UK denying Maduro access to Venezuelan gold is not only THEFT, it’s MURDER of London’s reputation as trusted financial center

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George Galloway

George Gallowaywas a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years.

He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator. Follow him on Twitter @georgegalloway

©  Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC

The standards are poor at the Bank of England these days, I don’t know why anyone would want to do business with them. George Galloway gives British banking, and justice, a triple-fail rating.

It used to be “a thing” when I was growing up. “As safe as the Bank of England” was the acme of trustworthiness and security. But as Venezuela – and any other Global South country foolish enough to entrust the British with their sovereign wealth just found out in the High Court in London – the Bank of England isn’t any longer safe at all.

Almost a billion dollars worth of Venzuelan gold bullion has just been stolen by the British government, theft has just been legalized, and the thieves didn’t even bother to wear a mask.

The gold was deposited in London by the then internationally recognized government of Venezuela. But the now internationally recognized government of Nicolas Maduro has been refused permission to have its value transferred to the United Nations in New York for work they wish the UN Development Program to conduct against the coronavirus pandemic.

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Venezuela in legal battle to get its gold back from Bank of England

Venezuela in legal battle to get its gold back from Bank of England

Instead, a man off the street in Caracas by the name of Juan Guaido – who has not only never been elected to power in Venezuela, he’s no longer even elected as the leader of the opposition – is the legal owner of the gold, says Justice Alice-in-Wonderland. After all, words mean whatever the British government wants them to mean.

The elected president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, is recognized by the great majority of countries in the world. More importantly, his government is recognized at the United Nations. It is not true, as the British government told the High Court, that they “do not recognize” the Maduro government – they recognize it every day at the UN, in discussions in the canteen as well as in the chamber.

Moreover, it is the principle of British diplomacy that they “recognize” whomsoever is in effective control of a territory – whether they like them or not. Though, come to think of it, they did breach that “principle” once before – when they continued to recognize the Cambodian genocidal murderer Pol Pot  and insist that Comrade Number 1 remains in his seat in New York long after he was actually overthrown and while the mountain of corpses in Cambodia were being counted.

By any standards, Maduro is in effective control of Venezuela and Juan Guaido is not. Maduro controls every square inch of Venezuela, is the elected president, is recognized by the United Nations and by most countries in the world. Guaido is not elected, is not recognized by the United Nations, nor by most countries in the world and doesn’t control one single inch of Venezuelan territory. But he is now the proud owner of the gold in the Bank of England. It makes the Great Train Robbery look like a mere bagatelle, Guaido makes the Thief of Baghdad look like an amateur. It is the greatest single act of theft ever to take place on British soil. And that’s saying something.

ALSO ON RT.COMMystery of the Venezuelan gold: Bank of England is independent of UK govt – but not of foreign govt

But away from the scene of the crime, away from Venezuela, British officials in their ivory tower should take note. It wasn’t just theft which took place in the Strand this week – it was murder. The murder of London’s reputation as a financial center you can trust.

Certainly, any sovereign government which has invested its sovereign wealth in London should examine their head if not the current state of their balance. This decision has given a green light to the Pirates of the Caribbean, and you could be next. Fall out with the British government and they can now hand all your country’s wealth they can grab, over to your opposition, however discredited.

Quite a day’s work in financial standards, a triple-A fail.

If I ever won the National Lottery (which I don’t enter) the last place on Earth that I would deposit my millions would be in London. Standards here just went down the rabbit-hole and will never re-emerge. The City of London has fallen.

When I was young I told my Irish grandfather that the teacher had told me that the British had an empire so vast that the Sun never set upon it. He answered “that’s because God would never trust the British in the dark.” I knew he was telling the truth. And now so does Venezuela.

©  Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/493718-uk-maduro-venezuela-gold/

If Trump Is Thinking About a Meeting with Maduro, What About Trudeau?

By Arnold August

Global Research, June 23, 2020

Based on an interview held in the White House last Friday, June 19, the U.S. website Axios reported:

“Asked whether he would meet with Maduro,” Trump said, “I would maybe think about that…. Maduro would like to meet. And I’m never opposed to meetings — you know, rarely opposed to meetings. I always say, you lose very little with meetings. But at this moment, I’ve turned them down.”

The context of what may appear to be a sudden reversal in Trump’s Venezuelan policy is to be found in John Bolton’s recently released memoir on life under Trump, The Room Where It Happened. According to Bolton (cited by Axios), after throwing the full diplomatic weight of the U.S. government behind Juan Guaidó, Trump’s private feelings about his protégé were ambivalent:

“He thought Guaidó was ‘weak,’ as opposed to Maduro, who was ‘strong.’”

“By spring [of 2019], Trump was calling Guaidó the ‘Beto O’Rourke of Venezuela,’ [Democratic Party candidate for the 2016 presidential elections won by Hilary Clinton] hardly the sort of compliment an ally of the United States should expect.”

In the Trump lexicon, the honorific applied to O’Rourke generally means “loser,” a term to deprecate political opponents. It may be that this tentative reaching out to Maduro, as opposed to hanging on to what was appearing even in Trump’s eyes as a lost cause, has its roots in previous discussions among Trump’s Cabinet.

Any eventual contact between Trump and Maduro is an ongoing but controversial story emerging from U.S. corporate media, the White House and perhaps Bolton. In fact, only one day after Trump seemed to have opened the door to discussing with Maduro, he tweeted on June 22.

“I would only meet with Maduro to discuss one thing: a peaceful exit from power!“

However, “meeting” and “discussing” is still in the news. Moreover, the fact remains, following the latest divulgations cited above, that Trump is evaluating “discussion” from a position of weakness. As Trumps has admitted, his anointed “president“ is a complete failure to date.

The situation in Canada is different. Action can be taken now as there is nothing to wait for. The Trudeau government plays a leading role in carrying forward Trump regime-change policy through the right-wing Lima group, with its avowed intention of overthrowing Maduro and installing Guaidó.

The time is ripe, because on June 17 the Trudeau government suffered a humiliating defeat in its high profile bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. In the spotlight during the weeks leading up to the vote, we saw just how close Trudeau’s relationship is to Trump. In fact, many Canadians viewed it as subservience. This evaluation even found its way into some corporate editorials on the defeat. Also under scrutiny in the UNSC debacle was the Trudeau government’s lack of respect for international law and UN resolutions.

In a word, since June 17, Trudeau does not have either an international or domestic mandate to conduct foreign policy as he has carried out since winning office. Along with other grassroots organizations and personalities, the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute was instrumental in pushing for the NO vote and creating domestic support to back up the international appeals.

If Trudeau would like to make up for his past errors and show the world there is indeed a difference between the U.S. and Canada, and that we do not perhaps stand behind every Trump move, what better opportunity that to build on Trump’s short-lived opening to Maduro? Why should Trudeau not declare that, unlike Trump, he would like to have fair and open discussions with Maduro, as anyone who believes in an “international rules-based order” should do? Surely it would take courage to do so. But this is far closer to “Canadian values” than what Trudeau has been repeating over the last few weeks. Such a courageous stand would also constitute a rebuttal of Trump’s heavy-handed, dictatorial methods. Since the vote on the 17th, the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, encouraged by its and others’ success in breaking through the usual mainstream media blackout, is following up on what many see as a mandate from the grassroots. It is calling for a popular discussion and consultations on foreign policy in these terms:

“Dear PM Trudeau,

Time to Fundamentally Reassess Canadian Foreign Policy

One of the 10 subjects raised is:

  • Why is Canada involved in efforts to oust Venezuela’s UN-recognized government, a clear violation of the principle of non-intervention in other country’s internal affairs?

Trudeau has admitted that he has to take stock of a foreign policy that has been so soundly rejected by United Nations’ member states. By revising its failed and harmful policy toward the Venezuelan people, it would contribute to a much-needed atmosphere of discussion and consultation on Canada’s outdated and unpopular foreign policy.

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Featured image is from The Santiago TimesThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Arnold August, Global Research, 2020

Venezuela To Take US Sanctions To ICC

Venezuela To Take US Sanctions To ICC

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuela vowed to take the United States to the International Criminal Court [ICC] in response to new unilateral sanctions imposed by Washington on the Latin American nation.

The administration in Washington introduced sanctions on Thursday that targeted Mexican companies and individuals for allegedly attempting to evade US restrictions on Venezuela’s oil sector.

“Washington continues to narrow the circle around Venezuela. They [the United States] believe that we cannot export oil and the Venezuelan people are left without food products, medicines, and petrol,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza wrote on his Twitter page later in the day.

“The UN multipolar system must respond. We will go the International Criminal Court over this case,” he added.

Venezuela descended into political turmoil after opposition figure Juan Guido unilaterally declared himself “interim president” of the country in January last year, and with Washington’s assistance and help from a small number of rogue soldiers, later launched a botched putsch against the elected government. There was also an attempt at assassinating the legitimately-elected President Nicolas Maduro with a drone in 2018.

Guaido’s self-proclamation and his coup received backing from the US administration.

Washington has imposed several rounds of crippling sanctions against the oil-rich nation aimed at ousting Maduro and bringing Guaido to power instead.

The sanctions, which include the illegal confiscation of Venezuelan assets abroad and an economic blockade, have caused enormous suffering for millions of people in the country.

In yet another show of animosity toward the government in Caracas, a group of US-backed mercenaries attempted to intrude into the northern Venezuelan state of La Guaira on speedboats last month, but the country’s military foiled the attack, killing eight of the armed men and arresting several others.

One of the two US citizens arrested during the marine incursion said in a public interrogation on Venezuelan state TV that the purpose of the military operation had been to seize an airport in Caracas, kidnap Maduro, and take him to the US.

The contract under which the mercenaries carried out the attack bore Guaido’s signature as well as those of other opposition figures.

In a similar move, Iran, which is also under harsh US sanctions, opened a case at the Hague-based court in 2018, calling on the organization to suspend unilateral economic sanctions imposed by Washington after US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 international nuclear deal.

AMERICA’S MEDDLING IN VENEZUELA HAS NO BOUNDARIES. AFTER A FAILED COUP ATTEMPT, TRYING TO INSTALL A BOGUS PRESIDENT AND IMPOSING CRIPPLING SANCTIONS, WILL IT EVER BE HELD TO ACCOUNT?

May 21, 2020, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

America’s meddling in Venezuela has no boundaries. After a failed coup attempt, trying to install a bogus president, and imposing crippling sanctions, will it ever be held to account?

Venezuela is back in the news again, just weeks after yet another failed coup attempt that was almost certainly backed by the US. This time, it’s the American sanctions against the country that are making the headlines – measures that caused US company AT&T to shut down satellite TV provider, DirecTV, thereby depriving Venezuelans of a number of foreign channels.

The irony, of course, is that while it’s US sanctions that are the cause of this shutdown, had it been President Nicolás Maduro who closed DirecTV, you can bet Western media headlines would be screaming about censorship of the media (although most were rather quiet when Estonia shut down Sputnik.).

The impact of this latest development will be a major inconvenience for most of Venezuela’s poorest – another example of how the sanctions are not merely targeting the administration but the people themselves. US sanctions against Syria, Venezuela, Iran and a long list of other targeted nations have deprived them of access to vital medicines, medical equipment, income and more.

As I noted in a prior article, the Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated that a staggering 40,000 Venezuelans died in 2017 and 2018 due to sanctions. This shameful statistic lends weight to former UN expert Alfred de Zayas naming sanctions as a form of terrorism, “because they invariably impact, directly or indirectly, the poor and vulnerable.”

So well done, America, for adding another layer of misery to the heap you’ve already created.

The plan to abduct Maduro

Just a couple of weeks beforehand, on May 3 and 4, Venezuelan forces had prevented 60 paramilitaries on two speedboats – including Americans – from carrying out their plan to kidnap Venezuela’s president and replace him with Juan Guaido, who the US and Canada have been attempting to install as president since early 2019.

Guaido, the self-appointed ‘interim president’, was aware of the plot, which involved a contract of $213million according to documents that have entered the public domain. The US and Canadian authorities were most likely in the loop, too. 

Guaido first announced himself as ‘interim president’ in January 2019, to the surprise of most Venezuelans and with no election. Most countries rejected this breach of Venezuela’s sovereignty, with only a smattering of Western terrorist supporting countries that advocate regime change – and some nations that they bully – endorsing him. 

A month later, there were failed Western-backed attempts to ram ‘aid trucks’ (loaded with wires and nails) through Colombia’s border with Venezuela, the goal being to vilify the government for failing to accept what was clearly not aid (and was not coming via a proper channel either).

In March, the unpopular Guaido was booed and fled from a pro-government area in Caracas, ironically with Venezuelan security protecting him from an angry crowd. In the same month, I tried to see the supposedly massive pro-opposition rallies I had heard of in the capital, but instead came across huge pro-government demonstrations

In April, Guaido and a violent right-wing opposition leader, with the backing of the US, attempted a coup— an attempt clearly rejected by masses of Venezuelans. Fast forward to January this year and Guaido failed to be re-elected as president of the country’s National Assembly.gwedo

Guaido attempted to scale a fence before the vote took place. His claims that he was barred from entering have been disputed. (Reuters) via Venezuelanalysis.com

In spite of the absurd amount of backing Guaido has received from Western governments, it seems even some opposition within Venezuela don’t want him, and would prefer to return to dialogue with Maduro’s government.

Perhaps this was down to Guaido staffers’ alleged involvement in embezzling ‘humanitarian aid’ funds. Photos taken with  Colombian drug traffickers and paramilitary leaders probably didn’t help his cause, either.

After so many Guaido false starts and flops, and their failure to bring him an iota of legitimacy, surely it’s time for the US and Canadian administrations to accept they are flogging a dead horse?

What’s the UN doing?

On Tuesday, Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada, tweeted: “May 20 at 3:00 pm, the UN Security Council will debate the situation in Venezuela. The meeting was requested by Russia after the terrorist armed attack carried out from Colombia on May 3. We will denounce to the world the aggression against our people.”

While I do of course support Venezuela’s desire to denounce the attempted coup, and the bloodshed that could have prevailed – including of civilians – had the paramilitaries been successful, forgive me for being cynical that justice will prevail.

After all, history has shown that nothing is done when the US and allies commit war crimes in Syria. Likewise, they have never been held accountable by the UN for what they did in Iraq. And what about the war crimes of Israel against Palestinian civilians, and the Saudis against the Yemenis?

Sadly, I don’t have an answer as to what’s a better option than attempts for justice and accountability via the UN.

But I know this much: this won’t be the last failed attempt to overthrow Venezuela’s government, and it won’t be the last time the country and its allies have to condemn immoral and illegal US and Canadian acts.

So vile are these governments that even now, while the world is focused on dealing with Covid-19, they are scheming to bring more misery to the people of Venezuela. They should hang their heads in shame, but they’ve got none.  

RELATED LINKS:

My Venezuela 2019 Youtube playlist

-Venezuelan woman: “We didn’t vote for you, Guaido. Trump, stop f*cking us over. [VIDEO]

-Reminder of Corporate Media Lies on Venezuela [VIDEO]

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

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

Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

Canada and the Coup Attempt Against Venezuela, by Arnold August

Drones, Documentaries, Death: Silvercorp’s Contract to Take Down Maduro in Full

10.05.2020

Personal documents are shown by Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during a virtual news conference in Caracas, Venezuela May 6, 2020.

A 13-strong group of US citizens and dissident Venezuelans attempted to infiltrate Venezuela via the coastal state of La Guaira from Colombia in the early hours of the morning, their aim being to precipitate a nationwide rebellion against the government of Nicolas Maduro.

The contract signed by private mercenary firm Silvercorp USA and opposition elements in Venezuela, which provided the basis for ‘Operacion Gedeon’, the attempted 3rd May coup against the Nicolas Maduro government, has been published online.

The attempt to install Juan Guaido as President and capture and intern high-ranking government officials was in the end quickly and easily stifled, the conspirators captured by the Bolivarian National Armed Force.The surreal incident has been widely condemned and ridiculed, and compelled US President Donald Trump to deny Washington was in any way involved in the bungled, befuddling operation. Questions still abound over the calamitous intervention, but the contract sheds significant light on the the extent of the dastardly plan allegedly financed and backed by Guaido and his supporters.

Continue here

Venezuelan opposition signed $213 million contract with US mercenary group to topple Maduro: report

By News Desk -2020-05-08

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:25 A.M.) – A new report from the American newspaper, Washington Post, revealed talks between the Venezuelan opposition and the private American security company, Silvercorp, to topple Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro.

The newspaper published a 42-page document, which is a contract between the security company and the Venezuelan opposition to “provide services” worth $213 million, which the two parties discussed last October.

“Service Provider Advisors will advise and assist Partner Group in planning and executing an operation to capture/detain/remove Nicolas Maduro (heretoafter ‘Primary Objective’), remove the current Regime, and install the recognised Venezuelan [self-proclaimed] President Juan Guaido”, the 42-page document said.

The document bears the signatures of the leader of the Venezuelan opposition, Juan Guaido, and his advisor, Juan Rendon, and the opposition Venezuelan parliamentarian, Sergio Vergara, on the one hand, and the head of the U.S. Security Police, a former member of the U.S. Special Forces, Jordan Goudreau, on the one hand.

Guaido’s press office did not comment on the published document, while Juan Rendon said in an interview with CNN that the deal with the American company had not been completed, and that Silvercorp had undertaken a “failed suicide operation” in the absence of support from Guaido.

The “Justice First” party, and the “popular will” to which Guaido belongs, published a joint statement Thursday, stating that “democratic forces do not support or finance militias, violence, or paramilitary groups.”

On Wednesday, Venezuelan state television broadcast the statements of two members of the aforementioned security company, who were arrested along with more than 10 others who participated in the operation, which was foiled last Sunday, in which they confessed that the operation was aimed at kidnapping Maduro and transferring him to the United States.

Silvercorp claimed responsibility for the operation, but Juan Guaido denied his relationship with it and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denied any “direct official relationship” to the U.S. authorities in this process, while Maduro accused President Donald Trump and Pompeo and Colombia President Evan Duque of being behind the attempt to topple him.

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Ex-Green Beret led failed attempt to oust Venezuela’s Maduro

Ex-Green Beret led failed attempt to oust Venezuela’s Maduro

May 02, 2020

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Ex-Green Beret led failed attempt to oust Venezuela’s Maduro

By JOSHUA GOODMANFILE – In this Aug. 4, 2018 file photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, security guards surround Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with protective gear as an unidentified drone interrupts his speech in Caracas, Venezuela. An exiled Venezuelan national guardsman accused of partaking in this drone attack on Maduro is among voluntary combatants in three safe houses of former soldiers plotting a military incursion from neighboring Colombia, according to an Associated Press investigation. (Xinhua via AP, File)

MIAMI (AP) — The plan was simple, but perilous. Some 300 heavily armed volunteers would sneak into Venezuela from the northern tip of South America. Along the way, they would raid military bases in the socialist country and ignite a popular rebellion that would end in President Nicolás Maduro’s arrest.

What could go wrong? As it turns out, pretty much everything.

The ringleader of the plot is now jailed in the U.S. on narcotics charges. Authorities in the U.S. and Colombia are asking questions about the role of his muscular American adviser, a former Green Beret. And dozens of desperate combatants who flocked to secret training camps in Colombia said they have been left to fend for themselves amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The failed attempt to start an uprising collapsed under the collective weight of skimpy planning, feuding among opposition politicians and a poorly trained force that stood little chance of beating the Venezuelan military.

“You’re not going to take out Maduro with 300 hungry, untrained men,” said Ephraim Mattos, a former U.S. Navy SEAL who trained some of the would-be combatants in first aid.

This bizarre, untold story of a call to arms that crashed before it launched is drawn from interviews with more than 30 Maduro opponents and aspiring freedom fighters who were directly involved in or familiar with its planning. Most spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing retaliation.

When hints of the conspiracy surfaced last month, the Maduro-controlled state media portrayed it as an invasion ginned up by the CIA, like the Cuban Bay of Pigs fiasco of 1961. An Associated Press investigation found no evidence of U.S. government involvement in the plot. Nevertheless, interviews revealed that leaders of Venezuela’s U.S.-backed opposition knew of the covert force, even if they dismissed its prospects.

Planning for the incursion began after an April 30, 2019, barracks revolt by a cadre of soldiers who swore loyalty to Maduro’s would-be replacement, Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized by the U.S. and some 60 other nations as Venezuela’s rightful leader. Contrary to U.S. expectations at the time, key Maduro aides never joined with the opposition and the government quickly quashed the uprising.

A few weeks later, some soldiers and politicians involved in the failed rebellion retreated to the JW Marriott in Bogota, Colombia. The hotel was a center of intrigue among Venezuelan exiles. For this occasion, conference rooms were reserved for what one participant described as the “Star Wars summit of anti-Maduro goofballs” — military deserters accused of drug trafficking, shady financiers and former Maduro officials seeking redemption.

Among those angling in the open lobby was Jordan Goudreau, an American citizen and three-time Bronze Star recipient for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he served as a medic in U.S. Army special forces, according to five people who met with the former soldier.

Those he interacted with in the U.S. and Colombia described him in interviews alternately as a freedom-loving patriot, a mercenary and a gifted warrior scarred by battle and in way over his head.

Two former special forces colleagues said Goudreau was always at the top of his class: a cell leader with a superb intellect for handling sources, an amazing shot and a devoted mixed martial arts fighter who still cut his hair high and tight.

At the end of an otherwise distinguished military career, the Canadian-born Goudreau was investigated in 2013 for allegedly defrauding the Army of $62,000 in housing stipends. Goudreau said the investigation was closed with no charges.

After retiring in 2016, he worked as a private security contractor in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. In 2018, he set up Silvercorp USA, a private security firm, near his home on Florida’s Space Coast to embed counter-terror agents in schools disguised as teachers. The company’s website features photos and videos of Goudreau firing machine guns in battle, running shirtless up a pyramid, flying on a private jet and sporting a military backpack with a rolled-up American flag.

Silvercorp’s website touts operations in more than 50 countries, with an advisory team made up of former diplomats, experienced military strategists and heads of multinational corporations — none of them named. It claims to have “led international security teams” for the president of the United States.

Goudreau, 43, declined to be interviewed. In a written statement, he said that “Silvercorp cannot disclose the identities of its network of sources, assets and advisors due to the nature of our work” and, more generally, “would never confirm nor deny any activities in any operational realm. No inference should be drawn from this response.”

`CONTROLLING CHAOS’

Goudreau’s focus on Venezuela started in February 2019, when he worked security at a concert in support of Guaidó organized by British billionaire Richard Branson on the Venezuelan-Colombian border.

“Controlling chaos on the Venezuela border where a dictator looks on with apprehension,” he wrote in a photo of himself on the concert stage posted to his Instagram account.

“He was always chasing the golden BB,” said Drew White, a former business partner at Silvercorp, using military slang for a one-in-a-million shot. White said he broke with his former special forces comrade last fall when Goudreau asked for help raising money to fund his regime change initiative.

“As supportive as you want to be as a friend, his head wasn’t in the world of reality,” said White. “Nothing he said lined up.”

According to White, Goudreau came back from the concert looking to capitalize on the Trump administration’s growing interest in toppling Maduro.

He had been introduced to Keith Schiller, President Donald Trump’s longtime bodyguard, through someone who worked in private security. Schiller attended a March 2019 event at the University Club in Washington for potential donors with activist Lester Toledo, then Guaidó’s coordinator for the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Last May, Goudreau accompanied Schiller to a meeting in Miami with representatives of Guaidó. There was a lively discussion with Schiller about the need to beef up security for Guaidó and his growing team of advisers inside Venezuela and across the world, according to a person familiar with the meeting. Schiller thought Goudreau was naive and in over his head. He cut off all contact following the meeting, said a person close to the former White House official.

In Bogota, it was Toledo who introduced Goudreau to a rebellious former Venezuelan military officer the American would come to trust above all others — Cliver Alcalá, ringleader of the Venezuelan military deserters.

Alcalá, a retired major general in Venezuela’s army, seemed an unlikely hero to restore democracy to his homeland. In 2011, he was sanctioned by the U.S. for allegedly supplying FARC guerrillas in Colombia with surface-to-air missiles in exchange for cocaine. And last month, Alcalá was indicted by U.S. prosecutors alongside Maduro as one of the architects of a narcoterrorist conspiracy that allegedly sent 250 metric tons of cocaine every year to the U.S.

Alcalá is now in federal custody in New York awaiting trial. But before his surrender in Colombia, where he had been living since 2018, he had emerged as a forceful opponent of Maduro, not shy about urging military force.

Over two days of meetings with Goudreau and Toledo at the JW Marriott, Alcalá explained how he had selected 300 combatants from among the throngs of low-ranking soldiers who abandoned Maduro and fled to Colombia in the early days of Guaidó’s uprising, said three people who participated in the meeting and insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations.

Alcalá said several dozen men were already living in three camps he maintained in and around the desert-like La Guajira peninsula that Colombia shares with Venezuela, the three said. Among the combatants in the camps was an exiled national guardsman accused of participating in a 2018 drone attack on Maduro.

Goudreau told Alcalá his company could prepare the men for battle, according to the three sources. The two sides discussed weapons and equipment for the volunteer army, with Goudreau estimating a budget of around $1.5 million for a rapid strike operation.

Goudreau told participants at the meeting that he had high-level contacts in the Trump administration who could assist the effort, although he offered few details, the three people said. Over time, many of the people involved in the plan to overthrow Maduro would come to doubt his word.

From the outset, the audacious plan split an opposition coalition already sharply divided by egos and strategy. There were concerns that Alcalá, with a murky past and ties to the regime through a brother who was Maduro’s ambassador to Iran, couldn’t be trusted. Others worried about going behind the backs of their Colombian allies and the U.S. government.

But Goudreau didn’t share the concerns about Alcalá, according to two people close to the former American solider. Over time, he would come to share Alcalá’s mistrust of the opposition, whose talk of restoring democracy was belied by what he saw as festering corruption and closed-door deal making with the regime, they said.

More importantly to Goudreau, Alcalá retained influence in the armed forces that Maduro’s opponents, mostly civilian elites, lacked. He also knew the terrain, having served as the top commander along the border.

“We needed someone who knew the monster from the inside,” recalled one exiled former officer who joined the plot.

Guaidó’s envoys, including Toledo, ended contact with Goudreau after the Bogota meeting because they believed it was a suicide mission, according to three people close to the opposition leader.

Undeterred, Goudreau returned to Colombia with four associates, all of them U.S. combat veterans, and begin working directly with Alcalá.

Alcalá and Goudreau revealed little about their military plans when they toured the camps. Some of the would-be combatants were told by the two men that the rag-tag army would cross the border in a heavily armed convoy and sweep into Caracas within 96 hours, according to multiple soldiers at the camps. Goudreau told the volunteers that — once challenged in battle — Maduro’s food-deprived, demoralized military would collapse like dominoes, several of the soldiers said.

NO CHANCE TO SUCCEED

Many saw the plan as foolhardy and there appears to have been no serious attempt to seek U.S. military support.

“There was no chance they were going to succeed without direct U.S. military intervention,” said Mattos, the former Navy SEAL who spent two weeks in September training the volunteers in basic tactical medicine on behalf of his non-profit, which works in combat zones.

Mattos visited the camps after hearing about them from a friend working in Colombia. He said he never met Goudreau.

Mattos said he was surprised by the barren conditions. There was no running water and men were sleeping on the floors, skipping meals and training with sawed-off broomsticks in place of assault rifles. Five Belgian shepherds trained to sniff out explosives were as poorly fed as their handlers and had to be given away.

Mattos said he grew wary as the men recalled how Goudreau had boasted to them of having protected Trump and told them he was readying a shipment of weapons and arranging aerial support for an eventual assault of Maduro’s compound.

The volunteers also shared with Mattos a three-page document listing supplies needed for a three-week operation, which he provided to AP. Items included 320 M4 assault rifles, an anti-tank rocket launcher, Zodiac boats, $1 million in cash and state-of-the-art night vision goggles. The document’s metadata indicates it was created by Goudreau on June 16.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of cowboys in this business who try to peddle their military credentials into a big pay day,” said Mattos.

AP found no indication U.S. officials sponsored Goudreau’s actions nor that Trump has authorized covert operations against Maduro, something that requires congressional notification.

But Colombian authorities were aware of his movements, as were prominent opposition politicians in Venezuela and exiles in Bogota, some of whom shared their findings with U.S. officials, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

True to his reputation as a self-absorbed loose cannon, Alcalá openly touted his plans for an incursion in a June meeting with Colombia’s National Intelligence Directorate and appealed for their support, said a former Colombian official familiar with the conversation. Alcalá also boasted about his relationship with Goudreau, describing him as a former CIA agent.

When the Colombians checked with their CIA counterparts in Bogota, they were told that the former Green Beret was never an agent. Alcalá was then told by his hosts to stop talking about an invasion or face expulsion, the former Colombian official said.

It’s unclear where Alcalá and Goudreau got their backing, and whatever money was collected for the initiative appears to have been meager. One person who allegedly promised support was Roen Kraft, an eccentric descendant of the cheese-making family who — along with former Trump bodyguard Schiller — was among those meeting with opposition envoys in Miami and Washington.

At some point, Kraft started raising money among his own circle of fellow trust-fund friends for what he described as a “private coup” to be carried out by Silvercorp, according to two businessmen whom he asked for money.

Kraft allegedly lured prospective donors with the promise of preferential access to negotiate deals in the energy and mining sectors with an eventual Guaidó government, said one of the businessmen. He provided AP a two-page, unsigned draft memorandum for a six-figure commitment he said was sent by Kraft in October in which he represents himself as the “prime contractor” of Venezuela.

But it was never clear if Kraft really had the inside track with the Venezuelans.

In a phone interview with AP, Kraft acknowledged meeting with Goudreau three times last year. But he said the two never did any business together and only discussed the delivery of humanitarian aid for Venezuela. He said Goudreau broke off all communications with him on Oct. 14, when it seemed he was intent on a military action.

“I never gave him any money,” said Kraft.

`WE KNEW EVERYTHING’

Back in Colombia, more recruits were arriving to the three camps — even if the promised money didn’t. Goudreau tried to bring a semblance of order. Uniforms were provided, daily exercise routines intensified and Silvercorp instructed the would-be warriors in close quarter combat.

Goudreau is “more of a Venezuelan patriot than many Venezuelans,” said Hernán Alemán, a lawmaker from western Zulia state and one of a few politicians to openly embrace the clandestine mission.

Alemán said in an interview that neither the U.S. nor the Colombian governments were involved in the plot to overthrow Maduro. He claims he tried to speak several times to Guaidó about the plan but said the opposition leader showed little interest.

“Lots of people knew about it, but they didn’t support us,” he said. “They were too afraid.”

The plot quickly crumbled in early March when one of the volunteer combatants was arrested after sneaking across the border into Venezuela from Colombia.

Shortly after, Colombian police stopped a truck transporting a cache of brand new weapons and tactical equipment worth around $150,000, including spotting scopes, night vision goggles, two-way radios and 26 American-made assault rifles with the serial numbers rubbed off. Fifteen brown-colored helmets were manufactured by High-End Defense Solutions, a Miami-based military equipment vendor owned by a Venezuelan immigrant family.

High-End Defense Solutions is the same company that Goudreau visited in November and December, allegedly to source weapons, according to two former Venezuelan soldiers who claim to have helped the American select the gear but later had a bitter falling out with Goudreau amid accusations that they were moles for Maduro.

Company owner Mark Von Reitzenstein did not respond to repeated email and phone requests seeking comment.

Alcalá claimed ownership of the weapons shortly before surrendering to face the U.S. drug charges, saying they belonged to the “Venezuelan people.” He also lashed out against Guaidó, accusing him of betraying a contract signed between his “American advisers” and J.J. Rendon, a political strategist in Miami appointed by Guaidó to help force Maduro from power.

“We had everything ready,” lamented Alcalá in a video published on social media. “But circumstances that have plagued us throughout this fight against the regime generated leaks from the very heart of the opposition, the part that wants to coexist with Maduro.”

Through a spokesman, Guaidó stood by comments made to Colombian media that he never signed any contract of the kind described by Alcalá, whom he said he doesn’t know. Rendon said his work for Guaidó is confidential and he would be required to deny any contract, whether or not it exists.

Meanwhile, Alcalá has offered no evidence and the alleged contract has yet to emerge, though AP repeatedly asked Goudreau for a copy.

In the aftermath of Alcalá’s arrest, the would-be insurrection appears to have disbanded. As the coronavirus spreads, several of the remaining combatants have fled the camps and fanned out across Colombia, reconnecting with loved ones and figuring out their next steps. Most are broke, facing investigation by Colombian police and frustrated with Goudreau, whom they blame for leading them astray.

Meanwhile, the socialist leadership in Caracas couldn’t help but gloat.

Diosdado Cabello, the No. 2 most powerful person in the country and eminence grise of Venezuela’s vast intelligence network, insisted that the government had infiltrated the plot for months.

“We knew everything,” said Cabello. “Some of their meetings we had to pay for. That’s how infiltrated they were.”

___

Investigative researcher Randy Herschaft in New York and investigative reporter James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report.

___

Contact AP’s global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org.

___

Joshua Goodman on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/APjoshgoodman

Sitrep – Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua

February 19, 2020

Chris Faure for The Saker Blog

While the Mena is exploding in tensions, the Empire is hungry and is not leaving these countries in Latin America any breathing room. Although it can be argued that the circumstances are different in each, there are certain commonalities that can be pointed out.

Venezuela

The Trump administration warned early in February of “impactful” measures on the government of Venezuela

First was a blanket set of sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned airline CONVIASA. Why, you may ask? Well according to the administration, this airline is used to “shuttle corrupt officials.” We see the ‘rules based international order’ at work, as there is no evidence of corruption, but these days it seems as if one fights US sanctions, you must be corrupt. The rule of evidence for corruption now is resisting imperial sanctions. CONVIASA operates flight services to domestic destinations and throughout South America and the Caribbean.

The other notable event was that Guiadó went home to Venezuela on TAP, a Portugese airline, only to be ‘warmly welcomed’ by screaming Venezuelans beating him up. The Venezuelan Government suspended for 90 days the Portuguese airline, over what is formally declared as “some irregularities detected in Juan Guaido´s returning flight. The self-proclaimed ‘president’ returned to Venezuela after a tour of Europe and the United States on a TAP flight under a different identification, as Antonio Márquez, and his uncle was on the same flight, smuggling explosives.  Name change or no name change, he was still beaten up by Venezuelans.

Some good news is that the US Government’s case against the Venezuelan embassy protectors ended up in a hung jury, and the four protectors were not jailed. This was another failure in the open coup attempt on Venezuela.

The latest is that the US is placing more sanctions on Russia’s Rosneft Trading in relation to their quest for what they call “the opportunity for a transition of power” which the rest of us understand as color revolution and extraction of assets from a country working hard at their own sovereignty.

“Russia categorically repudiates unilateral restrictions, through which the US, which seeks global hegemony, is trying to make the whole world bend to its will. This has never influenced and will not influence Russia’s international policy, including its cooperation with the legitimate authorities of Venezuela, Syria, Iran and any other country,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Nicaragua

In Nica, as the locals call it, the startup to regime change has commenced. The Grayzone reports that the US embassy and European Union are meeting with right-wing Nicaraguan opposition leaders and pressuring them to unite against elected leftist President Daniel Ortega in the lead-up to the 2021 election. https://thegrayzone.com/2020/02/07/nicaragua-opposition-support-us-eu-coalition/

Sanctions are rolling in and this one is similar to what we saw in Brazil, and now in Bolivia, where the rightist evangelicals (usually Christian Zionist) are being used as the pressure point aiming to unseat the Sandinistas.

Nicaragua, according to the Empire under the guise of the Donald Trump administration has declared the small nation of Nicaragua to be a supposed “national security threat,” and has imposed several rounds of aggressive sanctions on the country, with the aim of destabilizing its economy.

Bolivia

After the contested election and a coup d’état that saw Evo Morales being expelled as President as well as having to flee from his beloved country, snap general elections will be held in Bolivia on May 3rd, 2020.

The situation on the ground is still that of a coup d’état. The indigenous Bolivian population which Evo Morales brought into the light and gave opportunity to flourish economically, is under stress, pressure and still being murdered as we speak.

Few people know that as in Venezuela, we are dealing with another Western backed self-elected interim president in Bolivia – Jeanine Añez. On declaring herself interim president, she also undertook not to run for the position in forthcoming elections. That undertaking did not last long though and she is a candidate now.

As in Nicaragua, we are also dealing with rightist evangelicals being used for political power. “Evangelical preacher Chi Hyun Chung exposed this corruption after he placed third in the last election but didn’t make it onto the ballot. Chung reported that these groups were asking for payments of between one million and 1.5 million U.S. Dollars for the right to use their names. He called on electoral authorities to intervene to end the practice.”

But was this a Western backed coup and how do we know that it was? The easiest to see, is who the golpistas immediately made friends with.

Ollie Vargas states : “The Anez administration’s ties to the U.S. are openly admitted. Evident in the dramatic speed with which Morales’ progressive foreign policy was torn up. Full relations were re-established with the U.S. and Israel and USAID was brought in to ‘cooperate’ in the elections and other government functions. However, less known are Anez’s hiring choices. One of the first advisors to be brought in to her inner circle was Erick Foronda, who was chief advisor to the U.S. embassy in Bolivia for 25 years prior to taking on the role with Añez.

The cooperation continues as the electoral campaign gets underway. Following the footsteps of many Bolivian rightists, Añez is now contracting the services of CLS Strategies, a U.S. political consulting firm, to provide “strategic communications counsel” during the coming elections. CLS Strategies is the same firm used by the government in Honduras after that country’s coup against Manuel Zelaya.”

The golpistas are doing their best to ban any candidate from MAS. The MAS radio channels are being banned and the people are being scattered violently wherever they gather. Evo Morales is still a candidate and has declared his candidacy from Argentina, where he has safe harbor. But he is not running for President. The presidential front runner for MAS (Evo’s party, the biggest voting block in Bolivia and generally known as The Movement toward Socialism) is Luis Arce. He has just had a conference with Evo Morales in Argentina, to plan the election. It is generally accepted that even since Morales left, MAS still has the majority and will win a fair election. This is clearly not the era of fair elections and the lastest news in, is that MAS is declaring an emergency as both Evo Morales as well as Luis Arce will be banned from running, under some invented pretext by the electoral commission.  The real issue is, despite the coup or golpe in Bolivia, despite the exit of Evo Morales, MAS is still winning.

The golpistas have serious western support, and MAS is not standing down from their Movement toward Socialism. The police forces are brutal toward the indigenous, one has no idea what the defense forces are really doing and the expectation is that we will have another coup type event arise as tempers are hot.

In the cities, it feels as if the right is winning, yet in the indigenous rural areas, MAS has a clear lead. This is where it stands now and one has to keep in mind that the rural areas are not being polled thoroughly.  The rural areas are all MAS supporters as it is these people that received an economic opportunity under Evo Morales:

C:\Users\NIETZS~1\AppData\Local\Temp\lu5700hdiuj.tmp\lu5700hdix9_tmp_7613a400b6ddbfce.jpg

Summary : Now that we have seen the similarities between a coup starting in Nicaragua, the longer lasting meddling in Venezuela, and the similarities in the playbook for Bolivia, we can only go back to Harold Pinter’s Nobel Acceptance Speech for Literature, 2005.

“It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It’s a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, ‘the American people’, as in the sentence, ‘I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.’ It’s a scintillating stratagem.”

“Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. “

https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/2005/pinter/25621-harold-pinter-nobel-lecture-2005/


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US Congress Approves Legislation to Wage a Hybrid “Humanitarian War” on Venezuela?

The 50-page-long section of the bill that codifies legislation about Venezuela is titled ‘‘Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance, and Development Act of 2019’’ or ‘‘VERDAD Act of 2019’’

By Nino Pagliccia

Global Research, December 27, 2019

Last December 16 both houses in the US approved the appropriation bill to be signed by president Trump. Aside from the mind-boggling amount of $1.4 trillion that was approved in total our interest was in looking at the details concerning Venezuela.

press release issued by the organization Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) is quite misleading in its over optimism suggesting that the appropriations bill “rejects the use of force in Venezuela and endorses a negotiated solution to the country’s crisis”. Another interpretation may be more realistic.

The full bill of 1773 pages includes a section about Venezuela. The first reference to the country is to state that “not less than $30 million shall be made available for democracy programs for Venezuela” and that the funds “shall be made available for assistance for communities in countries supporting or otherwise impacted by refugees from Venezuela, including Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago”. It is not possible to know if this is above the previously reported $52 million announced by Mark Green, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) last September. To make it more confusing the same report states that this “is in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars already committed by the US to support the more than 4 million vulnerable Venezuelans who have fled the country’s crisis.”

The 50-page-long section of the bill that codifies legislation about Venezuela is titled ‘‘Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance, and Development Act of 2019’’ or ‘‘VERDAD Act of 2019’’.

The legislation co-sponsored by senators Robert Menendez and Marco Rubio, was introduced last April in the Senate, and later referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. That same April self-appointed interim president Juan Guaidó staged (another) coup at La Carlota air base in eastern Caracas and called for the military to rise up against Maduro in the hope that the military would defect in mass and join him. The timing of the legislation and the attempted coup may have been carefully planned to coincide, but the coup never happened.Trump Has Venezuela in His Sights

Aside from the $30 million for democracy programs, the VERDAD Act authorises a whopping $400 million for fiscal year 2020 to carry out “humanitarian relief” activities such as humanitarian assistance to individuals and communities in Venezuela and humanitarian aid to Venezuelans and hosting communities in neighboring countries. The US Secretary of State is mandated to provide within 180 days an update to the Venezuela humanitarian assistance strategy in coordination with USAID. Aside from this proviso, the allocation of the expenditures is very vague and leaves the door open to any interpretation or act of faith. For instance, it is not obvious that humanitarian assistance from the US can be provided within Venezuela. What then?

The legislation with the misnomer VERDAD, which means TRUTH in Spanish, is a repetition of untruths to justify the need to provide humanitarian relief. It has the standard US government recognition for the president of the National Assembly Juan Guaidó who was “sworn in” (read, self-appointed) as interim president on January 23, 2019 following the “fraudulent” (read, not suitable to the US) election of May 20, 2018. It further states the US full support for the International Contact Group on Venezuela (European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Uruguay), the OAS and the Lima Group (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Saint Lucia). Relevant comparison here is the almost 120 countries that have recognised the Maduro government.

Moreover, the VERDAD Act calls for “new presidential election in Venezuela that complies with international standards” (read, accepted by the US), with international observers like the OAS (read, the organization that contributed to the military coup in Bolivia), and boosting “independent media outlets” (read, corporate media). To carry out this activity the bill grants an extra $17.5 million to the office of the Secretary of State.

In a nutshell we can safely say that the US government will make large amounts of US tax payers money available for regime change in Venezuela under the guise of “humanitarian relief” for a crisis that the US government created to start with.

The VERDAD Act of 2019 has nothing new that we had not heard or reported before with the exception, perhaps, of the statement referred to by WOLA, “Nothing in this title [Title I – Venezuela Assistance] may be construed as an authorization for the use of military force.” But that does not give any reassurance to Venezuelans because in a Hybrid Warfare scenario it is very easy to create a situation where new conditions – likely fabricated under the pretence of national security – may be used on a whim to trigger a military intervention.

Indeed, a Hybrid Warfare uses some means that are readily recognisable such as infowar, discredit of leadership, recognition of an opposition, implementation of sanctions, financial and economic blockade, among others. These have all been utilised in the case of Venezuela, and the VERDAD Act spells them out with a dollar amount. But there are many other means of a Hybrid Warfare to achieve regime change that are not announced or perceptible, at least not until we see the resulting impact. For instance, the triggering of protests and riots, the arming of the opposition, acts of sabotage, promises of bribery for treason, and others.

If the US premises that Nicolas Maduro is a dictator and that there is no democratic process in Venezuela are false in order to justify its ideological goal, how can we trust Washington’s accountability process in the management of those funds appropriated for “humanitarian relief”? Wouldn’t it be more cost effective to end the sanctions? What if those funds are used to co-opt other governments in the region, the Lima Group countries, the OAS, or to create a paid mercenary group such as that proposed by private security firm Blackwater to topple Maduro?

The ultimate question is, is the US government using its legislative power to legitimize a Hybrid Warfare against Venezuela with the VERDAD Act of 2019?

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Nino Pagliccia is an activist and freelance writer based in Vancouver. He is a retired researcher from the University of British Columbia, Canada. He is a Venezuelan-Canadian who follows and writes about international relations with a focus on the Americas. He is the editor of the book “Cuba Solidarity in Canada – Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations” (2014). He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image: Activists gather in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC in March, 2019.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Nino Pagliccia, Global Research, 2019

Venezuela – Take 2

September 28, 2019

Venezuela – Take 2

by Jimmie Moglia for The Saker Blog

It is tacitly assumed that that the American information industry produces notices and descriptions of actual events. Whereas it routinely delivers a narrative of adulterated facts and improbable fiction – the whole blended with a top-down imposition of Zionist ideology masquerading as national interest. I say ‘Zionist’ because a country in which the word of command comes from elsewhere is nothing more than a province. Which may explain many events unequivocally alien to American interest.

All this the world well knows – at least the unknown percentage of those who like to think. However, especially with Venezuela, there has been, among media outlets and pundits, a remarkable recrudescence of the presumption of imbecility in the American public.

But it is unjust and unrealistic to blame large social groups for their assumed gullibility. No one can indict a people. Individuals are caught up in the workings of a mechanism that forces them into its own pattern. Only heroes can resist, and while it may be hoped that everybody will be one, it cannot be demanded or expected.

Nor the trend is limited to America. Western European media figures and sundry politicians, having been taught the art of the ridicule – often in ‘prestigious’ States-side universities – seldom fail to signalize themselves by zealous imitation.

Were we not dealing with the suffering of a people and the economic strangling of a nation to steal her resources, the sallies and patent ridicule of the puppets and puppet-masters involved would be a recurrent fund of merriment.

Nevertheless, it commonly happens to him who endeavors to obtain distinction by ridicule or censure, that he teaches others to practice his own arts against himself.

Trump and his cabal or cartel have tried inventive ways to revile the Venezuelan government. So far they have only succeeded in ridiculing themselves. And their narrative has reached peaks of paradox and parody, in the comical effort to give their news a semblance of credibility.

I will mention but a few instances later, so as not to leave a statement unproven, though most readers may already know some.

Still, for the contemporary Pangloss there may be a measure of consolation in the Trumpian Cabal’s orgy of ridicule. For the domineering powers are literally terrorized by the alternative narratives, official and unofficial, reaching the discerning public through social media, directly from Venezuela.

Therefore they wage a grotesque battle, a Waterloo of fake-news, attempting to choke the liberty of expression – which, in the instance, amounts to curbing the liberty of intelligence.

Given that the flux of alternative news is still relatively marginal, this censorious obsession shows that, even in the secret enclaves of power, some believe that we are nearing a turning point in collective perception, a consummation devoutly to be wished by us, and unwished by them.

It is historically interesting that in the 1960s the Jewish political-ideological machine was clamoring for freedom of expression, and succeeded in having the US Supreme Court declare that pornography is free-speech.

In turn, this opened the flood to a Weimar-Republic-style mass acculturation whose consequences do not need description – see Weinstein as emblem of Jewish Hollywood, and Epstein as emblem of Jewish pornography and pornomania.

But sixty years later, and in total control of all media channels – the same forces find free-speech hateful, and want their adversaries insulted without self-defense and censored without apologists. Witness the erasure of hundreds of alternative information channels from the web.

Meanwhile, that just about all Western European countries have joined in pretending to believe Trump’s charade, is no support for his credibility.

For “Western European countries” means their politicians. And all know well that avarice is an insatiate and universal passion – since the enjoyment of almost every object that can afford a pleasure to the different tastes and tempers of mankind, may be procured by the possession of wealth. Consequently, politicians at large rarely cease to follow the easiest path to keep, maintain and increase their wealth and emoluments. And shameless servility to the moment’s master is the commonest formula.

For one thing, the Trump cartel assumed that any populace worldwide, with its immemorial and traditional levity, would applaud any change of masters, if accompanied by suitable fanfare and the promise or prospects of bread and circuses.

Hence they believed that the Venezuelans would promptly switch their allegiance to the service of a US appointed puppet. While the fanfare could adequately dissemble the plotters’ appetite for plunder.

In one of his often-quoted related pronouncements, Trump said that,

“The problem with Venezuela is not that socialism was poorly implemented, but that socialism was faithfully implemented.”

Far from me to oppose an “ism” with another. The various ‘isms’, as used, are not fruitful principles, nor even explanatory formulae. They are rather names of diseases, for they express some element in excess, some dangerous and abusing exaggeration.

Consider ‘globalism’, ‘neo-liberalism,’ ‘fascism’, ‘communism’, ‘socialism,’ ‘radicalism’, etc. If there may be something positive in them (and there is some good sometimes in sundry “isms”) it slips through these categories.

To compare, traditional medicine classified men according to whether they were ‘sanguineous’, ‘bilious’ or ‘nervous’. But someone in good health is none of the above. Equally, a state contains (or should contain) opposing points of view, holding them as in a chemical combination, much as all colors are contained in a beam of light.

But for Trump and the deep state behind him – though it has been the same since Reagan – neo-liberal capitalism is a dogma, which to dispute is heresy, and to doubt infamy.

The recurrent self-praising claim by media pundits and politicians about America being a democracy is either misleading and cretinous information or bold and imaginative fiction. Whereas actually, in some ways, the United States is a socialist state.

For example, government statistics, easily verifiable online, show that in 2018 there were 40 million people on food stamps (read ‘very poor’). And social programs with different names but similar scope exist in every state, to provide healthcare for those on food stamps and others. Furthermore, the very ‘social security’ system has socialism imprinted in its name.

Applying the same broad analysis to the economy at large, let’s say that in one case a state-owned enterprise produces something needed. In another case a private company lobbies the state to receive the same money that the state company would have spent to manufacture the same product.

Given that both instances involve human beings, is one state ‘socialist’ because it produces directly what it needs, and another ‘capitalist’ because it lets a non-state-owned company produce the same thing?

This is not advocating one method versus another – but only to suggest that a state-owned enterprise does not imply that the state itself is ‘socialist’. In fact in many countries, including the US, the state owns many enterprises, partially or completely.

The argument is purely theoretical, and it excludes many related insoluble dilemmas and controversial questions. For example whether a state or a privately owned enterprise is more subject to corruption, etc.

Nevertheless, I do not think that Venezuela’s ‘socialism’ is the cause of Trump’s uncouth bullying, contempt and coarse insults. For, as much as it is concealed, Venezuela is actually a mixed economy.

Now, cause and effect in history can be more-or-less arbitrary patterns into which we can weave events to render them significant. Nevertheless, in the instance, greed for Venezuela’s resources cannot be, in my view, the sole explanation.

Behind Trump’s contempt and insults there is a psychological engine and the whole weight of the historical-cultural machine that actually keeps America running.

Especially the Americans (and the fever began with the industrial revolution), know very little of a state of feeling that involves a sense of rest, of deep quiet, silence within and without, a quietly burning fire, a sense of comfort, existence in its simplest form. And I apologize for the generalization that always excludes the many exceptions.

For them life is devouring and incessant activity. They are eager for gold, for power, for dominion; the aim is to crush men and to enslave nature. They show an obstinate interest in means, but little thought for the end. They confound being with individual being, and the expansion of the self with happiness — while tending to ignore the unchangeable and the eternal.

It could be described as living at the periphery of our own essence for being unable to penetrate to its core. They are excited, ardent, positive, because they are also superficial. ‘Superficial’ may suggest less intelligent but the opposite is true. Superficiality and intelligence are anything but incompatible.
Why so much effort, noise, struggle and greed? It seems a mere stunning and deafening of the self.

When death comes they recognize that it is so. — why not then admit it sooner?

Activity is beautiful when, in some ways, it also partakes of the divine in the Greek sense — that is to say, when it is spent in the service of that which does not fade and transcends the mere domain of matter.

Some readers may argue that what is true for America also applies elsewhere, in Europe for example. As I repeat, short of dogmatic assertions, the idea here is but an attempt to find a cause for a culture.

For, unlike America, Europe had, in the XIX century, the romantic movement, which thoroughly influenced millions across the continent. Its literature affected the mode of thought of multiple generations in different countries. Romanticism swept through Europe at the very time when education became universal. And I include the Russian classics as powerful agents for suggesting or imprinting images and perceptions of a view of life that could not possibly be more un-American.

Before virtually crossing to the Venezuelan shores and interpreting their view of things I should add another qualifying proposition.

An analyst or interpreter of current events (just as any historian of the past), depends on his own judgment as to what is important in human life. Even when he rigorously confines himself to one selected political or cultural phase of a country, he still has decided on what constitutes the best outcome of that phase, and on what constitutes an outcome of degradation.

The whole judgment on ideas and actions (in the instance on what happens in Venezuela), depends upon such implicit presuppositions. You cannot rate wisdom or folly, progress or decadence, except in relation to some standard of judgment and to some end in view. For, in considering the flow and the history of ideas, the notion of mere knowledge is an abstraction. Accessories of emotion and purpose always accompany knowledge.

In the instance and for what is worth, an image still comes to my mind, when I compare Venezuela with other South-American countries. In 2014 Brazil held the world’s soccer championship. Multiple TV stations from different countries could not mask on their screens that, not many yards away from a stadium, began the favelas, living emblems of almost unimaginable degradation.

Considering that stadiums and infrastructures built for such colossal events routinely decay into ruins after little time of use, a question arises as to their intrinsic and extrinsic worth.

In contrast, and even according to UN official statistics, the so-called Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela succeeded in dramatically reducing the number of people in dire poverty, while almost eliminating illiteracy. That programs of such scope are costly requires no demonstration. Whether it is preferable to invest in mass sports or in the relief of masses from illiteracy and degrading poverty, is a question that only single individuals can answer.

But it took the spirit and guts of Hugo Chavez to affect such a veritable revolution, possibly at a time when the US was not paying much attention, engaged as it was in bombing Yugoslavia and in establishing whether Clinton had or never had sex with that woman.

He who applauds the resurrection of a people, otherwise condemned as the irrelevant accessory of idle elites – who use the poor as a gauge to affirm their own ‘betterness’ – cannot feel but some sympathy towards the Bolivarian revolution. And he would feel so even without awareness of the enormous challenges and mixture of successes and defeats that accompany all epoch-making upheavals.

As for the Trump’s Cabal it would be interesting, anthropologically speaking, to understand the grotesque sociology of this flock. Their manners, as exhibited towards Venezuela, have shown a remarkable display of depravity – uniting the crimes that typically prevail among those immune from self-analysis, with the vices that spring from the abuse of power and immunity from prosecution.

Among the clowns of the Cabal, Marco Rubio deserves a special (dis)honorable mention, as the representative of a world upside-down. Including his showing a picture of Gheddafi assassinated and covered in blood, while threatening Maduro with the same outcome, should he not accede to American demands. As if the despotic power – which could take Gheddafi’s life without a trial and stigmatized his memory without proof – had any claim on using patent murder as an example of righteousness to be replicated.

Actually, I strongly doubt whether Rubio would even understand the implication of his words and gesture. Either he is a moron with the entertainment value of a tap-dancing oyster, or his head is as empty as a eunuch’s underpants.

Rubio is a senator (!) and, if I am not mistaken, was even spoken of as a candidate for president (!). Which prompts me to agree with Pythagoras that souls of animals infuse themselves into the trunks of men.

The happily departed Bolton is an equal competitor for the Olympic medal of ridicule. In the latest failed coup attempt, he proclaimed that Maduro was about to leave Venezuela for Cuba when ‘the Russians’ prevented him from boarding the plane.

As Jose’ Rodriguez – Venezuela’s Minister of Information – explained and documented on television, that ambulating Pinocchio called Guaido’ had assured Bolton that he had already corrupted and paid-off a sufficient number of generals so as to make the coup a done-deal. That wasn’t true but Bolton believed it.

All the while, the succeeding events of the failed coup make up the script of a proper farce.

Including Mike Pence’s outstanding arrogance when, in the UN assembly, had the gall to tell the Foreign Minister of Venezuela that he should not be there. As if the US had a divine right to make and unmake world governments at will. With his performance Mike Pence demonstrated to be worth less than six pence.

Of Pompeo it could perhaps be said what the historian Napier said of the British ambassador to Germany during the 1930s, “He is obtuse enough to be a menace, and yet not stupid enough to be innocuous.”

All in all, the Trump’s Cabal includes ambitious individuals, seemingly untaught or unable to observe, reason, deduce and infer, unless observation be blindness and madness logic.

Trump keeps labeling Nicolas Maduro as ‘corrupt’ and a ‘dictator’. Both words belong to the no-man’s-land of lexical ambiguity.

As for dictatorship, there have been six presidential elections, in Venezuela, since 2002. And, as readers who have followed the events know, in the last 2018 elections, the Trump Cabal ordered the opposition not to present candidates, after they had formally agreed to do so.

I will not offend the readers by proving what they already know – that charges of dictatorship may be levied against Trump and sundry predecessors on much stronger grounds.

The issue of corruption is trickier. I doubt if anyone who worked in, or had to do with, large corporations or government, never met with evidence of corruption. Without even touching on lobbying, a peculiar institution for bribing, bulldozing, and corrupting the legislators who are supposed to represent the people’s interests. Or on ‘financial engineering’, an inventive euphemism to suggest monetary genius instead of monetary fraud.

For what is worth, unable as I am to find a reliable method for measuring and assessing corruption, I pretend to do what Balzac did when he wrote his novels, though I write none.

He kept on his desk the Dictionary of Physiognomy – a monumental work in four massive volumes, written by the Swiss Abbot Johann Lavater, in the 18th century. In his novels, Balzac used Lavater’s physiognomy extensively. So that his characters, being accurately described as they are, cannot but logically behave as they do.

Physiognomy had its era of success and popularity before being dismissed as a pseudoscience. Though I suspect that many use it unconsciously when forming their first impression of an individual.

With all necessary reservations, amateurishly and therefore inaccurately, I suggest that Trump’s physiognomy reads, “Everything has a price and money buys everything. Conscience is but a word that cowards use to keep the strong in awe. Power (via money acquired from any source) is my conscience, my tool of operation and my law.”

For brevity’s sake I will not describe individual facial components of the specific physiognomy – as Lavater does in his work.

As a corollary derived from Trump’s physiognomy, “twitting” is the ideal communication tool and perfect match for his character. In his hands a ‘tweet’ means “I say so because it is and that’s it.”

By the way I am not passing judgment – however difficult it may be, the application of physiognomy should not be affected by emotional or philosophical preferences.

In fact, assuming his physiognomic profile correct, Trump is ethically consistent. Whereas, in my view, the other members of his Cabal are not. Routinely, they cannot even pretend to the smooth face of hypocrisy. They are sincere only when they are arrogant.

Again I do not pretend to be right. Two men observing the same person, or even object, will describe it diversely, according to the point of view from which either beholds it. Still, truth being the legitimate object of observation and history, it is better that she should be sought-for by many than few, lest for want of seekers, among the mists of prejudice and the false lights of interest, she’d be lost altogether.

Comparing Trump with Maduro, the difference could not be greater. Maduro’s physiognomy suggests that he takes his job as a mission. And that he has a frightful understanding of what Venezuela would revert to, if the Anglo-Zionists and their ‘lameculos’ took over. His oratory is incomparable with Trump’s. It is helped by the inherent majesty of the Spanish language, but is also evidence of a long and careful self-training and study. A remarkable achievement in itself, considering that Maduro’s political path began as a union leader among bus drivers.

For their own self-respect, we may think that the Venezuelan opposition should contain characters with greater respectability than what the world has seen so far.

The ‘interim’ president Guaido’ was recently shown holding an empty milk jug in the air while claiming that he had not enough money to buy milk for his daughter. Almost simultaneously, Venezuelan intelligence had caught Guaido’s assistant Marrero texting with other coup organizers. They were arguing about how and to assign and distribute among themselves the hundreds of millions that Uncle Sam had confiscated from the accounts of the Venezuelan bank in the US. A bank that is (was) necessary to handle the sales of Venezuelan oil to the US.

Among other exploits, Guaido’ had already ridiculed himself for believing the two Russian pranksters (’bromistas’ in Venezuelan Spanish), who faked a call from the President of Switzerland. In which the ‘president’ asked Guaido’ if the accounts of the Venezuelan government in Switzerland should be reassigned to Guaido’s name, and he agreed. And, when prompted by the bromistas, he also agreed to support the Russian pro-US candidate Navalny in a future attempt to unseat Putin.

In a theater, bad actors feel embarrassed towards the audience for their poor performance. With Venezuela it’s the audience that feels embarrassed for the actors.

Following the developments of the ongoing attempted Venezuelan coup, also yields some unusual and curious perspectives, along with the possibility of discovering other interesting Guaido’-style characters.

Readers may remember Victoria Nuland, Obama’s and Hillary’s factotum in Ukraine – passed into history for her “F-the-Europeans” pronouncement, while discussing which puppets to appoint in the US-financed, post-coup Ukrainian government.

Maybe some readers do not yet know that Victoria Nuland has a Venezuelan equivalent in the shape of a Vanessa Neumann, familiarly referred-to in the European press as “The Cracker from Caracas.”

As Wikipedia explains, Neumann is the “Venezuelan” (meaning Guaido’s) ambassador to “the court of St. James” (meaning England). Though Wikipedia modestly adds that, “The administration of Nicolás Maduro does not recognize Guaido’s diplomats.”

Besides also being Jewish, Neumann has the usual impeccable curriculum of the Vanity-Fair intellectualoids, who can read and therefore believe they can think, ever swimming with the tide of pomp that beats upon the high shores of the world. And of whom French author George Bernanos said that, “The intellectual is so often an imbecile that we should consider him as such, until he (or she) has demonstrated the contrary.”

Like others of that ilk, Neumann is the apotheosis of fake, but I mention her here for her involvement in a not-so-well-known ramification of the so-far unsuccessful coup in Venezuela.

Between Venezuela and Guyana there is a disputed territory, apparently an Eldorado of natural resources, called the Essequibo. The roots of the dispute lay in the 1600 when the Northern Provinces of Holland declared independence from Spain. The sequence of events being intricate, a summary is mandatory.

When Venezuela declared independence from Spain in 1810, thanks to Simon Bolivar, she also claimed the Essequibo as successor to the Spanish empire. For the Spaniards had originally discovered the region, established their sovereignty, settled and exercised political control.

In the meantime England also laid claims, and since England had helped Venezuela in her struggle for independence, Venezuela did not, at the time, interfere with the British claim.

Jumping many intermediate steps and disputes, in 1966 there was an agreement between Venezuela and the now independent Guyana, to delay a final decision on the settlement of the Essequibo. Even so, Venezuela maintains her claim to the rightful ownership of the territory.

Vanessa Neumann comes into the picture thanks to a telling conversation on the Essequibo between her and an assistant to Guaido’ called Manuel Avendano (link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjaSN_Hiq1I).

It appears that Neumann, or Guaido’, or both had already agreed – even prior to the attempted coup – to give ownership of the Essequibo to various American companies for exploitation.

Neumann tells Avendano that during her participation to an impending meeting of the so-called “Group of Lima” (read, the South-American countries supporting a coup in Venezuela) she will not answer any questions on the subject of the Essequibo, raised by the Guyana representative. Apparently the representative had already asked her about the related post-coup government’s intention. Or rather, officially, as she explains, “we will continue to uphold the line that we intend to appropriate ourselves of the Essequibo” – whereas they have already given it away to the American multinationals.

The current legitimate Venezuelan government has declared that the Neumann-Guaido’s arbitrary pronouncement on the Essequibo is evidence of treason by the ‘coupistas.’

Why Maduro allows Guaido’ to roam free in Venezuela, while he continues to plot for her subjugation by the US, is a puzzle for me and (I think) for those unfamiliar with the subtle tools of diplomacy. Though it is reasonable to guess that the more Guaido’ speaks and moves, the more he makes an ass of himself, hence discomposing his own cause – but it is only a supposition.

Given that Russia and China openly support and assist Venezuela, we may still hold some hope that evil may not prevail. While waiting for the verdict of time, that infallible controverter of false opinions.

Couldn’t Care Less! Venezuela’s Representative at the UNGA Reads a Book during Trump’s Speech

Couldn’t Care Less! Venezuela’s Representative at the UNGA Reads a Book during Trump’s Speech

By Staff

As US President Donald Trump was delivering his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, somebody was busy enough to read a book instead of listening.

In a photo published by @FarsNewsInt, the lady representing Venezuela appeared attentive enough to the book in her hands, with a caption that describes the action happening while Trump was giving his speech there.

Trump has been notoriously known for intervening in Venezuela’s affairs, especially after the failed coup attempt against legitimate president Nicolas Maduro by US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido.

During his third address to the United Nations, Trump was threatening to tighten US sanctions against Iran, accusing the Islamic Republic of “menacing behavior” in the Middle East.

“As long as Iran’s menacing behavior continues, sanctions will not be lifted. They will be tightened,” Trump claimed on Tuesday at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Trump repeated his baseless accusations against Iran’s civilian nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as well as Tehran’s support for the people in the war-ravaged countries of Syria and Yemen.

The US president also continued to criticize the 2015 nuclear agreement that he withdrew from last year.

Trump’s speech follows escalating tensions in the Middle East following attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

Trump: Bolton Was «Way Out Of Line» On Venezuela

Trump: Bolton Was «Way Out Of Line» On Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

Speaking for the first time about reasons for firing his national security advisor John Bolton, US President Donald Trump said he was “way out of line” on Venezuela, even as the State Department doubled down on regime change.

“I disagreed with John Bolton on his attitudes about Venezuela. I thought he was way out of line,” Trump told reporters at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

The failed attempt to effect regime change in Caracas – which Bolton has been at the forefront of since January – was only one of the issues the president brought up. Bolton’s sabotage of denuclearization talks with North Korea, earlier this year, was another.

“We were set back very badly when [Bolton] talked about the Libyan model” with North Korea, Trump added. “That’s not a question of being tough, that’s a question of being not smart to say something like that.”

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had agreed to give up his nuclear and chemical weapons programs to the US, only to be violently overthrown and murdered by US-backed groups in 2011.

Bolton also “wasn’t getting along with the people in the administration that I consider very important,” Trump added, making sure to point out that he had opposed the 2003 Iraq War while Bolton was an unapologetic advocate of it.

None of that explains why Trump hired Bolton and kept him on as his principal foreign policy adviser for nearly 18 months, however. Nor does it explain why Trump agreed to appoint Bolton’s colleague Elliott Abrams as Washington’s point man on Venezuela, despite a history of his Trump-bashing public comments.

The Trump administration on Wednesday showed no signs of abandoning the approach to Caracas championed by Bolton and Abrams since January, despite it having failed miserably. Shortly after Trump’s comments, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US has invoked the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR), which would give legal framework for military intervention in Venezuela.

Pompeo’s pretext is that this was requested by Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed “interim president” of Venezuela recognized by the US and a handful of its allies, but no one else in the world. Guaido’s repeated attempts to take over power in Caracas since January have failed miserably.

Trump maintained that his policy on Venezuela is “humanitarian” and designed to “help” people there, and blamed “socialism” for the country’s economic woes. He has framed his 2020 re-election bid as stopping the “socialist” Democrats from taking over the US.

“I don’t want to talk about that,” Trump said when asked if he would be willing to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. This was in stark contrast to his readiness to meet with the Iranian president, another thing Bolton reportedly opposed.

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BRICS Needs a Unified Front Against US Intervention in Venezuela

Image result for BRICS Needs a Unified Front Against US Intervention in Venezuela
Ramona Wadi
September 7, 2019

Venezuela’s destabilisation by the US is understood best by the countries that have faced imperialist interference. Cuba’s revolutionary process, for example, has produced consistent political solidarity with Venezuela and is actively urging countries to reconsider their stance as regards the US sanctions which are creating severe humanitarian consequences.

The recent executive order signed by US President Donald Trump encompasses all entities that do business with Venezuela, thus creating an embargo that will further isolate the nation, even as the US moves to open a “Venezuela Affairs Unit” unit in its embassy in Bogota, Colombia. The unit would engage in diplomacy with the US-backed Juan Guaido, who is recognised by the Trump administration and its allies as the purported interim Venezuelan president. Its aim, according to US Special Representative to Venezuela Elliot Abrams, is in anticipation of “the day this regime falls”.

In a report titled “Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela”, it is estimated that 40,000 people have died as a result of the US-imposed sanctions from 2017 to 2018. According to the US, Venezuela poses “an unusual and extraordinary threat” to its national security – unfounded claims as Trump continues with overt attempts to bring down Maduro’s democratically-elected presidency.

Political pressure against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is instigated by the US, yet there is a backdrop of support from its allies in the region and, globally, from countries that spout the democracy line, even if there is nothing democratic about foreign interference.  While mostly in the background in comparison to the US, Canada has facilitated support for the Venezuelan opposition. In Europe, countries which have not explicitly backed Guaido have assumed an allegedly neutral stance which constitutes tacit agreement in terms of opposition support. The EU criticised US sanctions on Venezuela but has also threatened the country with similar punitive measures, as the European Parliament expressed its support for Guaido.

The international community is dominated by discourse that promotes foreign intervention according to the undemocratic agendas of the so-called democratic countries. Venezuela is urgently in need of a unified political strategy that stands in political solidarity against imperialist interests.

BRICS has positioned itself as one such alternative in terms of economic prospects, international security and stability. Russia and China have repeatedly affirmed their support for Maduro. South Africa and India have likewise followed suit. On the other hand, Brazil under President Jair Bolsonaro is preventing BRICS from promoting a political discourse that fully repudiates US interference in Venezuela.

Contrary to the rest of the BRICS countries, Brazil recognised Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president and it has expressed support for the international community to pay heed to “Venezuela’s cries for freedom”. Brazil has also adopting measures in line with the Lima Group, as well as prohibited Maduro and other senior Venezuelan officials from entering Brazil.

At the G20 summit in Japan, BRICS stated it supported dialogue between Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition to reach a solution. Yet the call is marred by the political divide between Brazil and the other BRICS members. This lack of consensus, including the divergence in terms of recognition of who is Venezuela’s legitimate leader, weakens its political diplomacy in the international arena. As Brazil aligns with the US, although reportedly holding back from endorsing military intervention in Venezuela, It is moving away from one of the organisation’s main aims, which is to establish itself in opposition to capitalist and imperialist exploitation.

In a recent interview, former Brazilian President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva expressed his disappointment at BRICS not moving further politically. “BRICS was not created to be an instrument of defence, but to be an instrument of attack.” If this momentum is to be built, BRICS needs to find equilibrium in its politics, rather than allow itself to be swayed into a seemingly neutral position due to the US allegiances of Brazil under Bolsonaro. It is not enough to preach dialogue like the rest of the international community have done while weakening Venezuela’s autonomy. BRICS must evaluate its relevance, especially when it comes to one of its members demonstrating political opportunism that is contrary to the group’s aims.

Adding Context to ‘News’ about Venezuela

Adding Context to ‘News’ about VenezuelaAugust 11, 2019

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

This past week’s meeting of the U.S.-and-Canada-created anti-Venezuela Lima Group of nations failed to achieve the U.S. regime’s intention of organizing a coalition of its members to participate in a U.S.-led invasion to overthrow Venezuela’s Government and install Trump’s choice, the self-styled ‘interim President’ of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, to rule there. Although 100 nations had been invited, only 60 attended, and the U.S. regime wasn’t able to obtain even one ally for an invasion. John Bolton (U.S. National Security Advisor) and Wilbur Ross (U.S. Secretary of ‘Commerce’ — mainly U.S. oil companies) represented U.S. President Trump at the meeting, which started on August 5th. The meeting ended with no official announcement. It was a humiliating defeat for the U.S. regime.

Below is a report about this meeting, by Agence France-Presse, a typical U.S.-allied ‘news’-medium. The italicized additions in brackets in and near the article’s end are essential historical context; it’s taken from Wikipedia’s article International sanctions during the Venezuelan crisis”, and thus also isn’t from me. This way, the reader will be able to see what the ‘news’-report here leaves out, which is essential background in order for readers to know the reality that stands behind this particular ‘news’ report. The minor typos in the original report are also left unchanged; the entire article is unchanged, except that I boldface the passages toward the end, which passages are subsequently contextualized immediately below them. Afterward, I shall add my own comments, in order to provide a fuller context:

——

http://archive.is/pNGYl

https://www.france24.com/en/

US warns off Venezuela’s supporters as Lima meeting opens

Date created: Tuesday 6 August 2019,  06/08/2019 – 20:07

AFP, Lima (AFP): Washington warned third parties on Tuesday to avoid doing business with the Venezuelan regime of Nicolas Maduro, as delegates from some 60 countries met in Lima to discuss ways of ending the crisis in South American nation.

The warning came one day after President Donald Trump ordered a freeze on all Venezuelan government assets in the United States and barred transactions with its authorities.

“We are sending a signal to third parties that want to do business with the Maduro regime: proceed with extreme caution,” said Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, speaking in Lima.

“There is no need to risk your business interests with the United States for the purposes of profiting from a corrupt and dying regime.”

The Trump administration is determined to force Maduro from power and support opposition leader Juan Guaido’s plans to form a transitional government and set up new elections.

The sanctions drew an angry response from Caracas, which denounced the US move as “another serious aggression by the Trump administration through arbitrary economic terrorism against the Venezuelan people.”

Crisis-wracked Venezuela has been mired in a political impasse since January when Guaido, speaker of the Natinal Assembly, proclaimed himself acting president, quickly receiving the support of more than 50 countries.

Tuesday’s meeting was called by the Lima Group, which includes a dozen Latin American countries and Canada, most of which support Guaido.

The Lima meeting comes as representatives of Maduro and Guaido are involved in “continuous” negotiations mediated by Norway.

The first round of talks were in Oslo in May, and three further rounds have taken place in Barbados.

Caracas claims the US sanctions show that Washington and its allies are “committed to the failure of the political dialogue” because “they fear the results and benefits.”

Bolton, who is in the US delegation alongside Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, said Maduro was “not serious” about talks.

He said Trump’s move “authorizes the US government to identify, target and impose sanctions on any persons who continue to provide support” Maduro’s “illegitimate regime.”

He said it would “deny Maduro access to the global financial system and to further isolate him internationally.”

Venezuela’s opposition considers Maduro a usurper over his re-election last year in a poll widely viewed as rigged.

They want him to stand down so new elections can be held — but Maduro, with support from the country’s powerful military, refuses to go.

Maduro says the talks must lead to “democratic coexistence” and an end to what he describes as an attempted US-orchestrated “coup.”

But on Tuesday the White House was emphatic: the “dictatorship must end for Venezuela to have a stable, democratic, and prosperous future.”

The United States would “use every appropriate tool to end Maduro’s hold on Venezuela,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Oil-rich but cash-poor Venezuela has been in a deep recession for five years.

[“President Barack Obama signed the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, a U.S. Act imposing sanctions on Venezuelan individuals held responsible by the United States for human rights violations during the 2014 Venezuelan protests, in December of that year.[13][14] It “requires the President to impose sanctions” on those “responsible for significant acts of violence or serious human rights abuses associated with February 2014 protests or, more broadly, against anyone who has directed or ordered the arrest or prosecution of a person primarily because of the person’s legitimate exercise of freedom of expression or assembly”.[8]”]

Food and medicine shortages are routine, and public services are progressively failing.

[“As the humanitarian crisis deepened and expanded, the Trump administration levied more serious economic sanctions against Venezuela on 28 January [2019], and “Maduro accused the US of plunging Venezuelan citizens further into economic crisis.”[3] Rafael Uzcátegui, director of PROVEA, added that “sanctions against PDVSA are likely to yield stronger and more direct economic consequences, and that “[w]e should remember that 70 to 80 percent of Venezuela’s food is imported, and there’s barely any medicine production in the country.”[3]”]

——

MY COMMENTS: The U.S. regime’s sanctions against Venezuelans were aimed at producing such distress amongst the population so as to cause them not to vote for Maduro. It didn’t work. The sanctions had the intended effect of distressing Venezuelans, but this deprivation drove so many of the most anti-Maduro Venezuelans to leave the country so that the sanctions failed to force the expected “regime change.” It drove too many of his enemies out. The U.S. regime is therefore trying even-stronger measures to grab the country. Trump is dictating to Venezuela that “the dictatorship must end.” He has even chosen the person, Guaido, who is to replace the current nationally elected President, whom the U.S. regime has long been trying to oust. Guaido has never even been a candidate in any national Venezuelan election, but he was trained in the U.S., and has always cooperated with the U.S. Government’s repeated efforts to take control over Venezuela. Venezuela has never invaded nor even threatened the United States. This coup-attempt is purely an effort for imperialistic conquest of Venezuela, but it is cloaked in ‘democratic’ and ‘humanitarian’ lies, for fools, like America’s invasions and coups typically are. Only idiots can’t see what the U.S. pattern is here, especially after the lies that had suckered Americans in 2003 to support “regime-change in Iraq.” Trump is continuing Barack Obama’s policy, which continued that of George W. Bush. Whatever changes in personnel occur within the U.S. regime, the regime itself remains basically the same, though its theatrics change, and that’s enough change to satisfy most Americans that we live in a democracy. Virtually all of the U.S. Congress supports these efforts to conquer Venezuela, and this fascism includes all of the Democratic Party’s Presidential candidates. Therefore, none of the candidates are being challenged about their votes supporting this (or any other) attempted conquest by the U.S. regime. The neoconservative policy is bipartisan in America, though the personnel do change, from the representatives of one group of billionaires, to the representatives of another group of billionaires. And the vast majority of Americans think that it’s good, or at least okay — even after all of the lies have been exposed, they still approve. Of course, most Italians, Japanese, and Germans, thought favorably about their Government’s imperialistic conquests, during WW II; but Americans became opposed to that when we were hit by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor and Germany declared war against us. This time around, we are the Japanese, and the Germans, and the Italians. Things weren’t supposed to turn out this way, but it has happened. The U.S. is today the world’s leading fascist nation. And very few Americans recognize that it’s the way that things did turn out. Very few Americans know that we live in a fascist nation — today’s leading fascist nation.

AFTER THAT NEWS-REPORT:

The next day, August 7th, Venezuela’s Telesur headlined “EU Opposes Recent US Total Blockade Against Venezuela” and reported that Trump had failed to get the EU — his biggest hope for destroying Venezuela short of militarily invading it — to accept even that proposal. The EU said “We oppose the extraterritorial application of unilateral measures.” They further said “A negotiated outcome remains the only sustainable way to overcome this multidimensional crisis.” The EU couldn’t muster enough fascists to go along with anything that the U.S. regime proposed. At this point, Trump isn’t far from the moment when he will need either to abandon his effort to grab Venezuela in this round, or else spring a blitz invasion without allies. Even if he calls off the effort, that would only be temporary. Perhaps if and when he is re-elected, he will feel freer just to send in thousands of troops, tanks, and missiles, to get the job done. However, if Russia stands firm, then such an invasion could spark WW III. He would have to decide whether grabbing the world’s largest oil reserves is worth that risk. Meanwhile, he will almost certainly continue to try to make life as difficult as possible for the Venezuelan people, all the while blaming Maduro for their misery. This has been the basic American plan, since well before Trump occupied the White House. At this stage, an American President is just a figurehead for one or another faction of America’s 607 billionaires, and it seems that whereas some of them demand conquest of Venezuela, none of the others opposes such a conquest. The only issue, therefore, for the American regime, is how and when to do that.

On August 8th, Venezuela, Iran, China, and Russia, held “war games” at Kaliningrad, Russia, on the Baltic coast, which military exercises had been organized by Russia, perhaps in order to indicate to Washington that a U.S. invasion against any of these four would be militarily responded to by all of the four. This symbolic act warns the fascist, and fascist-accepting, regimes: Your imperialist alliance has 60 nations, but is fractious; ours, on the other hand — all resolute supporters of national sovereignty, and therefore opponents of imperialism — has 4 nations, but we are united. Consequently, though “US warns off Venezuela’s supporters as Lima meeting opens,” Venezuela’s three allies here answered that verbal threat immediately after the Lima Group meeting, by a joint action, which symbolized that they are ignoring it.

—————

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.

OMISSION OF ATROCITIES COMMITTED BY THE VENEZUELAN “OPPOSITION” DISCREDITS UN HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT

Global Research, August 05, 2019

Former lawyer for the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Alfred de Zayas stated:

“As a former staffer of the Office of the High Commissioner For Human Rights, I know how things work.  There are people with prejudices.   They have an axe to grind and they grind it and they omit information that just doesn’t fit the matrix that they want to put forward…Now this, of course, is not just a problem of methodology.  This is also a problem of ethics.  The professional ethics of a staff member must include a true reproduction of the information received from all sources…the information given to the High Commissioner, I have seen much of that information, which also dates back to 2017, and none of it was ever reflected by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, and is also not reflected by this new report…I think it is necessary for the credibility of the office to change the team that has been doing these reports in the past because they have proven not to be objective.  They have proven not to follow what I would consider the minimum requirements of any serious research.”

“I think that not giving appropriate weight to the violence of the guarimbas, of the opposition, not going into the dislocation, the disturbance of repeated attempts at overthrowing the government, the coup d’etat, the unilateral declaration of the presidency of Guaido, followed by the so-called humanitarian aid that the United States was going to force from Colombia into Venezuela, followed by the call to the army to overthrow Maduro on the 30th of April last, etc., the attempts on the life of Maduro himself—All of these things have an impact on the functioning of any government….But back in 2017, and I’ve seen the videos, the opposition used Molotov cocktails.  The opposition used real bullets.  The opposition burned alive seven human beings.”

In an appallingly distorted and biased report by United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, the shameful failure to report or even mention the atrocities committed by the Venezuelan so-called “peaceful opposition” is a sin of omission so egregious as to discredit the entire report, and disqualify the professionalism of those who compiled it.  It is also shocking that Michelle Bachelet affixed her own imprimatur to this report:  Madame Bachelet should, at the very least, have mentioned  particularly infamous atrocities perpetrated by the Venezuelan opposition, atrocities which actually exceeded in savagery some of the horrors perpetrated by the fascist dictatorship of Chile’s Pinochet, barbarism of which Chile’s Michelle Bachelet herself must be fully aware.

This report on Venezuela dates back as far as 2014, and clearly includes 2017, during which racist atrocities perpetrated by the opposition against supporters of the government are so heinous that their glaring omission from this current report constitutes a deliberate attempt to suppress and deny the truth, transforming the report into a blatant propaganda device, devoid of reliability.

On May 22, 2017 the torture-murder of an Afro-Venezuelan was committed by members of the opposition demonstrating in the wealthy community of Altamira:  a young Afro-Venezuelan, Orlando Jose Figuera was beaten to the ground by a mob of over 40 members of the opposition, who knifed him six times in the stomach, doused his body with gasoline and burned him alive.  Figuera, a government supporter, died ten days later.  The opposition perpetrators of this heinous atrocity were never apprehended.

“What does the Organization of American States General Secretary Luis Almagro say?  What does the Colombian President say?  What does Donald Trump say?”

These Venezuelan racist members of the opposition  subsequently burnt alive at least five other government supporters, including Danny Subero, Pedro Josue Carillo, several other youths: at least eighteen government supporters were murdered in this “peaceful” opposition demonstration, alone.  Absolutely no mention of this is contained in Michelle Bachelet’s current report, which virtually demonizes the Venezuelan government.

During this orgy of sadism perpetrated by the so-called “peaceful” Venezuelan opposition, fifty four public – operated TransBolivar buses in Ciudad Guyana were  set on fire with Molotov cocktails hurled by members of the opposition. This was confirmed by Bolivar state Governor Francisco Rangel Gomez. Of course, the well-to-do members of Venezuelan society do not need to use public buses.  They frequently ride in chauffeured limosines.  The destruction of public buses harms the poorer sectors of Venezuela, those very members of society which Presidents Chavez and Maduro were attempting to help, and raise the standard of living.

These opposition protests have caused the country $140,000,000 in damages in 2017 alone.

These crass omissions of numerous crimes and atrocities perpetrated by the Venezuelan opposition scandalously discredit this report, and reveal it to be sycophantic propaganda, both intellectually and morally bankrupt, currying favor with Western financial powers, and unworthy of Madame Bachelet, herself, who cannot, or should not have forgotten the cases in Chile of the “Quemados.”  Rodrogo Rojas and Carmen Gloria Quintana,  were similarly doused with gasoline and set on fire by Pinochet’s gestapo:  Rojas died of his burns, and Carman Gloria underwent more than 30 plastic surgery operations to attempt repair her face and body, still disfigured with scarring.  There is one difference:  Pinochet’s killers omitted the six knife wounds to the stomach that Figueroa suffered.  Members of the Venezuelan opposition seem to have exceeded in savagery even Pinochet’s Nazis.

*

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Carla Stea is Global Research’s correspondent at United Nations Headquarters, New York, N.Y.

Maduro Sniffs Out New Coup, Attempt to Murder Him and His Wife Planned By Guaido and US!

June 27, 2019

Venezuela thwarts another coup attempt: official

The Venezuelan authorities have thwarted another attempt to stage a coup, Minister of Communications and Information Jorge Rodriguez said on Wednesday.

“We have video recordings that serve as evidence that weapons and money were transferred [for the aim of staging a coup],” Rodriguez told a press conference broadcast by the Telesur TV channel.

Rodriguez said that conspirators planned to seize ammunition depots and a military airport in Caracas, then release former Defense Minister Raul Baduel from prison. In 2009, Baduel was sentenced to a lengthy term in prison for corruption. Conspirators planned to proclaim Baduel as Venezuela’s president.

On January 23 Venezuelan National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido proclaimed himself as the country’s acting president. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has described it as a coup attempt and announced severing diplomatic relations with the United States. On January 28 the US imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA oil company.

Guaido was recognized as interim president by the Lima Group countries (except for Mexico), as well as by Albania, Georgia, the United States, and the Organization of American States.

Several EU countries came forward with support for the Venezuelan parliament and expressed hope for new elections to resolve the crisis. Maduro was supported by Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey.

 

Source: TASS

Understanding America’s “regime change” strategy in Russia

June 19, 2019

Understanding America’s “regime change” strategy in Russia

by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog

In what is a very timely admission taking into account the topic of my last article – 21st century international relations and decision-making, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (Служба внешней разведки Российской Федерации), Sergey Naryshkin, pointed to a low risk method of “hybrid” warfare and named a specific example where it is being implemented. RT reported the following on June 18th (emphasis my own):

“Western secret services are perfecting clandestine tools which are designed to weaken countries like viruses weaken bodies, the Russian foreign intelligence chief has said. This kind of warfare is currently used in Venezuela.

The criticism came from Sergey Naryshkin, who heads Russia’s foreign intelligence agency SVR. He said spies are constantly improving the tool used to dispose of governments that the West does not like.

‘We are talking about creating a universal algorithm for conducting clandestine influence operations in a continuous manner and on a global scale,’ he said. According to the official, this clandestine work ‘never stops and targets not only enemies, but also friends and neutral powers in the times of peace, crisis and war.’

‘It can be compared to the action of a virus; it can spend decades destroying a human organism without symptoms, and once diagnosed, often it’s too late to treat it.’

The methods used to influence and destabilize other nations include creating network-oriented structures that can operate on a premise of public activism, art, science, religion or extremism, the Russian official said. After collecting data on the fault lines in a targeted society, those structures are used to attack those weak points in a synchronized assault, overwhelming the nation’s capability to respond to crises.

Simultaneously the perpetrators push a narrative through local and global media and social networks that claims that the only way to resolve problems is to replace the government of the victim nation with another one, possibly with a direct foreign support.

‘We can observe this scenario being implemented in Venezuela,’ Naryshkin said.

The US is currently trying to replace Venezuela’s elected President Nicolas Maduro with another person, Juan Guaido, whom Washington recognized as the legitimate head of the South American nation.

Among others, the US backs his bid with economic sanctions against Venezuela and a massive diplomatic and media campaign in support of the pretender. Guaido’s attempts to actually seize power in Caracas have been futile, so far.

The Russian intelligence chief was speaking at an international security forum in Ufa, Russia, which is hosted by the Russian National Security Council. The event is meant for officials directly involved in policy making on security issues. Almost 120 nations are participating in this year’s gathering.”

I will start by saying that Naryshkin could reveal a lot more if he wanted to, but for obvious reasons is limited to presenting an abstract thesis – which RT “coincidently” relayed – as a sort of signal to Western intelligence agencies that Russia’s room to manoeuvre in the information space isn’t limited to just publishing “news”.

On the surface it might seem like he is just describing a banal coup d’état, where one state interferes in the internal affairs of another state for the purpose of overthrowing the government and bringing to power a political circle that is friendlier. If one prefers simplistic and digestible takeaways, then one can stop reading here – nothing new under the sun!

However, what the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service is alluding to is a far more complex and dense matter. As history has shown, the traditional coup d’état, akin to what has been seen in the MENA and South America for decades now, is not the same as the coup d’état that was rolled out in, for example, Ukraine in 2014. Why?

The precursor to the “colour revolution”

The main reason is that the West has been working on occupying MENA’s lands and raw materials for decades. If the countries of MENA can be said to be tribalistic in terms of structure and aims (more about daily survival than paying bills at the end of the month), then post-WW2 Europe is at first glance much more “developed” and “civilised”. I put these words in quotation marks because they are the generic phrases that organisations like the UN use when describing how MENA should aspire to become “more democratic” and “progressive” in order to “combat poverty” and become “prosperous”. In other words, MENA in general is not as technologically advanced as modern nation states with liberal “democracies”. This is not an insult to MENA; it is simply an observable fact based on the consequences of colonisation. Thus, the scheme for conquering MENA territory is more straightforward than it would be for conquering, for example, Eastern Europe. There is a leader, there is a small circle of wealthy elites, there is an army (armed loyalists), and there are farmers/manual labour workers. Anglo-Saxon colonisers managed to conquer the lands long before the victim nation is able to climb the ladder of scientific research and thus obtain more and more effective ways of defending themselves.

In the example of the Native Indians, the British already had basic guns, thus the former’s bows and arrows were inferior. In the case of Africa, notorious colonisers (which includes the British) arrived with the same guns and were faced with only spears and other relatively primitive weapons. Hence why almost the entire African continent was subjugated so easily. The difference between just general colonisation and a coup d’état can be seen most visibly after the CIA is formed: overthrowing a “dictator” becomes as simple as literally buying off the army (like how the UK pioneered the use of pirates), which allows the capitalist West to take care of business and use its media resources to report another “peaceful” and “successful” “democratisation” project. As soon as a leader manages to come to power and aims to challenge this subjugation (Gaddafi being the most recent MENA example, but there is also Patrice Lumumba and Thomas Sankara), they experience the same problem – they are simply overpowered by the more technologically advanced coloniser.

When it comes to coup d’états in the post-Soviet space, the game is different. For over 60 years the USSR had succeeded to repel the influence of the “free” (capitalist) Anglo-Saxons – thanks to a focus on scientific research and thus nuclear technologies – and create a tightly knit Union based on common history and culture. In the West the governments told their citizens that “on that side of the curtain they are ‘totalitarian’”, whilst in reality America & Co struggled to influence Soviet society and didn’t want their own citizens to see that in the Soviet system of governance everybody had something, as opposed to some people having everything (capitalism). In other words, the USSR was able to defend itself against the traditional coup d’état method.

Due to the fact that the USSR was a developed territory and had much more complex political structures than those of the average African country, it wasn’t as simple as just sending Thomas Lawrence or Sidney Reilly and duping local kingpins into signing agreements that essentially renounce raw material ownership rights. And it is also important to bear in mind that the Soviet intelligence agencies were doing battle with the CIA long before 1991. The changing of times simply obliged the West to update the coup d’état playbook before the target country progressed along the line of scientific development and establishes a defence mechanism that is technologically 20 years ahead of the US’ subversive tools.

Not being physically able to intimidate the USSR enough into submitting to its will since the latter had nuclear weapons, Uncle Sam realised that it was much more wiser and safer to blow it up from the inside. In this article I don’t want to digress too much from the central topic, thus I will not present a mass of details of how America managed to penetrate the USSR and inject it’s liberal ideas throughout society, but a good brief example I can give is the shipping of American clothes/fashion to Soviet ports, such as Odessa. Today this might be called “soft power”, but at the time in question such things served to convince people that individualism could give a more fruitful life than collectivism.

The 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine utilised an upgraded blueprint that was based on the one used to dismantle the Soviet Union (and spark the 1993 constitutional crisis). When the USSR collapsed in 1991, Ukraine found itself in the position of being the wealthiest inheritor of the Soviet legacy: its infrastructure, medicine, education, military, etc was the best in the region. Things started to go pear-shaped around 2004, when America’s interference started to reach new heights at the time of the “multi-vectoral” Kuchma, but the Ukraine of 2014 under Yanukovych was relatively-speaking above the water and swimming comfortably. In an attempt to oust Putin before Russia comes even closer to China, strengthens, and forms the backbone of the emerging Eurasian bloc, America planned to disrupt the equilibrium in Ukraine and violently tear it away from the Russian nation. But the problem for America was “how to make this process look organic? After all, to simply invade Ukraine with the US Army would result in the liquidation of the United States of America itself.”

I will not use precious article space recounting what happened in 2013/2014 in Ukraine, since I have created an archive dedicated to it, but I think the video below – John Tefft in 2013 preparing the terrain in Donetsk for what was about to happen – encapsulates the essence of it very well: US NGOs brainwashed society into flirting with liberalism and its noxious “democracy”, similar to that virus Sergey Naryshkin spoke about; local Galician militant formations are formed (main example: “Right Sector”) and capture administration buildings in Western Ukraine, before eventually being transported to Kiev for the February “revolution”.

“Colour revolution 2.0”

What I really want to focus on is the coup d’état model that is being deployed by America & Co in 2019. So far we can say that there are 3 versions of the coup d’état technology (I am being deliberately simplistic, and I use provisional names and descriptions, since I am still researching this topic):

  1. Traditional coup d’état – a simple smash and grab, effective against the so-called “third world” (examples: Laos, Guatemala, Zaire);
  2. “Colour revolution” – temporarily hijacking “civil society”, effective against more technologically sophisticated states but not superpowers (examples: Egypt, Syria, “independent” Ukraine);
  3. Algorithmic probing (can be thought of as “colour revolution 2.0”) – seizing control over the nation from the ground-up, effective against allies of nuclear superpowers post-2015, when the Minsk Agreements were signed and Russian jets touched down at Hmeymim airbase in Syria (examples: Venezuela, Hong Kong, Russia, Serbia).

Before starting to elaborate on version No. 3, which concerns the post-Syrian-war (I stress, Russia ended the war in 2015 – everything that happened afterwards is just behind the curtain negotiations concerning the next 50+ years of global order) world, it is necessary to present some of the reasons why version No. 2 no longer works:

  • Social media hashtag campaigns like those seen during the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood “revolution” no longer have the same effect due to the exponentially increasing mobilisation of anti-coup (“pro-Russia”/“pro-Assad”/“pro-Maduro”/“pro-Nasrallah”) social media users;
  • It became too difficult to keep the aesthetics of the operation consistently clean – the “White Helmets” may do something that discredits their alleged authenticity, the speaker of the Rada may state that “Hitler was a great leader”, a senior Qatari figure may admit live on TV that Qatar funded militant groups in order to remove Assad, Bana might botch a tweet, a video may emerge showing a “FSA” leader reading a script in front of an American producer, etc;
  • The popularity of mainstream media is becoming less and less (not to mention the effect of Trump’s “fake news” PR campaign), and the popularity of both non-Western state media (RT, Sputnik, Press TV, Telesur, etc) and independent (or apparently independent) media is exponentially growing;
  • Alternative social media websites/apps have since become popular amongst English speakers (VKontakte, Telegram, Instagram, Gab, Snapchat, etc);
  • Eurasia was able to study the past behaviour of the both West’s traditional resources and social media users, allowing to refine its existing resources and to even create new, specialised ones;
  • The existence of independent and anti-coup journalists who are prepared to travel between different theatres (for example, Syria and Venezuela) and expose the pattern of the West’s “regime change” methods.
  • The weakening of the effect of smearing expressions like “anti-Semitism” due to the accumulation effect of reports about Israeli crimes in Gaza and the West Bank;
  • The general strengthening of Eurasia and the decline of the liberal West (and the opportunities it has to violate international law as a result), thus the citizens of the former don’t have a reason to believe that the latter is the paradise it pretends it is;
  • etc.

In other words, the geopolitical reality we have today is not at all the same as the one that we saw before Russia’s involvement in Syria – the highest stakes chessboard in the grand game. Lessons were learnt from the past and enough time has passed for changes to be calculated and implemented. Today, superpowers are obliged to invest exponentially more resources in technologies (hence why Russia wants to invest heavily in the AI sector), since understanding the enemy’s technologies is the difference between them successfully or unsuccessfully penetrating society. And it’s not a coincidence that Naryshkin starts to use terms like “virus”. But what does he really mean? What are the design differences between a regular “colour revolution” and what we are seeing today in, for example, Venezuela?

Firstly, a “colour revolution” is designed to hijack “civil society” over a period of several months (less than 6 months), obtain the support of the elites, and aims to put the target leader in front of two bad choices – a trap: to quell protests means to be depicted by the West’s NGO’s as a “dictator”, and thus the West doesn’t risk receiving a information blow to its rear (if Western society doesn’t agree with something the government is doing, an adversary can exploit it and disrupt the socio-economic situation of a western country or of many western countries); to not quell the protests means to simply hand over power. This explains what happened to Viktor Yanukovych – he did not give the order to Berkut to disperse Maidan for fear of being permanently stained in the Western media, so Joe Biden and his band of merry putschists, after a bit of sniper theatrics to keep the protests alive, took the Rada. Lose-lose. In this scenario Russia could do nothing since a) Ukrainians and their elites are ultimately to blame for flirting with the West, and b) Yanukovych chose the passive option, and thus the only thing Moscow could do was to quickly forecast the consequences and move several step ahead of the US (hence the supercomputers that know about the Yugoslavia war). The result? The Minsk Agreements and the driving of the US’ “anti-Russia” project into a dead end.

Secondly, a “colour revolution” hijacks momentary social discontent in relation to a particular issue, inflates it, and then unleashes it in a very focused manner. The discontent needs to be fed financially and thus can be left to extinguish if plans change. It should be noted here that the target society must already show signs of fragmentation: the work to gradually tear Ukraine away from the bosom of Russia (since the collapse of the USSR) has been ongoing for decades, and over time Kiev succumbed to the West’s Banderist poison, thus the 2014 coup simply brought to the surface what had been boiling below since the times of the NKVD’s battle with OUN-UPA. Syria is very similar –Wahhabism had been nibbling away at the Levant for decades. Of course, the ties between Hafez/Bashar al-Assad and the Russia/USSR have existed for over 30 years, but it cannot be said that the two countries have had a relationship based more on pragmatism.

Thirdly, a “colour revolution” involves the creation of an informational hologram that proverbially floats above the target territory, creating a parallel timeline (example: the green/black/white French mandate flag as the actual Syrian flag, and the Higher Negotiations Committee as the actual UN recognised government of Syria – both of which are of course frauds but allow NATO members to bomb Syria without any indignation from the Western general public), but starts to fade as soon as the balance of forces in the war on the ground tips in the target’s favour (not even the US media machine can sell the narrative that East Aleppo still hasn’t been recaptured by Assad).

Fourthly, a “colour revolution” does not aim to reprogram all the layers of non-elite society in all regions of the country – it only aims to introduce liberal ideas and maintain the support of both those who are already brainwashed and those who succumb to the inculcation. Those who were anti-liberal before will remain anti-liberal post-coup, and thus pose a threat to the puppet regime. Ukraine here is an excellent example of this, where the profoundness of the historical Novorossiya vs Galicia line of divide could be overcome with a few cookies and $5 billion in NGO money.

Version No. 3 of the coup d’état, which in this article I refer to as “algorithmic probing”, is thus designed to: take place over a longer period of time; be fed at the expense of the target government and link together various sources of social discontent; be able to work in conditions where there is no existing ground-based warfare and the likelihood of there being any in the future is low; reprogram the national consciousness and hook all layers of society as geographically far and as wide as possible; make steps towards success even if the elites remain loyal to the target leader.

In situations where the target’s security apparatus is the same, if not better, than the belligerent’s; where society’s average level of trust in the leader is the same, if not higher than the belligerent’s; and where the target’s defence capabilities match, if not overpower, the belligerent’s offensive capabilities; it becomes far too risky for the belligerent to try the “colour revolution” scheme, since failure can compromise any future coup d’état attempts – the coup leader can be detained and may spill the beans concerning who gave him orders and what they were, as well as any valuable intelligence information. The failed coup in Turkey in 2016 was the warning signal to Washington that the habitual “colour revolution” technology will not work in the “multipolar” Eurasian space (hint: Turkey received coup-thwarting intel from allies).

In Venezuela the US is revising its coup d’état technology in real time. There are signs of the “colour revolution” technology: a puppet opposition leader who calls for protests in the street; the expression “the Maduro regime”; imposition of sanctions to give the illusion that the Venezuelan government is starving its own people; even statements like “all options are on the table”, which is PR-friendly way of saying there are no options. There are also some faint signs of “algorithmic probing”: the transferal of assets in the US belonging to the Venezuelan state to the hands of Juan Guaido; the dragging out of the coup d’état (it’s been going on for much longer than 6 months); there is no civil war in the country and it’s unlikely there will be any in the near future, despite the presence of US NGOs in the country.

However, the initial “colour revolution” attempt failed because Russia and China – nuclear superpowers – helped Caracas to weather the storm and keep society together. Later the Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA moved its assets to Moscow, Russia sent polite green men to calm down the US, and Moscow and China both sent humanitarian aid (as well as “humanitarian aid”) for the sanctioned people of the country, and Juan Guaido was exposed so much so that even his rich boyfriend Richard Branson was obliged to throw him under the bus:

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But in this example, like vis-à-vis the Syrian war, Russia doesn’t have to do much informational work in order to justify its involvement, simply because ties between Caracas and Moscow already existed before the Bolton-Pompeo tandem came to power, and Russia would be acting within international law anyway. I.e., the door was slammed shut in the face of the CIA, and in order to re-open it America’s only option is to either remove Russia’s nuclear weapons (and in order to do this the S-400 must be removed from the equation) or to overhaul Venezuelan society at the grass roots level.

The “colour revolution” version of the coup d’état even more so does not work in Putin’s Russia. He has succeeded to build a system that leaves no holes for CIA mice (e.g. successors of Gorbachev, Yeltsin, or other notorious liberal saboteurs) to scurry though. Some might call it “authoritarian”; others might call it coup d’état-resistant.

The CIA-orchestrated Boris Nemtsov assassination served as a test balloon, to learn if the Ukrainian scheme can be repeated (death[s] from gunfire -> protests and clashes with law enforcement -> target president flees). The aim was to gather enough people in Moscow for a “march in memory of Nemtsov” and to replicate what happened on Independent Square in Kiev, but this time outside of the Kremlin (how convenient for propagandist photographers – he was killed on the bridge next to the Kremlin!).

Not enough people came, and the security agencies succeeded to block the path to the Kremlin. Russian senator Evgeny Federov did a fantastic job of explaining this in more detail:

The next experiment was the Navalny card in the run-up to the 2018 presidential election. I recommended to delve into the material found here for more details about this. In brief, the CIA tried to use the image of children being arrested by OMON during unsanctioned protests in order to shake Russian society. The result? Putin outlawed it, and of course, Western propagandists were howling “repression”. Putin won the election anyway, in the presence of international observers too.

Fast forward to the most recent (at the time of writing) provocation – the case of Ivan Golunov, who works for the liberal propagandist agency “Meduza” – and we see familiar things: a fifth-columnist is used as a battering ram designed to shake society and remove the evil “dictator”. An unsanctioned “Golunov is a hero” march took place on June 12th, and analysis of the footage shows that it has nothing to do with journalism and everything about putting Putin in a bad light. The crowd even chants “Russia without Putin”, and one hired clown in particular gave the message a visual aspect.

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Evgeny Federov noted that the Golunov club refused the government’s offer to hold a sanctioned rally on June 16th, since the US needs images of “innocent journalists and activists” being detained by “evil” OMON. Federov’s statement in full:

“There is no doubt that it is an attempt to interfere. Both the US State Department and Brussels made official statements on this issue. They have included their forces, and we know them well, many of the participants in the illegal demonstration are well known to us. From the photos in the police vans, you may remember that these forces repeatedly came out before. Personally, I saw them on Pushkin Square, when Navalny took them there.

These are obvious foreign forces, the fifth column on the territory of Russia, they became active on June 12th. For them, they just need a reason, but the reason has already disappeared, Golunov was released, but they don’t care. The team arrived, the money was received, and they need to put it to use. The actions of the protesters are connected to the general system of shaking the situation that is practiced in the West, primarily in the US. It is enough to see how events were prepared in Ukraine, in Georgia, in Moldova, how they were prepared in hundreds of other countries through foreign intervention using the orange technology method.

Everything happens in the same way everywhere. Firstly, a sacred victim is selected, and then proven groups who don’t care about the cause are used. The main thing for them is that the performance is against Russia and in support of foreign handlers. Completely the same scheme works in Russia concerning garbage collection and in Ekaterinburg. No matter what the reason, the most important thing is to continue to shake the situation. And I stress that the Americans managed to do this many times. At the second echelon, they usually involve separatists, and this is also being prepared in Russia.”

Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Downloads:Screenshots:Screenshot 2019-06-19 at 00.00.00.pngThus, instead of holding a sanctioned march on June 16th, a “support Golunov” event took place. The turnout for this rally was pathetic. As Federov says, Putin neutralised the Golunov bomb by releasing the “journalist” and sacrificing some police generals. Of course, the social media attacks followed the same script as with Navalny’s unsanctioned protests and arrests (there is no indignation vis-à-vis Kirill Vyshinsky’s detention, naturally):

The fifth column media in Russia in unison started to promote the “I/We are Golunov” NGO campaign. UK newspapers presented the situation as Putin “backing down” and claimed that the “independent press is harassed, which in reality means that the FSB doesn’t let the fifth column breathe. There were also attempts (example) to stretch the Golunov template over other “unlawful arrests”. And the cherry on the cake is that it turns out that the clown Navalny was present at the unsanctioned Golunov march:

There are of course other examples of US-instigated agitation in Russian society – ranging from churches in Ekaterinburg to pension reform – but they all show the same traits of a “colour revolution” and encounter the same problem: Putin is one step ahead of them.

Long story short, America’s post-Syrian war application of its “colour revolution” technology is inadequate when it comes to toppling either the leaders of nuclear superpowers or the leaders of their ally countries (and it’s not just Eurasia that is the target of these attacks – Trump also attacks the EU [example and example], the individual states of which qualify, if to use Naryshkin’s expression, as “friends and neutral powers in the times of peace, crisis and war”). And taking into account the activity of both Russia and China in Africa today, this inadequacy can mean that the “third world” countries that previously were bulldozed by the most basic method of capturing state power may start to escape from the net of colonisation and enjoy the protection offered by Russia’s “algorithmic counter-probing”. After all, that’s what Venezuela is basically doing, and it’s the only reason Maduro, like Assad, is still in power.

Why do I use the word “algorithmic”?

If we recall, in my previous article I introduced the idea that the foreign policy decision-making of nuclear superpowers is being assisted by supercomputers, simply because the way in which we communicate and send/receive data is becoming exponentially quicker, and the human brain is not able to process such data at such speed. Because of this rapidity of communication, it has meant that one state can encroach on the sovereignty of another state (both digitally and physically), deal a blow, and withdraw to relative safety before the target has the time to adequately respond. Thus, the deployment of the S-400 allowed Russia to establish certain rules in international relations that a) take pressure off Russia’s nuclear weapons – the deterrent of all deterrents, and b) exert pressure on America in such a way that Washington currently – and probably not for the next 25 years at least – has no way of countering it.

So we understand from the description directly above that, like in any system, there can be latency/lag when it comes to responding. I have mentioned in the past how Russia was caught off balance with the first “White Helmets” false flag (Ghouta in 2013, which was designed by buy the jihadists time), since it used a media technology that has not been seen before. The second false flag – Khan Shaykhun – was much less sucessful since Russia had already deployed its jets, was able to learn from the previous false flag, and thus adjusted its algorithm (see my previous article, especially the section about media disinformation with complex equations) and deploy a counter media campaign. The third false flag – Douma – was even more of a failure.

The aim of the adversary is to outmanoeuvre the rival in the global information space via a coordinated media and ground campaign (coined by some as “fourth generation warfare”). The “White Helmets” have to film the false flag, and the agencies have to spread the fake footage in parallel, coordinating it with the general daily topics in such a way that the consumer feels that their regular “trustworthy” news service is the same as it’s always been – because of course, the last thing a neoliberal government wants is its subjects starting to entertain the idea that one’s government is sponsoring Al Qaeda. In other words, the higher the geopolitical stakes, the more technologically sophisticated the methods used in the information space.

In this affair it’s not just about the speed of a “hybrid” attack, but also about its composition. One can have the most rapid “input->process->output” informational algorithm, but it is useless if it cannot provide multiple angles of attack.

Here is a very abstract (rushed) diagram I made just to illustrate this point. The black circle represents a designated point in time, when all media resources will parrot “Assad gassed his own people” in sync. The objective of America is to coordinate as many “chemical attack reports” as possible, thus making it look “credible”. The red arrows represent Russia’s counter attack, which will prevent the black circle from growing (the West employing more media resources/NGOs to disseminate the disinformation) or moving forward (the West using the same amount of resources, but reporting “updates” later along the timeline). This is how the attempt to execute a fourth false flag was negated – see hereherehere, and here for examples. As I mentioned in another article, this same preventative tactic was used in Donbass a lot to stop the US’ aggressive exertion of pressure. Of course, the map is not the territory, and the diagram below is not supposed to literally depict how the Russian Ministry of Defence’s supercomputer works.

Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Downloads:Untitled Diagram.pngThe reader may be thinking “You said that Syria was an example of a ‘colour revolution’, not of ‘algorithmic probing’, so why use it as an example?” The answer is: Syria is not a nuclear superpower, and thus “colour revolution” technology (albeit incrementally improved over the many years of the war) worked. In the case of Russia, “colour revolution” technology doesn’t work, period. So the US’ only option is to try to inject this “virus”, as Naryshkin calls it. Thus, America’s aim is to encroach on the Russian information space without the Russian authorities having the time to repel attacks. When viewed from a gestalt perspective, America would thus have a permanent presence in the Russian information space, since by the time Russia has plugged one hole, another blow will have been landed from another angle.

Navalny, Golunov, the Yeltsin Center, RBK, Kommersant, Novaya Gazeta, Meduza, Roizman, Kasparov, Kasyanov, Gorbachev, Solzhenitsyn – America sure has a lot of assets at its disposal, but they all suffer from the same problem: they are designed to make Western people hate the Russian world (I doubt Russians care what rats like Jeremy Hunt thinks), but they do not noticeably shake the internal situation in Russia. And after all, it is the Russian people themselves who determine the legitimacy of the Russian government, not Joe Blogs in Coventry. As a result, America’s only hope in relation to paralyzing Putin’s legacy is to create a phantom Russian identity that can spark a civil war. This is a topic for another article, but the Russia-friendly reader mustn’t immediately start losing sleep, since I am talking about processes that need 10-20 more years before we can start to judge whether or not America’s coup d’état technology has adapted to the CIA’s needs.

One thing is for sure: as long as the Russian state is viable and self-sufficient, social unrest will remain for Washington only a wet dream, not a reality. And it’s not excluded that the socio-economic situation inside America and/or the EU will buckle before any Yankee algorithms start to poison the roots of the Russian state. After all, America has a rear, Russia also has information-disseminating resources, and the S-400 isn’t going anywhere. And what sort of technology does China have? Imagine if Russian and Chinese supercomputers are interconnected? Actually don’t, because I don’t want to give the reader a headache!

Pandering to Israel Means War with Iran

Global Research, May 09, 2019

The United States is moving dangerously forward in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to provoke a war with Iran, apparently based on threat intelligence provided by Israel. The claims made by National Security Advisor John Bolton and by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that there is solid evidence of Iran’s intention to attack US forces in the Persian Gulf region is almost certainly a fabrication, possibly deliberately contrived by Bolton and company in collaboration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It will be used to justify sending bombers and additional naval air resources to confront any possible moves by Tehran to maintain its oil exports, which were blocked by Washington last week. If the US Navy tries to board ships carrying Iranian oil it will undoubtedly, and justifiably, provoke a violent response from Iran, which is precisely what Bolton, Pompeo and Netanyahu are seeking.

It would be difficult to find in the history books another example of a war fought for no reason whatsoever. As ignorant as President Donald Trump and his triumvirate or psychotics Bolton, Pompeo and Elliott Abrams are, even they surely know that Iran poses no threat to the United States. If they believe at all that a war is necessary, they no doubt base their judgment on the perception that the United States must maintain its number one position in the world by occasionally attacking and defeating someone to serve as an example of what might happen if one defies Washington. Understanding that, the Iranians would be wise to avoid confrontation until the sages in the White House move on to some easier target, which at the moment would appear to be Venezuela.

The influence of Israel over US foreign policy is undeniable, with Washington now declaring that it will “review ties” with other nations that are considered to be unfriendly to the Jewish state. For observers who might also believe that Israel and its allies in the US are the driving force behind America’s belligerency in the Middle East, there are possibly some other games that are in play, all involving Benjamin Netanyahu and his band of merry cutthroats. It is becoming increasingly apparent that foreign politicians have realized that the easiest way to gain Washington’s favor is to do something that will please Israel. In practical terms, the door to Capitol Hill and the White House is opened through the good offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Israel is desperate to confirm its legitimacy in international fora, where it has few friends in spite of an intensive lobbying campaign. It seeks to have countries that do not have an embassy in Israel to take steps to establish one, and it also wants more nations that do already have an embassy in Tel Aviv to move to Jerusalem, building on the White House’s decision taken last year to do just that. Not surprisingly, nations and political leaders who are on the make and want American support have drawn the correct conclusions and pander to Israel as a first step.

One only has to cite the example of Venezuela. Juan Guaido, the candidate favored by Washington for regime change, has undoubtedly a lot of things on his plate but he has proven willing to make some time to say what Benjamin Netanyahu wants to hear, as reported by the Israeli media. The Times of Israel describes how

“Venezuela’s self-proclaimed leader Juan Guaido is working to re-establish diplomatic relations with Israel and isn’t ruling out placing his country’s embassy in Jerusalem, according to an interview with an Israeli newspaper published Tuesday.”

One would think that Guaido would consider his interview sufficient, but he has also taken the pandering process one step farther, reportedly displaying huge video images of the flags of both Israel and the United States at his rallies.

This deference to Israel’s interests produced an almost immediate positive result with Netanyahu recognizing him as the legitimate Venezuelan head of state, followed by an echo chamber of effusive congratulations from US (sic) Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who praised the Jewish state for “standing with the people of Venezuela and the forces of freedom and democracy.” Donald Trump’s esteemed special envoy for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, also joined in, praising the Israeli government for its “courageous stand in solidarity with the Venezuelan people.”

A similar bonding took place regarding Brazil, where hard right conservative leader Jair Bolsonaro was recently elected president. Netanyahu attended the Bolsonaro inauguration last December and the two men benefit from strong support from Christian Evangelicals. Bolsonaro repaid the favor by promising that Israel would be his first foreign trip. In the event he went to Washington first, but the state visit to Israel took place in April, just before that country’s elections, in a bid to demonstrate international support for Netanyahu.

Brazilian Jews constitute a wealthy and powerful community which reacted positively to Bolsonaro’s pledges to fight corruption and high crime rates while also repairing a struggling economy. They also appreciated his stance on Israel. He committed to moving the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, though he has backpedaled a bit on that pledge. And he also promised to shut the Palestinian embassy in the capital Brasilia. He famously asked and answered his own question,

“Is Palestine a country? Palestine is not a country, so there should be no embassy here. You do not negotiate with terrorists.”

Bolsonaro’s pro-Israel anti-Venezuela credentials also endeared him to Donald Trump on a visit to Washington in mid-March which was described by the media as a “love fest.” The Brazilian leader’s visits to Israel and the US as well as Guaido’s promises to Israel reveal that the foreign policies of Tel Aviv and Washington have become inextricably intertwined, with supplicant nations and politicians wisely seeking to do homage to both regimes to gain favor. It is a development that would shock the Founding Fathers, most particularly George Washington, who warned against entangling alliances, and it means that American interests will be seen through an Israeli prism, a reality that has already produced very bad results.

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Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests.

Pence to Offer ’Carrots’ to Venezuela Military, Warnings to Judges

By Roberta Rampton – Reuters

US Vice President Mike Pence is set on Tuesday to offer new incentives to Venezuela’s military to turn against President Nicolas Maduro, responding to an attempted uprising that fizzled out last week, a senior administration official told Reuters.

In a speech to the Americas Society at the State Department, scheduled for 3:25 p.m., Pence will also warn that the United States will soon move to sanction 25 additional magistrates on Venezuela’s Supreme Court, the official said on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Pence will also offer assistance for refugees who have fled the country, and an economic aid package contingent on a political transition, according to the official.

Pence’s speech will be the first look at the Trump administration’s recalibrated strategy following massive street protests last week led by Juan Guaido, the opposition leader backed by the United States and most other Western countries.

Guaido had described the protests as the start of his “final phase” to oust Maduro, but mass military defections failed to come to fruition.

US President Donald Trump has invested considerable political capital in the diplomatic and economic intervention in the Venezuela crisis.

Although Guaido’s attempted uprising failed to immediately dislodge Maduro, it exposed new fissures within the country, the official said.

“A week before last, all the media – including you guys, everybody – was writing about how there’s no way forward, complete stalemate,” the official said.

“Suddenly last week, everyone woke up.”

New Carrots, And a Stick

Guaido, the president of the country’s national assembly, invoked Venezuela’s constitution in January to declare himself interim president of the country, arguing that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was ‘illegitimate.’

Maduro – who has said Guaido is a puppet of Washington – has sought to show that the military remains on his side, but opposition leaders and US officials have said that support is tenuous.

“They sat back in the barracks and they’re there, but they don’t want to be identified as the institutional source of repression,” the official said.

Pence will offer new “carrots” to the Venezuelan military, the senior official told Reuters, declining to provide details of the incentives ahead of the speech.

“He’ll be showing where the opportunities lay if people do the right thing moving forward,” the official said.

Pence is also set to outline new assistance for Venezuelans who have fled the oil-rich OPEC member, which has been plagued by hyperinflation and shortages of food, water, power and medicine – and a “Day One” economic assistance plan for Venezuela contingent on Maduro’s departure, the official added.

The vice president in addition will deliver a “warning shot” to magistrates on Venezuela’s Supreme Court. The Treasury Department sanctioned the court’s president, Maikel Moreno, in 2017 and the seven principal members of its constitutional chamber – and is now preparing to sanction the 25 remaining members of the court, the official said.

“We feel like that’s where the pressure needs to be,” according to the official.

“All 32 magistrates in the TSJ are going to sink or swim together,” the official said, using the acronym for Tribunal Supremo de Justicia.

The court would be responsible for signing off on any warrant for an arrest of Guaido – a move the US official emphasized would have severe consequences.

The United States imposed sweeping sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, in January. Oil provides 90 percent of export revenue for Venezuela.

The administration also continues to work on other responses to increase financial pressure on Maduro, including “secondary sanctions” on companies from other countries that do business with Venezuela, and additional shipping sanctions for oil, the official said.

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