Maduro: Venezuela Has Right to Buy Weapons from Any Country, Even US

Maduro: Venezuela Has Right to Buy Weapons from Any Country, Even US

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuela can buy weapons from any country that wants to sell them, even the United States, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro told reporters.

During a press conference, broadcast on Twitter, Maduro was again asked to comment on the words of Colombian President Ivan Duque, that Venezuela bought missiles from Iran.

“Venezuela can buy bullets, weaponry, tanks, planes and missiles from a country that wants to sell them, be it the United States, Colombia, Iran, Russia, China, India – any country”, Maduro said.

Maduro also said Venezuela and Iran had long-term relationships in many sectors.

“Duque said that Venezuela had bought missiles from Iran. And I replied that this was not true, but it seemed to me a very good idea”, he said, adding that if necessary, Venezuela would consider such an issue.

The political situation in Venezuela worsened in January 2019, when opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido illegally proclaimed himself interim president in a bid to oust reelected President Maduro from power.

Guaido was quickly endorsed by the United States and its allies in Latin America, while Russia, China, Turkey and several other nations only recognize Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Maduro himself has characterized the events in the country as an attempted coup so that the US could take control of Venezuela’s rich resources, especially oil.

Since then, the Trump administration has been extending support to Guaido, while slapping Caracas with a set of sanctions, the most painful of which turned out to be the freezing of the country’s accounts in Europe and the blocking of assets and interests of the oil and gas company PDVSA within US jurisdiction.

Third Iranian Tanker Docks at Venezuelan Port, Maduro Promises Fuel Supply

Third Iranian Tanker Docks at Venezuelan Port, Maduro Promises Fuel Supply

By Staff, Agencies

The final tanker in a flotilla of three Iranian fuel tankers docked at eastern Venezuela’s Guaraguao port on Sunday, Refinitiv Eikon data and a person familiar with the matter reported, as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro promised to normalize fuel supply in the gasoline-starved country.

The three tankers, which began arriving last week, brought some 820,000 barrels of fuel to the South American country, where severe shortages of gasoline — as well as unreliable power, water and cooking gas supplies — have led to a wave of protests in the neglected interior in recent weeks.

The shortages come as state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela’s once-formidable 1.3 million barrel per day [bpd] refining network has all but collapsed, although two refineries have for the past week been producing around 50,000 bpd of gasoline.

Maduro last week announced a new rationing plan, set to begin on Monday, in which authorities would distribute fuel according to motorists’ license plate numbers.

“Tomorrow, October 5, the plan to normalize and restart the gasoline distribution situation begins,” Maduro said in a Sunday state television address. “We have in the last week managed to produce the gasoline and other products Venezuela needs, in addition to the good quantity of gasoline that has arrived from abroad.”

The Faxon entered Venezuelan waters on Saturday and docked at the Guaraguao fuel port, which is connected to the Puerto La Cruz refinery, on Sunday afternoon, according to the person familiar with the matter. The other tankers are docked at refineries in the west and central regions of Venezuela.

Iran and Venezuela intensified economic cooperation this year as the United States ramped up sanctions on both countries’ oil industries.

Maduro Accuses US of Allowing CIA to Carry Out “Terrorist” Actions in Venezuela

Maduro Accuses US of Allowing CIA to Carry Out “Terrorist” Actions in Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that US President Donald Trump’s administration gave its approval to the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] to carry out recent “covert and terrorist operations” against an array of targets in the country.

“They have given the CIA the green light to come with direct agents to covert and terrorist operations against oil, electricity, military, electoral targets and other dirty covert actions like those used by the CIA,” he told state television in Spanish on Tuesday, speaking of the Trump administration. 

This comes amid a series of developments that followed the capture of an alleged US spy near Venezuela’s largest oil refinery earlier this month.

Following an investigation into the matter, the Venezuelan president claimed that the spy, who was arrested alongside three others in Falcon State, served as a communications operator at a CIA base in Iraq between 2006 and 2016.

Maduro also reiterated accusations against the US Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA], which he claims has been used by the White House to attack Venezuela and overthrow Caracas.

“It has placed the DEA as the operator agency of the attack against Venezuela, what is new today is not that the DEA is involved with the Colombian drug trafficking group to attack Venezuela, the new thing is that they have approved that the CIA get involved in operations terrorist attacks against Venezuela,” he stated on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, a group of 13 individuals were captured by Venezuelan security forces. Two of the 13 detainees were later identified as US citizens Luke Denman and Airan Barry.

A testimony published soon after showed a detainee claiming the group was made up of “intermediaries of the security chief of the USA president, they say they are from the security advisory of Donald Trump,” according to a translated tweet.

Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol claimed that one of the men was a DEA agent. However, the DEA has denied these allegations.

Maduro also warned on Tuesday that Colombian President Ivan Duque has been recruiting drug smugglers ahead of a planned attack on Venezuela.

“Ivan Duque is directly articulating the drug trafficking gangs and has placed the drug trafficking gangs of La Guajira and other places to prepare his group of hit men and terrorists to come and attack Venezuela in the coming weeks,” he claimed.

Maduro’s announcement of this anticipated attack comes a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new sanctions against the Venezuelan president, as well as against the Iranian Defense Ministry and other Iranian officials.

“For nearly two years, corrupt officials in Tehran had worked with the illegitimate regime in Venezuela to flout the UN arms embargo,” Pompeo said on Monday.

The Venezuelan president and 14 present and past government officials were previously indicted by the US Department of Justice on narcoterrorism charges.

The Trump administration has also offered a $15 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Maduro. Allies of the president, like Supreme Tribunal of Justice President Maikel Moreno, also had multi-million-dollar bounties placed on them by the US government.

Venezuela – A Tribute for Endless Pursuit of Democracy

Venezuela – A Tribute for Endless Pursuit of Democracy

September 19, 2020

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maduro: EU Demand to Delay Election in Venezuela ‘Impossible

Source

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has dismissed as “impossible” the EU’s suggestion to postpone the country’s December 6 election to meet the bloc’s conditions to dispatch an observer mission, blaming the idea on US pressure.

“It is impossible because there is a very clear constitutional mandate,” Maduro said Thursday in a nationally televised address. “We want to have a good relationship with the European Union, but Washington does not let them.”

Maduro has repeatedly maintained that the administration of hawkish US President Donald Trump is persistently plotting to topple his government in a coup to seize control of the oil-rich nation’s huge crude oil reserves.

Relations between Caracas and Washington have drastically deteriorated in recent years amid multiple efforts by the US government to impose sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company and other industries in its bid to destabilize the country.

Venezuela’s constitution requires a new poll every five years while US-backed opposition parties have vowed to boycott the election.

European and Latin American ministers in the International Contact Group (ICG) declared after their video conference on Thursday that conditions were not ripe to send observers to Venezuela’s parliamentary elections next December.

“ICG members concluded that conditions are not met, at the moment, for a transparent, inclusive, free and fair electoral process,” the group announced in a statement following the conference chaired by EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell.

The ICG groups European countries including Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy as well as a number of Latin American countries. Argentina is back in the group while Bolivia has left it.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza invited observers from the United Nations and the European Union, in letters addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Borrell early this month, to monitor the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country.

In the letters, Arreaza outlined “the broad electoral guarantees agreed for the upcoming parliamentary elections.”

Maduro pardoned over 100 legislators and associates of US-sponsored opposition figure Juan Guaido to promote national reconciliation ahead of the congressional elections in December.

Guaido pushed Venezuela into political turmoil by dismissing the results of the 2018 presidential election after Maduro won nearly 70 percent of the votes. The opposition figure declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January last year and later launched a US-backed abortive coup to oust Maduro’s elected government.

Source: Agecnies

Reasons why Iran backs Venezuela

Source

July 8, 2020 – 13:48

As two oil-producing countries under U.S. sanctions, Iran and Venezuela have been working in recent years to strengthen geopolitical ties to relieve U.S. pressure and find a solution to improve their economies.

A significant expansion in Iran-Venezuela relations would allow the presidents of both countries – Hassan Rouhani in Tehran and Nicolas Maduro in Caracas – to challenge the United States’ imperialist policies.

 This relationship will calm down sentiments of anti-American groups inside Iran and Venezuela and shows their strong ties and alliance as two members of the Non-Aligned Movement. 

Over the past weeks, Tehran has come to the aid of Caracas in various ways, sending fuel, refinery parts, and more recently humanitarian aid. Fuel delivery is a lifeline for the Maduro government. Venezuela has been suffering from a shortage of gasoline, basic foodstuffs, and medicine amid the economic crisis. 

American sanctions and pressure on the left-wing government in Venezuela have led to a sharp decline in public services and a spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Through supporting Maduro, Iran tries to turn Venezuela into a foothold to challenge U.S. hegemony and revive anti-imperialist policies in the world.

 Besides, Iran is working hard to increase its influence in Latin America, which has long been considered U.S. “backyard” and increase its access to various resources in the continent. 

“Iran flew out some $500 million in gold bullion as payment for services rendered,” according to a Bloomberg report. However, officials in Iran dismissed the report.

The gradual increase in U.S. sanctions against Caracas even pushed back Maduro’s loyal ally Russia. Pressure from Washington caused Rosneft, the Russian state-controlled oil firm, to cease operations in Venezuela in March and sell all of its assets in the country.

That’s why the Maduro government needs Iran’s collaboration to strengthen its hand against U.S. sanctions, as the country is grappling with harsh U.S. restrictions on its oil exports and international financial transactions.

 Iran is experiencing worse economic sanctions. This happened after the U.S. under the Trump presidency unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and returned the previous sanctions and imposed new ones.

Although Russia and China have continued to support Venezuela by sending humanitarian aid to the country to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts say Caracas no longer can request multibillion-dollar loans from its international allies as the country has pre-sold its oil for the coming year, which caused the price of this product to fall to its lowest level in history.

But, Tehran-Caracas relations made a fuss, when Western media focused on Iran’s flights to Venezuela in recent weeks; the flights which were reportedly carrying Iranian oil industry equipment and technology for unused Venezuelan refineries.

In mid-May, the news of five Iranian tankers carrying 1.5 million barrels of fuel to Venezuela dominated the headlines. The measure raised concerns if the U.S. Navy would stop the cargo.

It caused both Iranian and Venezuelan leaders to warn the U.S. about any wrong step which may threaten global peace and security.

Iranian oil tankers were eventually escorted into Venezuelan territorial waters by planes and ships from the Venezuelan armed forces to temporarily solve the country’s shortage of fuel.

This collaboration was described as a political victory over U.S. sanctions and bullying in the world.

With officials promising to ship more fuel and food from Tehran to Caracas, it seems that Iran is going to be the greatest help to the Venezuelan economy; It would be enough to turn up the heat on the United States and its allies, especially if Latin America’s political pendulum swings back to the radical left.

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

Source

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.

READ MORE

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/

US Attempts to Seize Four Iranian Tankers Headed to Venezuela

Source

US Attempts to Seize Four Iranian Tankers Headed to Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

US federal prosecutors are seeking to seize four tankers sailing towards Venezuela with gasoline supplied by Iran.

It is the latest attempt to disrupt ever-closer trade ties between the two heavily-sanctioned anti-US allies.

The Trump administration has been stepping up pressure on ship owners to abide by sanctions against US adversaries like Iran, Venezuela and North Korea, Al-Jazeera reported.

In May, Maduro celebrated the arrival of five Iranian tankers delivering much-needed fuel supplies to alleviate shortages that have led to days-long gas lines even in the capital, Caracas, which is normally spared such hardships.

The flotilla’s arrival angered the Trump administration, which struck back by sanctioning the five Iranian captains of the vessels.

The four tankers named in the complaint filed on Wednesday – the Bella, Bering, Pandi and Luna – are currently transporting 1.1 million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela, the report added.

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Maduro Orders EU Envoy to Leave Within 72 Hours Over New Sanctions

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Maduro Orders EU Envoy to Leave Within 72 Hours Over New Sanctions

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered EU envoy Isabel Brilhante Pedrosato to leave within 72 hours after the EU sanctioned a group of Venezuelan officials.

“I have decided to give the European Union ambassador 72 hours to leave the country,” Maduro said in a televised address, also noting that Pedrosato will be allowed to use a plane to leave the country.

“Enough of European colonialism against Venezuela,” Maduro added.

Maduro’s order comes hours after the Council of the European Union on Monday sanctioned 11 additional Venezuelan officials, including parliamentarians, a magistrate and a senior military chief, for acting against the National Assembly, which is dominated by the opposition, Reuters reported. The individuals sanctioned are recognized by the Maduro government but not by the members of the Assembly.

The sanctions include a travel ban and an asset freeze. So far, 36 Venezuelan officials linked to the Maduro government face sanctions.

According to the Council, the 11 newly-sanctioned individuals “are particularly responsible for acting against the democratic functioning of the National Assembly, including stripping the parliamentary immunity of several of its members,” Reuters reported. The Council also accused the individuals of “creating obstacles to a political and democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela.”

The United States itself has imposed numerous rounds of sanctions against Venezuela in response to the political developments in the country. On January 23, 2019, opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim president, denouncing Maduro’s government as undemocratic and calling for Maduro’s ouster. Since then, several failed attempts have been made to remove Maduro from power.

Last year, the US also imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil and natural gas company PDVSA. Recently, the Trump administration sanctioned three Mexico-based individuals for selling crude oil from Venezuela.

“The illegitimate Maduro regime created a secret network to evade sanctions, which Treasury has now exposed,” US Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich said in a statement at the time. “The United States will continue to relentlessly pursue sanctions evaders, who plunder Venezuela’s resources for personal gain at the expense of the Venezuelan people.”

Last Wednesday, Washington also imposed sanctions on the captains of five Iranian tankers over oil deliveries to Venezuela.

“Today, the United States is sanctioning five Iranian ship captains who delivered around 1.5 million barrels of Iranian gasoline to Venezuela in support of the illegitimate Maduro regime,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

Maduro has repeatedly stated that the US is using sanctions to choke out his government and gain access to the country’s oil reserves, which are the largest in the world.

“Let’s not allow a Vietnam in Latin America,” Maduro said last year, warning against the dangers of US intervention.”If the United States intends to intervene here, they will have a Vietnam worse than what they can imagine. Let’s not allow violence.”

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.

Maduro Thanks Iran for Sending Oil Tankers, Slams US for Disrupting Shipments

Maduro Thanks Iran for Sending Oil Tankers, Slams US for Disrupting Shipments

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro thanked the Islamic Republic of Iran for sending three oil tankers to the energy-hungry and sanction-hit nation while slamming the US for disrupting international fuel shipments headed to the Latin American country. 

During a speech held in Caracas, Maduro thanked Leader of Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, the people of Iran and the government of President Hassan Rouhani for “their availability, their solidarity, [and] their courage, which has allowed three ships to arrive to Venezuela with gasoline and supplies for the recovery of the refineries.”

He, however, criticized the US government for having persecuted for more than a year all the ships and imports of supplies to produce gasoline in Venezuela.

“[The US government] has persecuted for more than a year all the ships, all the imports of supplies to produce gasoline in Venezuela. All the ships which were bringing in gasoline,” Maduro said.

He then added that the situation reached its climax recently, in February and March, but stressed,” We have resisted with a plan, we have resisted for the fundamental services, but we have not been left alone in the resistance, we have gone to the battle on a counter-offensive to guarantee the people their supply of gasoline, and we are going to guarantee it.”

“Venezuela and the people of the world have the right to economic freedom, freedom of trade, to buy and sell everything we need in the world,” Maduro stressed.

Three Iranian oil-laden ships have so far reached Venezuelan shores, and two other ships are expected to arrive on May 27 and June 1, according to local sources.

Venezuela is facing difficulties with the supply of gasoline due to sanctions unilaterally imposed by the United States which has also slapped unilateral sanctions on Iran to end its oil exports.

The shipments have created a fresh diplomatic standoff between the US and Iran, with an American official saying Washington is considering measures in response without providing further details.

Cuban President: Iranian Tankers Break ‘Criminal’ US Blockade on Venezuela

Cuban President: Iranian Tankers Break ‘Criminal’ US Blockade on Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said that the Iranian oil tankers’ arrival in Venezuela broke the US “unacceptable and criminal” blockade against the country.

The official Cuban news agency Prensa Latina quoted Diaz-Canel as making the remarks on Monday.

Earlier, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro thanked Iranian support, stressing that Caracas and Tehran are both after peace, and have right to do free trade.

Iran’s second oil tanker, Forest, arrived in Venezuela amid the US threats.

Forest entered the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] of Venezuela early Sunday, met by the country’s navy.

It follows the first of five Iranian vessels carrying an estimated total of 1.53 barrels of gasoline between them, Sputnik reported.

The first vessel, ‘Fortune’, successfully reached Venezuela the day before and was escorted into the port by the Bolivarian Navy.

Three more oil tankers are expected to arrive in Venezuela from Iran. The five vessels are carrying an estimated 1.53 million barrels of gasoline between them.

Iran has warned of repercussions from the potential interception of Iranian tankers by the US.

On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country is always entitled to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and warned that if his country’s oil tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world get into trouble by the Americans, Tehran will definitely retaliate.

American Mercenaries Soiled Themselves In Failed Venezuela Coup (Ruslan Ostashko)

American Mercenaries Soiled Themselves In Failed Venezuela Coup (Ruslan Ostashko)

Translated by Sasha and subtitled by Leo.

For anybody wondering why there are two links, we are trying to get into the habit of posting videos on both YouTube and Dailymotion. Since the subtitle process is different on Dailymotion than on YouTube, it may take a while to perfect it.

Translated by Sasha and subtitled by Leo.

For anybody wondering why there are two links, we are trying to get into the habit of posting videos on both YouTube and Dailymotion. Since the subtitle process is different on Dailymotion than on YouTube, it may take a while to perfect it.

Over 1,200,000 infected, 70,000 dead by COVID-19, food shortage – the US has serious problems. But the democracy peddlers from Washington don’t have time for that. Instead of fighting the epidemic, the American elite keeps trying to establish marionette regimes in the countries where they can carve up natural resources, and they soiled themselves, as it happened again in Venezuela.

The less opportunity the US has to solve problems in their customary manner – by flooding it all with money, the more often they result in all sorts of embarrassments. For instance, the recent disgrace of the supposedly 5th generation aircraft F-35. This is the very case of whatever the amount of money you pour in it doesn’t help. Because the school of engineering has degraded and the real achievements have been replaced by imitation for the sake of redistribution of billions.

The American foreign policy is in a similar situation. Washington has always relied on force, and on a usual scheme of buying out parts of the local elites, so they would help to overthrow the unwanted government. Very recently this again yielded results in the South American Bolivia. Because the overthrown president Evo Morales behaved exceedingly vegetarian. But there is also Venezuela which for the US plays the role of a bone in their throat. Our [Russian] strategic bombers fly over there. Rosneft is working there. There also sits Nicolas Maduro, whom they attempted to overthrow by force a few times but to no avail. And now we have more public self-soiling.

RIA Novosti: “On 3 May, the Interior Minister Nestor Reverol announced that a naval invasion staged by Colombian militants from the direction of La Guiara in the north of the country was thwarted. According to him, the militants tried to invade the country on high speed boats. The Speaker of Venezuelan National Assembly Diosdado Cabello clarified that 8 attackers were killed and two captured.” “He also announced that one of the captured was an agent of the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Later Cabello informed that on Monday, the military and the police in the Northern Sate of Aragua captured another 8 participants of the Sunday naval invasion, including their leader Antonio Sikea.”

The mercenaries were recruited by the Americans among the former members of Venezuelan security forces, who had deserted earlier to the side of the so-called pro-Western opposition, while their American leader has rich experience of participation in conflicts unleashed by the US; from invasion of Iraq to operations in Libya and Syria. Is it then surprising that in Washington they immediately sang denial – the man wasn’t theirs and the US had nothing to do with it?

The American DEA denies that its operative was detained during an armed assault attempt in Venezuela, asclaimed by the country’s authorities.” “The Agency did not take any part in the events of the past weekend, stated the agency’s press service, having advised to also inquire in the State Department.”

The humor in the situation is such that the US media themselves already wrote about the US’ part in yet another attempt to overthrow Maduro.

Iron Curtain (Telegram account): “The Head of PMC ‘Silvercorp USA’ Jordan Goudreau claimed that on Sunday, 3 May he initiated the operation of overthrowing President Nicolas Maduro. However it failed. As The New York Times stated, the group was tasked with penetrating into Venezuela ‘with heavy weapons’, seizing the government buildings within 96 hours, and arresting of the country’s president Nicolas Maduro. The bet was made on ‘demoralization’ of the army, but the Venezuelans managed to defeat the mercenaries.”

It’s no matter whether the American was a DEA operative or had a different ‘roof’. It is clear that now, as he got caught, he is being retroactively removed from any US governmental structure and they will claim that it was his private initiative. Although, if the published information about his work in the White House Secret Service is correct, it is also clear that the operation was sanctioned by the highest ranks of the American state. And that the US has been trying to openly overthrow Maduro for two years is a generally recognised fact. The events demonstrate that the American capabilities for forcible influence over uncomfortable governments are withering away. And the American elites themselves contribute to it enormously while preparing for the autumn battle for the presidential post.

This is why it is not surprising that The New York Times quickly seized the topic of the failure in Venezuela. This will be presented as Donald Trump’s failure and he, in turn, will surely remind the Democrats their disgrace in Benghazi, where during Obama, the American nurtured terrorists killed US citizens. In general, they keep gnawing on each other in Washington. In the meantime, the star-stripped hegemony weakens month by month. And this is good, because the world will be able to breath more freely, when the democracy exporters will spend all their efforts on fighting each other inside their own state.

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

Will Trump really start *two* wars instead of “just” one?

May 20, 2020

Will Trump really start *two* wars instead of “just” one?

[Note: this article was written for the Unz Review]

Amidst the worldwide pandemic induced scare most of us have probably lost track of all the other potential dangers which still threaten international peace and stability.  Allow me to list just a few headlines which, I strongly believe, deserve much more attention than what they got so far.  Here we go:

  • Military Times: “5 Iran tankers sailing to Venezuela amid US pressure tactics
  • Time: “5 Iranian Tankers Head to Venezuela Amid Heightened Tensions Between U.S. and Tehran
  • FoxNews: “Iran tankers sailing to Venezuela in effort to undermine US sanctions

Notice that Military Times speaks of “US pressure tactics”, Time of “tensions” and FoxNews of “efforts to undermined US sanctions”?

I don’t think that this is a coincidence.  Folks in the US military are much more in touch with reality than the flag-waving prostitutes which some people call “reporters” or “journalists”.

Furthermore, the USA has embarked on a new policy to justify its acts of piracy on the high seas with something called Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) all under the pretext of the war on drugs.  To get a better understanding of the context of these developments I asked a specialist of Maritime issues of our community, NatSouth, who replied the following: (stress added)

If a ship does not comply with the request to be boarded, it is usual that the pursuing authorities must gain the permission of the ‘flag’ state prior to boarding, on the high seas and the pursuit has to have started in the coastal state’s jurisdictional waters. The caveat here is that in the Caribbean – Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement (CRA) – (long name: Agreement Concerning Co-operation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Air Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Area).  So, there is an agreement with participating coastal states on boardings and pursuits in EEZs and the like.  You can find more on the legal aspects of boardings at sea here  and more info on so-called “consensual boardings” here

The anti-drug/ counterterrorism angle allows the U.S. Navy and the USCG to carry out interdictions on the high seas. Important point to note whether this approach will be taken to interdict the tankers, given that Venezuela is a declared narco-State. The absurdity is that Venezuela isn’t the primary transit point in the region, Colombia holds that honour. https://orinocotribune.com/narco-state-the-report-that-leaves-venezuela-on-the-sidelines-of-the-cocaine-route/

Tweet threat

If I could add at this point, the origins are that Venezuela didn’t wish to play ball with Washington anymore, specifically with the DEA back in 2005, squaring the circle of sorts, (or should that be a vicious circle cunningly used by Washington, because who is going to argue with that narrative, aka the war on terror). March: SOUTHCOM’s Adm. Faller: “There will be an increase in US military presence in the hemisphere later this year. This will include an enhanced presence of ships, aircraft, & security forces to reassure our partners… & counter a range of threats to include illicit narco-terrorism.” At the same time, the State dept released this https://twitter.com/StateDept/status/1260988270302777350 so the US could effectively carry out boardings under the guise of counterterrorism as well.

While the Iranian tankers were in the Mediterranean, Washington released a (delayed) “Global Maritime Sanctions Advisory”, to the maritime industry, setting out guidelines to shipowners and insurers to enable them to avoid the risks of sanctions penalties related to North Korea, Syria and Iran. This also concerns oil exports from Iran, (but doesn’t apply to Iranian flagged ships).  This came after the State Dept gave warning notice to oil companies  to stop operations, including Rosneft (Russia), Reliance (India) and Repsol (Spain).

Then NatSouth concluded the following:

Under international law, every merchant ship must be registered with a flag state, which has jurisdiction over the vessel.  Hence, this time, the use of Iranian-flagged tankers, as a direct response from Washington’s latest version of restating “maximum pressure” campaign on enforcement of Iran and Venezuela sanctions, (back in Feb, literally the same language as in Aug 2019). There was talk back then of a naval embargo, which would a serious notch up in tensions. There was mention of the 4 U.S. warships in the Caribbean, the U.S. Navy tweeted about, but one the Preble went through the Panama Canal into the Pacific). https://twitter.com/USNavy/status/1261325507473391618

Pretty clear, isn’t it?

What the USA is doing is substituting itself for the United Nations and it is now openly claiming the right to board any vessel under whatever kind of pious pretext like, say, narco-trafficing, nuclear proliferation, sanctions against so-called “rogue states”, etc.   Clearly, the AngloZionists expect everybody to roll over and take it.

How likely is that?

Let’s look at a few Iranian headlines, all from PressTV:

  • PressTV, May 16th: “Iran’s fuel shipment to Venezuela guaranteed by its missile power
  • PressTV, May 17th: “US aware Iran will respond ‘very strongly’ if Venezuela-bound ships attacked: Analyst
  • PressTV, May 18th: “Iran: US bears responsibility for any foolish act against tankers heading to Venezuela

Three days in a row.  I think that it is fair to assume that the Iranians are trying very hard to convince Uncle Shmuel not to mess with these tankers.  Does anybody seriously believe that the Iranians are bluffing?

Before we look at some of the aspects of this potential crisis, let’s just mention a few things here.

First, the US is acting in total and official illegality.  Just like the bombing of Syria, the threats to Iran, or the US murderous sanctions Uncle Shmuel imposes left and right – the blockade of Venezuela is a) totally illegal and b) an act of war under international law.

Second, if USN commanders think they can operate with impunity only because the Caribbean is far away from Iran, they are kidding themselves.  Yes, Iranian forces cannot defend these tankers so far away from home, nor can they take any action against the USN in the Atlantic-Caribbean theater of naval operations.  But what they can and will do is retaliate against any AngloZionist target in the Middle-East, including any oil/gas tanker.

Third, while Venezuela’s military is tiny and weak compared to the immensely expensive and bloated US military, being immensely expensive and bloated is no guarantee of success.  In fact, and depending on how the Venezuelan leadership perceives its options, there could be some very real risk for the USA in any attempt to interfere with the free passage of these ships.

What do I mean by that?

Did you know that Venezuela had four squadrons of Su-30MKV for a total of 22 aircraft?  Did you know that Venezuela also had an unknown number of Kh-31A supersonic anti-shipping missiles?  And did you know that Venezuela had a number of S-300VM and 9K317M2 Buk-M2E long range and medium range SAMs?

True, that is nowhere near the amount of weapons systems Venezuela would need to withstand a determined US attack, but it is more than enough to create some real headaches for US planners.  Do you remember what the Argentinian Air Force did to the British Navy during the Malvinas war?  Not only did the Argentinians sink two Type 42 guided missile destroyers (the HMS Sheffield and the HMS Coventry) which were providing long-range radar and medium-high altitude missile picket for the British carriers, they also destroyed 2 frigates, 1 landing ship, 1 landing craft, 1 container ship.  Frankly, considering how poorly defended the British carriers were, it is only luck which saved them from destruction (that, and the lack of sufficient number of Super Étendard strike aircraft and Exocet missiles).  I would add here that the British military, having been defeated on many occasions, has learned the painful lessons of their past defeats and does not suffer from the cocky-sure attitude of the US military.  As a result, they were very careful during the war against Argentina and that caution was one of the factors which gave a Britain well-deserved the victory (I mean that in military terms only; in moral terms this was just another imperialist war with all the evil that entails).  Had the Argentinians had a modern air force and enough anti-shipping missiles, the war could have taken a very different turn.

Returning to the topic of Venezuela, war is a much more complex phenomenon than just a struggle of military forces.  In fact, I strongly believe that political factors will remain the single most important determinant factor of most wars, even in the 21st century.  And chances are that the Venezuelans, being the militarily weaker side, will look to political factors to prevail.  Here is one possible scenario among many other possible ones:

Caracas decides that the US seizing/attacking the Iranian tankers constitutes an existential threat to Venezuela because if that action goes unchallenged, then the US will totally “strangle” Venezuela.  Of course, the Venezuelan military cannot take on the immense US military, but what they could do is force a US intervention, say by attacking one/several USN vessel(s).  Such an attack, if even only partially successful, would force the US to retaliate, bringing US forces closer not only to Venezuelan air defenses, but also closer to the Venezuelan people which will see any US retaliation as an illegitimate counter-counter-attack following the fully legitimate Venezuelan counter-attack.

Then there is the problem of defining victory.  In the US political “culture” winning is usually defined as pressing a few buttons to fire off some standoff weapons, kill lots of civilians, and then declare that the “indispensable nation” has “kicked the other guy’s ass”.  The problem with that is the following one: if they other guy is very visibly weaker and has no chance for a military victory of his own, then the best option for him is to declare that “surviving is winning” – meaning that if Maduro stays in power, then Venezuela has won.  How would the USA cope with that kind of narrative?  Keep in mind that Caracas is a city of over two million people which even in peacetime is rather dangerous (courtesy of both regular crime and potential guerilla activities).  Yet, for Maduro to “win” all he has to show is that he controls Caracas.  Keep in mind that even if the US forces succeed in creating some kind of “zone of real democracy” somewhere near the Colombian border, that will mean nothing to Maduro, especially considering the terrain between the border and the capital city (please check out this very high resolution map of Venezuela or this medium resolution one).  As for the notion of a USN landing on the shores of Venezuela, all we need to do is to remember how the immense Hodgepodge of units which were tasked with invading Grenada (including 2 Ranger Battalions, Navy Seals, most of an Airborne Division, etc. for a total of over 7,000 soldiers(!) against a tiny nation which never expected to be invaded (for details, and a good laugh, see here for a full list of participating US forces!) was defeated by the waves of the Caribbean and the few Cuban military engineers who resisted with small-arms fire (eventually, most of the 82AB was calling in to fix this mess).

In other words, if Maduro remains in power in Caracas then, in political terms, Venezuela wins even though it would loose in purely military terms.

This phenomenon is hardly something new, as shown by the following famous quote by Ho Chi Minh: “You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and I will win.”

By the way, this is exactly the same problem the Empire faces with Iran: as long as the Islamic Republic remains an Islamic Republic it “wins” in any exchange of strikes with the USA and/or Israel.

Still, it is pretty obvious that the US can turn much of Venezuela into a smoking heap of ruins.  That is true (just like what the USA did to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Serbia and Israel what did to Lebanon in 2006).  But that would hardly constitute a “victory” in any imaginable sense of the word.  Again, in theory, the US might be able to secure a number of landing locations and then send in an intervention force which could try to take key locations in Caracas.  But what would happen after that?  Not only would the hardcore Chavistas trigger a guerilla insurrection which would be impossible to crush (when is the last time the USA prevailed in a counter-insurgency war?), but many Venezuelans would expect the US to pay for reconstruction (and they would be right, according to the rules of international law, “once you take it, you own it” meaning that the USA would become responsible for the socio-economic situation of the country).  Finally, there is always the option of an anti-leadership “decapitating” strike of some kind.  I believe that in purely military terms, the US has the know-how and resources to accomplish this.  I do not believe that this option would secure anything for the USA, instead – it would further destabilize the situation and would trigger some kind of reaction by the Venezuelan military both outside and inside Venezuela.  If anything, the repeated failures of the various coup attempts against Chavez and Maduro prove that the the bulk of the military remains firmly behind the Chavistas (and the failed coup only served to unmask the traitors and replace them anyway!).

The bottom line is this: if Uncle Shmuel decides to seize/attack the Iranian tankers, there is not only a quasi certitude of a war between the US and Iran (or, at the very least, an exchange of strikes), but there is also a non-trivial possibility that Maduro and his government might actually decide to provoke the USA into a war they really can’t win.

Is Trump capable of starting a process which will result in not one, but two wars?

You betcha he is!  A guy who thinks in categories like “my button is bigger than yours” or “super-dooper weapons” obviously understands exactly *nothing* about warfare, while the climate of messianic narcissism prevailing among the US ruling classes gives them a sense of total impunity.

Let’s hope that cooler heads, possibly in the military, will prevail.  The last thing the world needs today is another needless war of choice, never mind two more.

The Saker

The Americans are Weaponizing the Coronavirus Through Sanctions

The Americans are Weaponizing the Coronavirus Through Sanctions

By Darko Lazar

Hollywood actor and filmmaker Mel Gibson was once asked why he likes having Brits as the villains in his movies. He replied: “I wanted to give the Germans a break.”

Although amusing, that sort of sentiment is unlikely to translate into policy when it comes to Washington’s modern-day foes. The Americans don’t give breaks to nations they haven’t conquered.

The onslaught of the coronavirus offered a unique opportunity for the US to test out new approaches towards countries that have been treated as enemies for generations. But Washington chose to double down on cruel and self-defeating strategies.

Unable to stave off mass suffering at home, the dysfunctional American government went to great lengths to weaponize the virus, fueling the incendiary spread of the disease in ‘rogue states’.

And while the mainstream media is eager to magnify Donald Trump’s profoundly stupid comments about injecting disinfectants, they haven’t covered the consequences of his foreign policy decisions with nearly as much fervor.

Blocking recourses needed to combat the pandemic

At the height of the pandemic in late March, the White House quietly cut tens of millions in dollars in funding for health care programs in Yemen.

The move left considerable funding gaps for dozens of UN programs in the war-torn country that were focused on supplying Yemenis with hand soap, medication and staffing clinics.

American officials justified the move by obliterating logic and claiming that it was a response to ‘interference’ from Yemen’s Ansarullah movement. 

Already characterized as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the war in Yemen has killed tens of thousands since 2015. Many of those that perished have succumbed to curable diseases.

That’s because the US-backed Saudi war effort in Yemen consists of a blockade, sanctions, and the frequent bombing of health facilities. These punishing tactics also spawned the deadliest cholera epidemic in modern history, serving as a tragic precursor to the potential impact of the coronavirus.

Washington’s ambition to use the coronavirus in order to cripple defiant nations is equally evident when it comes to Iran.

Even before the start of the pandemic, the Islamic Republic was already the most heavily sanctioned country in history. Several weeks into the coronavirus crisis, Iran was recording one death from COVID-19 every ten minutes.

The Trump administration responded to the suffering of the Iranian people by imposing a new set of sanctions, which targeted companies that build and maintain Shia holy sites. In the days that followed, Washington blocked an Iranian request for a USD 5 billion emergency loan from the IMF, which was earmarked for combating the pandemic.

Similarly, in Venezuela, where years of American sanctions have crippled the public health care system, the White House offered to ease the embargo if President Nicolas Maduro steps down.

Washington also felt that a raging pandemic was the right time to indict Maduro on a bizarre set of drug trafficking charges and offer USD 15 million to anyone who delivers him to the US.

The Americans dished out another million dollars to pay for surgical masks for “Israeli” troops patrolling occupied Palestinian territories.

In this corner of the Middle East, another US-backed campaign to blockade the Gaza Strip left Palestinian health officials pleading for more ventilators and beds for intensive care units.

The “Israeli”-enforced blockade on the Palestinian enclave, which dates back to 2007, continues to severely limit the entry of medical supplies, food, and even drinking water.

Although the coronavirus pandemic brought these unconscionably dangerous and cruel practices to the forefront, the devastating impact of American sanctions and economic blockades unfolds largely out of sight. Ignored by the mainstream media, these measures go both unnoticed and unchallenged.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, only a small percentage of the public actually realizes that the sanctions regimes are Washington’s most pervasive and brutal form of modern warfare. The effects are far more deadly than bombs.

Destroying nations

By cutting off the possibility of a productive life and stunting the growth of millions of young people, sanctions wreck societies one household at a time.

There is never any real expiry date, and the gradual torment that slowly destroys entire generations doesn’t cost nearly as much as an actual military campaign.

Meanwhile, it rolls back decades of progress in industrial development, essential infrastructure, and, of course, healthcare services.

The coronavirus pandemic is only the latest reminder that American sanctions are effectively designed to target the elderly, the sick, and the most vulnerable segments of society.

These are not peaceful instruments that act as a substitute for diplomacy. They are tools of war used to punish all nations that refuse to submit to America’s will.

In 2000, the then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked if she thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children due to sanctions was a price worth paying. Albright replied: “We think the price is worth it.”

Between the coronavirus pandemic and one-liners from ghoulish creatures like Albright, you may be forgiven for thinking that you are living in a Hollywood blockbuster. But if you were hoping to catch a break like the Germans in Mel Gibson’s movies, your rosy optimism will inevitably collide with a reality stage-managed by the US government that is a lot less compassionate.

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.

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Venezuela: A Failed US Invasion in the Midst of a Pandemic

By Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

Global Research, May 08, 2020

In the midst of a massive global pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of people and wrecked economies all over the world leaving millions jobless, some terrorists and mercenaries allegedly backed by certain governments had on 3rd May 2020 attempted to invade the independent, sovereign state of Venezuela. Organised and trained in neighbouring Colombia, they had landed on the coast of Macuto close to the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. The invasion was foiled by the Venezuelan military and police with the support of the people. Several of the invaders were killed and a couple captured. The captured, both Americans, confessed on Venezuelan TV, that their aim was not only the overthrow of the legally constituted government but also the assassination of the president, Nicolas Maduro. Though the invasion has been thwarted, the captured Americans made it clear that the ouster of the Maduro government was an on-going operation.

It will be recalled that a year ago, in 2019, there was a coup attempt led by an opposition political leader which failed miserably. In April 2002, a coup against the then president, the late Hugo Chavez succeeded momentarily but the people through mass mobilisation restored Chavez to his seat of power. It was the most dramatic expression of genuine ‘people power’.

Coups against leaders who are determined to preserve the independence of their nation and defend the sovereignty of their people orchestrated and engineered by the Deep State in the United States often with the connivance of their allies in the region is the sad saga of Latin American politics. A number of governments have been subjected to this manipulation over the decades. One of the most infamous was the ouster of president Salvador Allende of Chile on the 11th of September 1973. The most recent was the overthrow of the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales in November 2019. There is no need to repeat that the Cuban revolutionary, Fidel Castro, was the target of numerous such attempts during his long stewardship all of which failed spectacularly.

Venezuela: A Threat to US National Security? An Absurd Political Pronouncement

Cuba, like Venezuela, is also the victim of all-encompassing economic sanctions initiated and imposed by the US. As a result, both economies and the people have suffered immensely. It is remarkable that in spite of the sanctions, both Cuba and Venezuela have managed to protect their people in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed they have done a million times better than the nation that has punished them with sanctions which incidentally has the highest number of fatalities and infections in the world. Cuba has not only maintained a low number on both scores but has also extended generous medical assistance by way of medical personnel and equipment to numerous countries including those in Europe to enable  them to fight the pandemic. In the case of Venezuela it is important to observe that as of 4th May it had only 10 deaths and 357 infections. Apart from help from Cuba, Venezuela has also benefitted from the supply of equipment and the cooperation of medical personnel from China and Russia.

The success of this cooperation is one of the factors that has emboldened president Maduro to propose at the recent virtual Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) chaired by the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, that NAM help to organise the distribution of medical equipment and medicines among its member states. NAM he suggested could even set up an international humanitarian fund for this purpose — an idea first mooted by Chavez years ago. A humanitarian fund whose primary goal would be financing not only the purchase of medicines and equipment especially for NAM’s poorer members but also sponsoring doctors and nurses  if the need arises.

When NAM is directly involved in a concrete programme of this sort in an emergency situation, it would have a tangible role. The citizens of NAM would be able to identify with the movement. The Venezuelan proposal should be pursued until it becomes a reality. It is actual manifestations of cooperation that will bring people together in the post coronavirus era and establish the basis for a new just and compassionate global civilisation.

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Dr Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST). 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 © Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, Global Research, 2020

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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