’s latest call for increased civilian involvement in protecting his government comes at a key time for the embattled president, it may not be enough to ward off the long-standing efforts to remove the socialists from power in Venezuela.

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