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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SECOND “TERRORIST INFILTRATION” FOILED BY VENEZUELAN AUTHORITIES IN AS MANY DAYS

South Front

Second "Terrorist Infiltration" Foiled By Venezuelan Authorities In As Many Days

On May 4th, the Venezuelan authorities foiled a second “terrorist infiltration” attempt, capturing 8 suspects.

Local fishermen detected the armed incursion and alerted the Venezuelan armed forces.

According to Aragua’s Governor Rodolfo Marco, through local intelligence units and the joint civic-military unity the apprehension of these perpetrators was made possible.

The Venezuelan authorities reported that the eight “terrorists” were arrested inside the town of Chuao in the Aragua state; they were armed and attempting to infiltrate to cause harm to the South American nation.

“We continue in Popular Victory, how great we are! #BolivarianFury operation is proving its efficiency. Mercenaries who step on our homeland’s soil will be exposed to the people’s dignity,” the President Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello said shortly after the apprehension of the suspects.

Madelein Garcia@madeleintlSUR

1. Este es uno de los 2 gringos detenidos en #Chuao, el hijo de Baduel confirmó que trabajan para la seguridad de @realDonaldTrump. Esta historia pica y se extiende

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1:02 AM – May 5, 2020

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“This is one of the two U.S. nationals captured in Chuao, Baduel’s son confirmed that they work for the security of Donald Trump.”

Second "Terrorist Infiltration" Foiled By Venezuelan Authorities In As Many Days

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Second "Terrorist Infiltration" Foiled By Venezuelan Authorities In As Many Days

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Among the detained is Antonio Jose Sequea, who was photographed on April 30th, 2019, alongside Leopoldo Lopez during the failed coup attempt in Caracas.

Also, Adolfo Baduel, son of retired general Raul Baduel former Defense Minister to Hugo Chavez; and two alleged and currently named U.S. citizens.

This is the second alleged plot foiled in two days. On May 3rd, the Venezuelan authorities reportedly killed nine mercenaries and detained two others, who were part of what they called “Operation Gideon”.

They also seized 10 rifles, a Glock 9mm pistol, two AFAG machine guns that were part of the Federal Legislative Palace’s weapons park stolen by seditious groups in the April 2019 coup attempt.

 Allegedly, the entire plot was orchestrated by a former US special forces operative – Jordan Goudreau.

teleSUR English@telesurenglish

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#LIVE | Venezuelan President @NicolasMaduro speaks to his nation: “It’s very strange that the U.S. government hasn’t issued any statement, 48 hs after of the starting of the attempted terrorist incursion in Venezuelan coasts. They always have something to say on events like this”

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teleSUR English@telesurenglish

#LIVE |@NicolasMaduro: “Venezuelan opposition is so decomposed that they are privatizing the complot now, hiring a terrorist mercenary and then letting him down. But this person called Jordan Goudreau, ex-U.S. soldier, has proven there is a contract signed between him and Guaido”

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5:43 AM – May 5, 2020

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There is a video of Goudreau speaking on the matter:

Patricia Poleo@PattyPoleo

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According to Goudreau, his plan had been coordinated with Guaido who signed a contract on Oct. 16, 2019, for US$212 million. Miami-based opposition Venezuelan journalist Patricia Poleo published the document Sunday evening, which she purported to be a copy of the original contract. 

Poleo interviewed Goudreau, who asserted that Silvercorp was hired to provide services, including “strategic planning,” “equipment procuring” and “project execution advisement,” by none other than Guaido, who despite the evidence has denied it.

Also, several audio recordings of an alleged conference call between Guiado, Goudreau, and senior Guaido envoy Sergio Vergara, in which they agreed to sign the contract were released. Now he has gone public arguing he only got US$50,000 through political consultant Juan Jose Rendon and the opposition kept promising to get him the rest but didn’t deliver.

The presumed “Operation Gedeon” is a thorough conspiracy, with Venezuelan media even providing an infographic:

Second "Terrorist Infiltration" Foiled By Venezuelan Authorities In As Many Days

On May 3rd, after the first attack was stopped Silvercorp’s account tweeted “strikeforce incursion into Venezuela. 60 Venezuelan, 2 American ex-Green Beret.” Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said the government has evidence linking the attacks to the U.S. and Colombia.

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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.”

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

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

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

Adolf Trump Goes for Venezuela. A Jump into Nothingness?

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Adolf Trump Goes for Venezuela. A Jump into Nothingness?

Source: Solidaria, translation Resumen LatinoamericanoNorth America bureau

In the midst of a desolate scenario, when the United States has become the country with the highest number those infected by the corona virus, President Donald Trump and his team of serial criminals like Elliott Abrams, Cuban-American Mauricio Claver-Carone, Marco Rubio and others, announced that their country and 22 other nations would launch a far-reaching operation against drug trafficking in the Western Hemisphere, deploying naval and air force military reinforcements in the Caribbean Sea and the South Pacific.

From Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro denounced this situation to the world, in an extraordinary letter to the governments while the majority of the countries of the world and even the United Nations are requesting that the United States lift the sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and other countries, in view of the very serious emergency of a pandemic of this magnitude.

So far there has been no positive response and the most serious thing is that the threatening military maneuver is not stopping and in the last hours journalists and humanitarian agencies in Colombia have been denouncing the presence of US troops in their country where there is 9 US military bases.

Holman Morris, director of Colombia’s channel three, warned this weekend that U.S. troops and helicopters have arrived at the Colombian-Venezuelan border in the Santander area, posing a scenario of invasion and war at a time when United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an “immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world” warning of what any act of war could mean for the most vulnerable and war-torn countries where there has been a collapse in health systems, while COVID 19 is claiming thousands of lives daily.

Three Million Homes Delivered by Maduro’s Social Program in Venezuela

December 28, 2019

Arabi Souri

The Venezuelan Social Program launched in 2011 by late President Hugo Chavez and continued by Nicolas Maduro has achieved its 2019 goal by delivering 3 million units.

President Maduro announced in a tweet:

Nicolás Maduro@NicolasMaduro

¡Hermoso Momento! Hoy #26Dic cumplimos con la meta fijada por nuestro Comandante Chávez: construir 3 millones de viviendas para la alegría y la felicidad del pueblo venezolano. Bendito sea el día en que nació la #GMVV que va rumbo a las 5 millones de viviendas y mucho más.

“What a beautiful moment! On Dec. 26 we met the goal set by our Commander Chavez: to build 3 million dwellings for the joy and happiness of the Venezuelan people. Blessed is the day the Venezuelan Great Housing Mission (GMVV) was born, which aims to deliver 5 million homes and much more.”

Besides the oil reserves, Venezuela has that makes the US interested in exporting its ‘export version of democracy’, the social policies of this country are what makes the junta in the decision making positions of the USA and their puppet politicians mad. And now they have a real estate developer to manipulate in the White House.

The 2020 goal of the Venezuelan social program is to deliver an additional 500,000 units and by 2025 to complete 5 million units. Meanwhile, the US-installed fake president puppet Guido is pushing for the privatization of the state’s assets, in other words, to sell the properties of the Venezuelan people cheap to the same ever greedy junta in control of the West.

Imagine the country under the severe blockade and sanctions by the US and its stooges is building for its people affordable housing, what is the excuse for the super-rich and superpower countries not to do so? Ask your politicians.

Syria is another example, I’ve shared here a couple of times updates on the affordable housing program by the Syrian government, even under the vicious war of terror waged by the US and stooges all over the country, the Syrian Housing Program built 40,000 units during the war!

Syrian Housing Ministry Built 40,000 Apartments During the War

Housing is a basic human need for every human being, and it comes immediately after foodhealthsecurity, and electrical power and these are the main sectors the US and its stooges target in their economic and cross-border terrorism and wars. They’re helped in these wars by the corrupt officials in neighboring countries who fail to deliver the basics to their people.

El informe en español:

El Programa Social Venezolano lanzado en 2011 por el fallecido presidente Hugo Chávez y continuado por Nicolás Maduro ha logrado su objetivo para 2019 al entregar 3 millones de unidades.

Además de las reservas de petróleo, Venezuela tiene que hace que los Estados Unidos estén interesados ​​en exportar su “versión de exportación de la democracia”, las políticas sociales de este país son lo que enloquece a la junta en la toma de decisiones de los Estados Unidos y sus políticos títeres. Y ahora tienen un desarrollador de bienes raíces para manipular en la Casa Blanca.

El objetivo para 2020 del programa social venezolano es entregar 500,000 unidades adicionales y para 2025 completar 5 millones de unidades. Mientras tanto, el falso presidente títere instalado por Estados Unidos, Guido, está presionando para la privatización de los activos del estado, en otras palabras, para vender las propiedades del pueblo venezolano a bajo precio a la misma junta codiciosa que controla Occidente.

Imagínese que el país bajo el severo bloqueo y las sanciones de los EE. UU. Y sus secuaces está construyendo viviendas asequibles para su pueblo, ¿cuál es la excusa para que los países súper ricos y superpotencias no lo hagan? Pregúntale a tus políticos.
 
Siria es otro ejemplo, he compartido aquí un par de actualizaciones sobre el programa de vivienda asequible del gobierno sirio, incluso bajo la cruel guerra de terror librada por los EE. UU. Y los títeres en todo el país, el Programa de Vivienda Sirio construyó 40,000 unidades ¡durante la guerra!

La vivienda es una necesidad humana básica para todos los seres humanos, y viene inmediatamente después de la alimentación, la salud, la seguridad y la energía eléctrica, y estos son los principales sectores a los que se dirigen los EE. UU. Y sus secuaces en su terrorismo y guerras económicas y transfronterizas. Son ayudados en estas guerras por los funcionarios corruptos en los países vecinos que no pueden entregar lo básico a su pueblo.

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?

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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 Offers to Pay Companies in Yuan as Workaround to US Sanctions – Report

 A sculpture is seen outside a building of Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA in Caracas, Venezuela June 14, 2016

Hyperinflation and severe pressure from the United States have complicated the use of bolivars and dollars for the Venezuelan government and affiliated entities.

Venezuela’s authorities and the state-run oil and gas giant, PDVSA, are considering paying to suppliers and contracts using the Chinese currency, Reuters reports, citing government officials and sources from private companies.

The Caracas government is said to have offered at least four companies working with the public sector the chance to make transactions in yuan to their accounts in China.

The companies that have been approached are not identified, but are understood to be looking into the proposals.

Venezuelan authorities have normally paid private entities in the local currency, the bolivar, or in US dollars. However, the bolivar has lost over 99 percent of its value in the past years, while increasingly severe US sanctions have effectively cut Nicolas Maduro’s administration from the American financial system.

Those sanctions, imposed on the Venezuelan government, the central bank and PDVSA, were aimed to force Maduro out of power, but he has proved resilient to US pressure.

According to Reuters, PDVSA and the central bank have long had accounts in China; the latter, for instance, is said to have at least $700 million there due to lucrative oil shipments.

“Paying suppliers in yuan would allow Venezuela to take advantage of the funds it has available in China, without touching the US financial system,” the report says. “However, two of the sources said the process of opening accounts at Chinese banks was proving complicated.”

Speculation emerged over the summer that Venezuelan public entities, including PDSVA and the Social Security Institute, which supervises all social insurance programmes, have started paying suppliers and contractors in euros.

The central bank, meanwhile, was also reported to have started receiving euros in cash this year for the sale of some of its gold reserves.

RESIGNATION OF BOLIVIA’S EVO MORALES WAS NO VICTORY FOR DEMOCRACY, BUT A US-SPONSORED COUP

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Nov 11, 2019, RT.com
by Eva K Bartlett

Evo Morales, an indigenous leader who bucked the IMF and condemned US imperialism, has been pressured by the military to resign after winning an election. Yet Washington calls this blatant coup in Bolivia a victory for democracy?

Morales was re-elected as Bolivia’s president on October 20. The coup-backing Organization of American States (OAS) wasn’t pleased and went ahead interfering in a sovereign nation – as the US itself does so well – issuing a report that the vote result wasn’t satisfactory to their desires.The heavy funding from the US surely has no influence on OAS policies…

In any case, on November 10, President Morales first announced a new election. Later that day, he announced his resignation, naming as reason the recent brutality of Bolivia’s right-wing opposition, including “kidnapping and mistreating” families of indigenous leaders and burning down the homes of public officials.

I resign from my position as president so that (Carlos) Mesa and (Luis Fernando) Camacho do not continue to persecute socialist leaders.

Morales was clear that his move was solely due to the violence incited opposition leaders. However, it soon became clear that this was a coup, not a resignation.
Former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff tweeted her solidarity with the “legitimate president of Bolivia [Evo Morales] who was deposed by a military coup, had his house raided by the police and suffered an illegal arrest warrant. A very serious attack on democracy in Latin America and violence against the Bolivian people.”

Another Brazilian ex-president, Lula, likewise declared the “stepping down” a coup. And even before the events of November 10, Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner foresaw there would be pressure to force Morales out of office, as did Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro.

art 3d last

As most readers know, this is not the first US-backed coup in Latin America. Washington’s history of meddling in sovereign nations stretching back many decades. But let’s look at how Bolivia changed under Morales’ leadership.
Poverty, unemployment and illiteracy all decreased significantly under Morales. In fact, according to a report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), Bolivia’s was the “fastest-growing” economy in South America, having “basically been stagnant for a quarter century prior to Morales becoming president in 2006.” To do so, however, “the Bolivian government ended 20 years of IMF agreements in 2006,” the same CEPR report notes. Furthermore, expelling US military bases, threatening to close the US embassy in Bolivia, and nationalizing the oil and gas industries haven’t done much to put him in the good graces of ‘democracy-bringers’.

art 2nd last

After all, with America’s lust to ‘democratize’ the world and steal precious resources in the process, nationalizing a country’s goods really mucks up Washington’s dirty plans. It doesn’t help that Bolivia has $2.3 billion worth of contracts to develop its lithium deposits with China, not the US.

Who benefits from Bolivia losing Morales as president? Not the Bolivian people, that’s for certain. In fact, some predict Bolivia’s future could be very dire under the rule of a US puppet.

art last

“My sin is being a union leader, indigenous. We are giving up so that my brothers do not continue to be kicked,” Morales said, when submitting his forced resignation.

This statement poignantly demonstrates the racism and utter lack of concern by the US for the people of Bolivia. Concerned citizens around the world are holding rallies in solidarity with Bolivia’s elected President and against yet another US-backed coup of a sovereign nation.

“He is now in hiding with his Indigenous Nation, and the death squads have issued an arrest warrant for him,” analyst Laith Marouf noted.

“Know now that if they kill him claiming he resisted arrest, or that he committed suicide; that it was an assassination in the land that saw the assassination of Che Guevara.”

As events unfold in Bolivia, it’s important to keep in mind the possible frightening outcomes. Anything is possible when US imperial interests are at stake.

A few short comments about the Fascist coup in Bolivia

November 12, 2019

Source

These are the folks who just came to power:

They are all members of some kind of Fascist “Christian” cult.

This is what these folks did with those who dare oppose them:

Trump loves this.  He called it a

significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere” and then he proceeded to threaten two more Latin American states by saying “these events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail. We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere”.

Old Uncle Shmuel is still hard at work

In fact, he has a very good point.  What this latest coup signals to all patriotic Latin Americans who want to see their continent free from US oppression is this: if you want to openly defy the diktats of the Empire, make absolutely sure the commanders of your armed forces are loyal to you.  Furthermore, you should never forget that the most powerful weapon of the Empire is not its bloated and mostly clueless military force, but its ability to use corruption to obtain by the printing press what they cannot seize by brute force.

So far, Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua have been successful in their resistance against Uncle Shmuel.  Likewise, there seems to be an internal (and covert) “hidden patriotic opposition” inside the Brazilian military (at least according to my Brazilian contacts) which might limit the damage done by the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and the coup against Lula da Silva (for example, the Brazilian military has declared that they will not allow Brazil or Brazilian forces to be used in an attack against Venezuela).

Finally, the absolutely shameful behavior of many Latin American countries whose comprador elites are trying to catch up with Poland as the most abjectly subservient voluntary slaves of the Empire.  These countries all know that both Maduro in Venezuela or Morales in Bolivia were honestly elected and that all the rumors about a stolen election are nothing more than crude lies.  In sharp contrast, the so-called “US allies” in the region are all spineless prostitutes who are in power solely because of the support of the AngloZionist Empire.

In 1971 an Uruguayan journalist named Eduardo Galeano wrote a seminal book entitled “Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina” which was eventually translated into English under the title “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent“.  This extremely famous book (at least in Latin America) is as actual in 2019 as it was almost half a century ago: the veins of Latin America are still bleeding and the folks doing the bloodletting have not changed one bit.

The only good news so far is that the US-backed regimes in Latin America are all facing various levels of protests and dissatisfaction which might lead to popular protests which could eventually remove the comprador elites once again, but this time around the leaders of the resistance need to truly understand that winning a popular vote is simply not enough: every time a truly patriotic regime comes to power, the US eventually is successful in using its agents in the ruling classes in general and especially in the armed forces to overthrow the popularly elected leaders.

Hugo Chavez made many mistakes, but that he got right, and that is why the US has not been able, at least so far, to trigger a color revolution in Venezuela.  Well, they tried and failed.  As for Cuba, it has resisted the combined might of the US Empire for many decades, so they also know something crucial.

Over the past decades the “front lines” between sovereign and free Latin American countries and US puppets has moved many times, and both sides felt at times victorious and at times despondent.

And yes, the coup against Morales is a HUGE blow to the resistance to the Empire.  The man was much more than just a leftist patriot, he was a moral symbol of hope for the entire continent.  Now that he is gone, a lot of Latin Americans will be as disgusted and sad as I am today.

I take some solace in Mexico’s decision to give Morales political asylum. I don’t know enough about Mexico to speculate on the motives of the Mexican President, but now that Morales is safe he can always relocate to another country if needed.

Should Morales ever come back to power, his first priority ought to be a profound purge of the military and the replacement of “School of the Americas” types with real patriots.  Doing this will not be a sufficient condition for success, but it will be a required one nonetheless.

The Saker

The Return of The Condor

The Return of The Condor

By Darko Lazar

The wave of Color Revolutions sweeping the globe in recent years claimed its latest victim on Sunday. Bolivia’s Evo Morales, who was unwilling to subordinate his nation’s sovereign rights to US interests, was removed from office.

Numerous foreign officials – from the UK’s opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro – described Morales’ departure as a coup d’etat.

The charge is not at all surprising. Morales, Bolivia’ s first indigenous president, was reelected three times since taking office in January 2006.

The consecutive electoral victories made him Latin America’s longest-serving democratic leader.

During his time in office, Bolivia enjoyed an unprecedented level of political and social stability, recording an economic growth rate of between 4% and 6%.

But following the latest elections in October, the opposition and regional US vassals began screaming bloody murder.

Amid allegations of fraud, the Washington-based Organization of American States [OAS] was mandated to carry out an audit of the election results.

Claiming irregularities, the OAS recommended that Bolivia hold fresh elections. Morales agreed, but just hours later, Bolivian military chiefs stepped into the fray and ‘asked’ the incumbent to resign.

Faced with a violent onslaught against his supporters in a country with an unstable ethno-political makeup, Morales put the wellbeing of the Bolivian people before his desire to remain in power and stepped down.

However, his resignation has not extinguished the possibility of further unrest. Bolivia remains vulnerable to a high risk of violence, as gangs roam capital La Paz to attack businesses and set property ablaze.

To what extent the situation escalates will depend largely on how far the victors of the revolution are willing to go in persecuting Morales supporters. And despite the mainstream narrative, there is no shortage of Bolivians who still see the former president as a champion of the poor, who ushered in a period of steady economic growth.

Meanwhile, in Washington, smothering that kind of sentiment is exactly what is required.

For those roaming the US halls of power, the departure of Morales brings them “one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere.”

With those words, President Donald Trump once again invoked the so-called Monroe Doctrine.

Swimming against the tide

Evo Morales was the last survivor of the ‘Pink Tide’, which ushered in left-wing governments across Latin America two decades ago, starting with the consecutive elections of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Lula da Silva in Brazil.

Among one of the main driving forces behind the rise of these progressive leaders is the very powerful anti-American sentiment in the region, which was instigated by bloody escapades like the infamous Operation Condor.

This US-backed action throughout the 1960s and ‘70s centered on economic warfare, political murders, coups and the sponsorship of brutal, far-right regimes in an effort to clear the American continent of all undesirables – or as Trump so eloquently put it, ‘free’ the Western Hemisphere.

In 2017, a tribunal in Rome convicted former heads of state and top security chiefs from Latin America over their involvement in atrocities committed during Operation Condor.

Among those officials were Bolivia’s former dictator, Luis Garcia Meza, and interior minister Luis Arce Gomez.

Interestingly, the court also exposed the involvement of current Trump administration whisperer and former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.

One of the declassified documents admitted as evidence during the trial reveals that Kissinger not only encouraged the brutal repression in individual Latin American states, but also advised regimes to join their efforts.

“If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly,” Kissinger is quoted as saying during a June 1976 exchange with Argentina’s then-foreign minister, Admiral Cesar Guzzetti.

“We want you to succeed,” Kissinger said. “We do not want to harass you.”

Those struggling to understand the Trump administration’s foreign policy need to look no further than Henry Kissinger.

The former American diplomat devoted much of his career to advancing the Monroe Doctrine – Washington’s longstanding claim to the Western Hemisphere as an exclusive zone of US interests.

In his 2014 book, ‘World Order’, Kissinger defines the Monroe Doctrine as the US having “the right to intervene preemptively in the domestic affairs of other Western Hemisphere nations to remedy flagrant cases of wrongdoing or impotence.”

Bolivia’s Evo Morales – who criticized US intervention in Venezuela, spoke out against the blockade of Cuba, denounced the military coup in Honduras and applauded Edward Snowden’s revelations – was no doubt guilty of “wrongdoing” on the Kissinger scale.

But more importantly, perhaps, Morales had picked the wrong economic partners.

In February of this year, Bolivia chose a Chinese consortium to be its strategic partner on a new USD 2.3 billion lithium project.

The deal essentially handed Beijing a foothold in Bolivia’s huge untapped reserves of the prized electric battery metal.

Morales is guilty of other sins against US hegemony, too. He brought in Russian energy giant Gazprom for the development of a number of lucrative natural gas fields. The Russians have other massive investments in Bolivia, including the construction of a nuclear research facility. Moreover, Moscow had plans to build hydroelectric power stations and transportation networks.

The time had come to remind Morales and other Latin American states that the Monroe Doctrine was “alive and well” – as John Bolton had famously declared in April.

According to unconfirmed reports, the Bolivian opposition was flushed with millions of dollars from Washington ahead of the October polls.

The Caracas-based Telesur television network reported last month that leaked audio recordings involving Bolivian opposition leaders revealed a plot orchestrated and coordinated from the US embassy in La Paz to unseat the government there.

The recordings reportedly mention contacts between the opposition and hardline American senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Bob Menendez.

A message to Maduro

Morales’ exit will likely lead to significant changes in Bolivia’s geopolitical vector.

That means that Russia and China will have a much harder time securing contracts for gas exploration, lithium mining and arms sales.

But the coup in Bolivia is particularly bad news for Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro. The success of the right-wing opposition in La Paz is undoubtedly intended to encourage and inspire their ideological counterparts in Caracas.

And as Maduro loses another friend on the Latin American stage, the message from Washington to the government in Caracas is clear: you may have won a battle against the US-led push to oust you from power, but the war is ongoing.

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Media Yells “Cut!” When Trump Forgets His Lines and Says Something Anti-War

Trump Media Feature photo

Source

When it comes to substantive issues thatthe elite all agree on (such as foreign policy), there is little to no pushback against the president, excepting when he utters statements that are read as critical of war and militarism.

Trump has greatly expanded the U.S. role in the Middle East, announcing his intention to supply Saudi Arabia with over $100 billion in new arms and reversing previous decisions stopping the sale of laser-guided bombs that have reduced Yemen to rubble. He also vetoed a bipartisan resolution aimed at ending the U.S. role in a near genocide that threatens to kill nearly 24 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations. Trump also made the decision to drop the MOAB — the Mother of All Bombs, the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used — on Afghanistan in 2017 (to applause from the media).

He also continuously threatens enemy states with nuclear annihilation (in gross violation of the UN charter). In 2017 he told North Korea that he would “totally destroy” the country with “fire and fury” while earlier this year he promised Iran that he would bring about “the official end” if it crossed America’s path.

Trump has also conducted a worldwide campaign of economic war against the U.S.’ official enemies, increasing devastating sanctions against the people of Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Nicaragua. And Trump’s sanctions against Venezuela have killed at least 40,000 people since 2017, according to a report from the Washington-based Center for Economic Policy Research. The United Nations notes that the sanctions are designed to hit the poor and most vulnerable, with an (American) Special Rapporteur who visited the country likening them to a medieval siege and describing them as a “crime against humanity”.

While many portrayed Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, as the real architect of the violence, the president revealed that Bolton was actually a moderating voice on Cuba and Venezuela, while he [Trump] favored even more direct action.

 

An anti-war war hawk?

That is why Trump’s recent statements on the Middle East were all the more surprising. Defending his surprise decision to withdraw from fighting in Syria, he argued that the U.S. “should never have been in the Middle East in the first place,” claiming “The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!”

But the president went even further, offering a serious analysis of the costs of America’s overseas operations. “The United States has spent eight trillion dollars” on war in the region, he declared on Twitter; “Going into the Middle East is the worst decision ever made in the history of our country. We went to war under a false & now disproven premise, weapons of mass destruction. There were none!”

What was most shocking of all in this uncharacteristic bout of honesty was that Trump discussed the human cost of war, something rarely mentioned in corporate media. “Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side,” he added.

His comments elicited a storm of outrage on social media from the professional liberal “resistance,” apparently more angry that he said the quiet part loud than about the millions of dead people. Political satirist Jeremy Newberger claimed he had been brainwashed by Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and asked him “did you consider putting a big bow on Syria when you decided to gift it to Putin?” Meanwhile, former British Member of Parliament turned professional #Resistance grafter Louise Mensch slammed the president: “TRAITOR! The women of the YPG are DYING at your hands as YOU let ISIS take Raqqa! You SURRENDERED TO RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM!” she responded, in an eclectic mix of capitalized and non-capitalized words.

Liberal-skewing media was barely any slower in lining up shoulder to shoulder with traditional conservatives in opposing Trump’s anti-war intimations, giving pro-war criticisms of Trump from prominent Republicans like Lindsay Graham, Nikki Haley and Liz Cheney full coverage.

NPR, CNN and the New York Times all dedicated significant resources to reporting the condemnations of Trump’s tweets, the latter’s editorial board asking “Does Donald Trump [even] know what his Syria policy is?” The Washington Post claimed that Pentagon officials were “struggling” to explain Trump’s “abandonment of the Kurds and kowtowing to Turkey,” claiming national security aides were mobilizing to “repair the damage” Trump caused. An MSNBC segment headlined “Donald Trump betrays American allies” insinuated that Trump’s decision to pull away from Syria was due to his business deals in Turkey, reminding viewers of Trump Tower in Istanbul. Esquire Magazine claimed that his actions were something “only a twisted, compromised mind could concoct.”

NYTIMES Trump Syria

The New York Times dedicated significant resources to condemnations of Trump’s tweets

But it was The Hill that most accurately summed up the tone of the media. Pulling out of the Middle East is “impulsive, strategically vapid and morally obtuse” according to opinion contributor Will Marshall. On the topic of “endless wars” he said:

 It’s time to retire this mindless trope. U.S. forces aren’t engaged in the Middle East because Americans are addicted to war or the trappings of superpower status. They are fighting mainly to contain the very real threat of Islamist terrorism.”

Marshall continued to explain that it has been nearly 75 years since Japan surrendered, and the U.S. still has tens of thousands of troops occupying the country. This, for him, was a good thing, because they were there “to preempt threats to our homeland, deter aggression and protect America’s far-flung interests. Their mission is counterterrorism.” Thus, it seems that the liberal resistance to Trump is strongest when he begins to shift, however minutely, to a more anti-war position.

 

Our underfunded Military Industrial Complex

It was a similar story last year, when in December Trump took to Twitter to declare the $716 billion military budget he had previously approved “crazy,” fueling speculation that he might attempt to reduce the already enormous amount the U.S. spends on war — damn near as much as all other countries combined.

Then, as now, corporate media almost uniformly condemned the idea. The Washington Post described a reduction in military spending as “suicide,” claiming the U.S. is in the middle of a “full-blown national security crisis.” The crisis, according to its source, was that it could no longer be sure of victory in a war against Russia in the Baltic or against China in the South China Sea. Why it is crucial that the U.S. should be able to destroy other nuclear-armed countries on the other side of the world was not explained.

Other outlets followed suit. Forbes Magazine began its article with the words, “The security and well-being of the United States are at greater risk than at any time in decades.” Bloomberg recommended a consistent increase in military spending of three to five percent above inflation for five to ten years. The Wall Street Journal was even more blunt: “Don’t Cut Military Spending Mr. President,” its headline read.

The media’s deepest fears did not come to pass, however, as Trump committed to a massive increase to the military budget, up to $750 billion for this year, assuaging the media’s fears.

 

Liberals applauding war

In contrast, whenever Trump is at his most bellicose, media laud his bravery and leadership. Despite warning before his election that Trump was a dangerous fascist too erratic be allowed to control a nuclear arsenal, media overwhelmingly supported the president’s decision to bomb Syria, escalating a conflict that could have turned into a hot war with Russia. CNN host Fareed Zakaria was delighted by his decision: “I think Donald Trump became President of the United States last night,” he said on air.

Likewise, “resistance” media have given Trump considerable support in his attempt to force a coup in Venezuela, backing his puppet Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president. The New York Times claimed that Guaidó was “cheered on by thousands of supporters in the streets and a growing number of governments.” CNN (falsely) reported that there was a vast, popular movement behind him, as “Venezuelans took to the streets in nationwide protests.” CNBC did the same, noting there were “hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans” out on the streets, chanting together and waving national flags, demanding an end to Maduro’s “socialist government.” And all while downplaying or simply ignoring the catastrophic role U.S. sanctions are playing in the country.

For all the talk of an adversarial media standing up to an authoritarian like Trump, the reality is that the media have been selective about what to oppose him on. While they continue to mock him for his crude remarks or his mannerisms, when it comes to substantive issues that the elite all agree on (such as foreign policy), there is little to no pushback against the president, excepting when he utters statements that are read as critical of war and militarism. At that point media begin condemning him in unison, accidentally revealing their true agenda. To those who believe in an anti-interventionist foreign policy, the media’s resistance is useless.

Feature photo | President Donald Trump walks toward members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Oct. 10, 2019, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Andrew Harnik | AP

Alan MacLeod is a MintPress contributor as well as an academic and writer for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting was published in April.

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.

Why are Western leaders gawd awful bad and China’s so darn competent? Part II. China Rising Radio Sinoland 190807

Why are Western leaders gawd awful bad and China’s so darn competent? Part II. China Rising Radio Sinoland 190807

August 08, 2019

By Jeff J. Brown for The Saker Blog

Crosslinked with:

https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/08/07/why-are-western-leaders-gawd-awful-bad-and-chinas-so-darn-competent%ef%bc%9fpart-ii-china-rising-radio-sinoland-190807/

https://soundcloud.com/44-days/why-are-western-leaders-gawd-awful-bad-and-chinas-so-darn-competent-part-ii

Pictured here: my Sun Yat-Sen hat I wear, to which I have pinned the iconic Mao Zedong silhouette badge. Below his bust is his famous mantra, “Serve the People”, written in his very recognizable calligraphic style. Many people do not notice, but on the back is the millennial governance motto, “Preserve the Peace”. Walking around the streets and in buildings here, you can see Mao’s famous calligraphic chant all over the place. Nothing has changed about governance in China for 5,000 years.

In the first part of this essay, I showed why Western leaders are generally so bad (https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/07/30/why-are-western-leaders-gawd-awful-bad-and-chinas-so-darn-competent-part-i-china-rising-radio-sinoland-190730/). The one sentence answer is they are almost always suborned to serve the interests of the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

There is a corollary explanation for this. European cultures and their spinoffs in the rest of Eurangloland, including Israel are founded on violence and theft. If you don’t believe this goes back to the Jewish Torah/Christian Old Testament, here is a quick review of Westerners’ predilection for killing, destroying, plundering first and asking questions later (http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html and http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=21).

I created a comparative Excel table using Wikipedia’s pages on Conflicts in Europe, United States and China(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_the_United_States and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Asia#Mainland_China_(People’s_Republic_of_China). Europe’s list has 760 entries, the US’s 250 and China’s 315. Europe’s long list really starts in 1,100BC and does not include all of the genocidal horrors in the Torah/Old Testament before that. The US’s only starts in 1775, which is wishful propaganda. As Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz clearly proves in her book, A Native Peoples’ History of the United States, genocidal wars to exterminate the many millions of First Nations’ peoples started Day One with the colonial landing at Jamestown in 1607. and the killing has never stopped. China’s goes back to 2,500BC, so is over twice as long as Europe’s and compared to the US, almost ten times longer.

To sum up, Europe’s list of conflicts dates back 3,100 years and lists 760, the US’s starts 230 years ago, with 250 conflicts and China’s starts over 4,500 years ago and has 315. Interestingly, one-third of all China’s conflicts happened during its century of humiliation, 1839-1949, when the West terrorized and plundered the country, while addicting one-fourth of the people to opium, morphine and heroin.

This, while the West’s numbers are probably grossly understated, since over the centuries, it has committed thousands of government overthrows, invasions and occupations to protect colonial businesses around the world.

The above statistics speak for themselves. Eurangloland, including Israel conducts its business and trade using violence and expropriation. China, no. This contrast is even more remarkable, when looking at landmass and populations. When the Roman Empire was at its greatest expansion, 200AD, China had six times as much land and nine times as many people, but clearly was experiencing much less conflict, not nine times as much.

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As the above chart shows, China has always had many more people than Europe, yet has lived with much less violence and plunder. This is because European cultures are founded on genocide, slavery and the violent plunder of other peoples’ natural resources. For 5,000 years, Chinese civilization has been based on agriculture, animal husbandry and mutually profitable cross border trade.

Proof of this is ample. The Chinese Asian land and African maritime Silk Roads predate Jesus Christ and they did not send out armies to rape and plunder their neighbors, like Alexander the Great, the Christian Crusades and onto modern colonialism and robber baron capitalism. The Chinese conducted state diplomacy, traded goods and technology.

If the Chinese had the same DNA for violence and theft that Westerners do, we’d all be speaking Mandarin today. The Chinese were sailing the high seas many centuries before the rest of the world and had Star Wars weapons compared to Europe and elsewhere, with advanced guns, powerful cannons, rocket propelled grenades, flame throwers, sea and land mines, not to mention chemical and biological bombs. They were so far ahead of the rest of the world in military and other technologies, that they could have easily crushed every city and people they came into contact with, like defenseless bugs. Yet, they fanned out across the planet and no one was ever attacked, unless the Chinese visitors were attacked first, which happened very rarely, given what they arrived with. They just wanted to do win-win business and exchange technology.

Westerners and Israelis can only think about other peoples in terms of war and exploitation. Since that is their world vision, they cannot assimilate the Chinese’s millennia of external non-violence and, Let’s do some business ethos. Cognitive dissonance overwhelms Euranglolanders when this is shown them and they sink into denial and self-serving mythology. They fall back on moral equivalence, Well, everybody else does it too. Not true, American Natives, Africans, and Asians (excepting the Christianized Genghis Khan family and Japan adopting the Western imperial playbook during its Meiji Restoration) have not blanketed the planet like killer locusts, devouring everything within their reach. Only Euranglolanders have done this and continue to do so.

This concept of Chinese governance and international trade goes back millennia, with the Confucist-Daoist-Buddhist concept of ren, which means forbearance, relenting and retreating. You will never begin to understand how and why the Chinese live and work, until you wrap your head around ren (忍). Ren is also the Chinese foundation for governing the country and leading the people. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read/listen/watch these articles (https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/07/20/wests-hong-kong-color-revolution-still-making-a-mess-of-the-place-and-totally-backfiring-china-rising-radio-sinoland-190720/ and http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/11/10/all-the-chinese-people-want-is-respect-aretha-franklin-diplomacy-on-china-rising-radio-sinoland-171110/).

Great governments in China are the ones that have (and continue to) work for the 99%, first, second and third, maintaining social harmony, economic prosperity, securing the country’s borders and avoiding war at all cost. Avoiding war and running a lean administration meant being able to keep taxes low, in the form of grain sent to government storehouses for redistribution during droughts, so the masses had enough eat well and sell their surplus to buy household goods.

In China’s pre-liberation era, this system was feudal, meaning wealthy land owners and bourgeois gentry had to be reigned in, to not demand too much grain for land use. Thus, China’s leaders were also expected to protect the 99% from local exploitation. This of course did not always happen. There were many regional conflicts and if national or local government authority weakened or was corrupt, the landlords could plunder the peasants, as well as become warlords in their areas.

Warlords on the loose were often a harbinger of a Chinese government that had lost its Heavenly Mandate. Democracy in Chinese is very responsive to the 99%’s needs. If the leaders can’t keep the peace, harmony and maintain the territorial integrity of the nation, then the masses have the right to “grab bamboo spears”, attack government centers and demand a new administration. This happened countless times over thousands of years at the local, provincial, regional and national level.

Maybe now you can have a little appreciation for why Chinese civilization has always had “big government”, from the dynastic center down to the local villages. No leaders can hope to govern effectively for the benefit of the 99% otherwise. This is why Western elites love “small government” neoliberalism, since it gives them a license to kill and plunder at will. What is important to understand, when comparing Chinese governance to Eurangloland’s is what the expectations were and are to this day. In China, it’s taking care of the little guy. In the West, it’s serving the wealthy elites, for them to accumulate more and more money property, possessions and power.

When Admiral Zheng He sailed around the world generations before Columbus and the Europeans, his massive flotilla reportedly had an anthology of China’s great books, totaling 200,000 pages, including the art of good governance. This was to show and tell with all the different governments and peoples they met, going from port to port.

China’s magnum opus for good governance comes from the 6th century AD, during the Tang Dynasty. A young emperor at the time was Taizong. Having gained the throne after his father, and having already learned to be a successful general, he realized that running a country and keeping the 99% safe and prosperous was a huge undertaking. Thus, he decided to collect all the ancient books on good governance and peacekeeping, going back to the beginnings of Chinese literature in 2,600BC and from them, generate an anthology of the best passages. The sources included 14,000 books and 89,000 written scrolls. The result was the Qunshu Zhiyao (群书治要), which can be translated as the Compilation of Books and Writings on Important Governing Principles. It totals 500,000 words and covers sixty five categories of good governance and peacekeeping.

In the preface of this 1,400 year-old collection, one of Emperor Taizong’s compiling advisors wrote,

When used in the present, (it) allows us to examine and learn from our ancient history; when passed down to our descendants,(it) will help them learn valuable lessons in life.

Taizong himself was ecstatic about the work, saying,

The collection has helped me learn from the ancients. When confronted with issues, I am very certain of knowing what to do. This is all due to your efforts, my advisors.

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Above: stylistic rendition of Tang Emperor Taizong, showing his successful military past in the background and thereafter, his forward thinking good governance and peacekeeping in the foreground.

Of course, over five millennia of civilizational history, China has had its fair share of megalomaniacs, psychopaths, corrupted and incompetents in positions of power, both government and military. But, as the Qunshu Zhiyao instructs, the ideals of good governance and peacekeeping are all about social harmony, economic prosperity and avoiding war at all cost, so politicians and leaders of this stripe are the outliers, not the mainstream, as is the case in Eurangloland. Western elites work hard to put megalomaniacs, psychopaths, corrupt and incompetent people in positions of power, since these latter can be manipulated to serve the previous’ interests. Politicians who practice ren and strive for social harmony, economic prosperity and peacekeeping are Eurangloland’s worst enemies. To wit, China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, DPRK’s Kim Jong-Un and every other socialist/anti-imperialist leader across the globe.

To learn more about why Chinese leaders are often so competent – yesterday, today and tomorrow – you can download below and read a book of excerpts from the Qunshu Zhiyao, put out for free by the Malaysian publishing house, Chung Hua Cultural Education Centre. Just glancing over a few of its 1,400-year-old section titles tells you that the people’s expectations of a Chinese leader are not what the 99% usually gets in the West,

Be careful of military actions
Be frugal and diligent
Be respectful of the Dao
Be sincere and trustworthy
Benevolence and righteousness
Caring about people
Character building
Correcting our own mistakes
Emulate good deeds
Exercising caution from beginning to end
Formation of cliques
Guard against greed
Heeding troubling signs
Human sentiments
Magnanimity
Paramount impartiality
Propriety and Music
Refrain from anger
Talents and virtues
Teach and transform
The livelihood of the people
Uphold integrity

Mao Zedong’s famous mottos were,

Serve the People!
Preserve the Peace!

Mao did exactly that for one-fourth of the human race and was simply living up to the expectations that the Chinese 99% have had for their leaders, going back 5,000 years. It is still ongoing with Xi Jinping and every leader in between. Euranglolanders cannot count themselves so lucky in the quality of their leaders and integrity of their governance.

The Governing Principles of Ancient China book in downloadable PDF:

https://lanbro-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/personal/jeff_brownlanglois_com/Eea_ycuK2q9NnLld2nWL3NgBMsTU9pk3f_bes24n-qWqzg?e=vAcujt

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

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