Venezuela Facing Western Hypocrisy

By Hussein Samawarchi

A few months after the brutal torture and execution of Imam Muhammad Baqir Al-Sadr, Saddam Hussein gave the order to attack Iran. Imam Al-Sadr represented a peaceful opposition wave against dictatorship. The popular cleric used literature as a way of mending what was wrong. For that, he was made to watch his own sister being tortured and killed while, according to witnesses, the political prisoner was beaten with metal cables until his body was covered with cuts everywhere. Then, the torturers dragged him through acid before hammering an iron nail into his head.

When Saddam invaded Iran, the western world rallied behind him. The butcher of opposition leaders received support from diplomats who published books about ethical politics as their countries shipped to him one load after another of weapons. No one who lived through that era could forget Iraq’s Exocet missiles.

If Saddam is old news now, if something more contemporary exposing western hypocrisy is favored, the event that took place in Turkey last October might do.

A team of sloppy assassins was dispatched to Istanbul. They waited for a public figure in his country’s consulate to which he was sent by none other than the brother of the current crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Jamal Khashoggi might have been a controversial personality due to his historical affiliations with fanatic movements, links with Taliban, and statements that don’t abide by journalistic objectivity norms. But he spoke through western media and therefore deserved western protection. The man was cut to pieces after being subdued and drugged. It is still not clear if the drug used rendered him unconscious during the horrific act or just paralyzed him so he could witness and feel his arms and legs being sawn-off.

The world heard a lot of condemnations and denouncements. Still, at the end of the day, not one ambassador took part in a public display of support to a journalist who was merely hinting to the need for reform in his country.

Juan Guaidó returned to Venezuela after 10 days of prancing around with his people’s enemies. He violated the constitution by declaring himself president, broke the law by traveling, instigated popular violence, cooperated with hostile foreign powers, and initiated a contraband operation on a large scale from Colombia. The renegade politician was neither dragged in acid nor dismembered. He was allowed to enter Venezuela with strict orders from President Maduro that no one would obstruct his way.

The sight of the all those foreign ambassadors welcoming the man that Mike Pence views as an American investment gives a sufficient idea of who are the stakeholders in the future distribution of Venezuelan petroleum shares should the coup being staged by Trump’s gang succeed. It’s an indication for the minority of Venezuelan people who think riches will pour in if the country is handed over to American puppets. Do they not realize that every entity which recognized Guaidó as interim president will become their partner in their national wealth?

This is the level of degradation that the western political scene has reached. Ambassadors did not react when public figures were mutilated to death but ran to the airport to welcome a man who says “A la orden jefe” to John Bolton.

There is nothing wrong in forming an opposition; actually, it’s a basic requirement for a sound democratic political system. The opposing politicians’ main duty is to act as performance auditors and highlight the ruling party’s shortcomings which, inevitably, leads to the improvement of the country and the standard of living. What they don’t do is collude with foreign powers to surrender the country’s wealth. What they don’t do is act as internal agents in a hunger campaign against their own people. And what they definitely don’t do is sell their integrity knowing that they are public servants and that integrity represents their constituency.

The topic of Venezuela is not a discussion of a mere Latin American country. Rather, a modern-day political epidemic suffered by many states. It has to do with the injection of malicious agents into a national body while this body is battered with sanctions preventing it from acquiring the necessary antibiotics and nutrition. Syria recovered, Yemen is recovering, and Venezuela is following suit. Patriotism is the remedy and it is abundant in this proud Bolivarian state.

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Iraq: How We Were Lied into War

Iraq: How We Were Lied into War

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 24.03.2019

Iraq: How We Were Lied into War

Eric MARGOLIS

Sixteen years ago, the US and Britain committed a crime of historic proportion, the invasion and destruction of Iraq. It was as egregious an aggression as Nazi Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland.

Large numbers of Iraqi civilians died from 2003-2007. Iraq’s water and sewage systems were bombed, causing widespread cholera. The UN estimated 500,000 Iraqi children alone died as a result. Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State, said it was ‘a price worth paying.’

But not so much for the 4,424 US soldiers killed in Iraq, or the 31,952 wounded, many with devastating brain and neurological injuries. Nor for US taxpayers who forked out over $1 trillion for this botched war and are still paying the bill – which was hidden in the national debt.

In 2003, Iraq was the most advanced Arab nation in social welfare health, education, military power, and industrial development. But it was run by a megalomaniac, Saddam Hussein, who had been helped into power and sustained in his long war against Iran, by the United States, Britain and their Arab satraps.

When Saddam grew too big for his britches, Washington lured him into invading Kuwait, another American-British oil satrapy. A hue and cry went out from Washington and London that Iraq had secret nuclear weapons that threatened the entire globe. War, thundered US-British propaganda, was urgent and necessary.

As I knew from covering Iraq for many years, it had no nuclear weapons and no medium or long-ranged delivery systems. What it did have was a chemical/biological laboratory at Salman Pak that was staffed with British technicians producing lethal toxins for use against Iran. I discovered this secret operation and reported it. Meanwhile, the dim-witted Iraqis were threatening to hang me as an Israeli spy.

I watched with disgust and dismay as the US and Britain launched massive broadsides of lies against Iraq and those few, like myself, who insisted Baghdad had no nuclear weapons.

Almost the entire US and British media were compelled to act as mouthpieces for the George Bush/Tony Blair war against Iraq, trumpeting egregious lies designed to whip up war fever. Our media, supposedly the tribune of democracy, became lie factories, putting even the old Soviet media to shame.

The New York Times led the charge, along with the three main TV networks. I was in Iraq with its star correspondent, Judith Miller, who became a key agent of the pro-war campaign. So too the Murdoch press in Britain and Fox News. When the BBC tried to question the torrent of lies about Iraq, it was crushed by Tony Blair. A leading British nuclear expert who questioned the nuclear lies was murdered. Iraq was polluted by US depleted uranium shells.

Journalists like me were intimidated or marginalized. I was dropped by a leading US newspaper, a major Canadian TV chain, and by CNN for whom I had been a regular commentator. I was told the Bush White House had given orders, ‘get rid of Margolis.’ My sin: insisting Iraq had no nuclear weapons and was not threatening the US. Things became so absurd that the story went out that Saddam had ‘drones of death’ that were poised to attack America.

Of the US media, only the McClatchy chain and Christian Science Monitor reported the war honestly. Nearly all the rest of America’s TV talking heads brayed for war. Most are still there today, demanding war against Iran.

Who was behind the war? A combination of big oil, which wanted Iraq’s vast reserves, and the Israel lobby which wanted to see Iraq destroyed by US power. The Pentagon was taken over by pro-war neoconservatives: Wolfowitz, Feith, Rumsfeld. George Bush, an ignorant fool, was putty in the hands of VP Dick Cheney, a pro-war megalomaniac. The CIA played along. Even the respected former general, Colin Powell, made a fool of himself before the UN and the world by claiming Iraq had hidden weapons. It had chemical weapons, all right, but we had the receipts to show they came from the US and Britain.

No one in the US or Britain ever faced trial for war-mongering and killing vast numbers of people. The lying media escaped well-deserved censure. As for the lying politicians who brought on this disaster, they blamed poor intelligence and bad luck. Those few who opposed the war of aggression remain sidelined or silenced.

Rouhani’s Visit to Iraq: Huge Economic Cooperation at Eastern Gate of Arab World

Wed Mar 13, 2019

Rouhani’s Visit to Iraq: Huge Economic Cooperation at Eastern Gate of Arab World

TEHRAN (FNA)- The agreements sealed during the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Iraq mark the start of the largest economic cooperation project between the two neighboring states in the region.

In the 1990s, when the US decided after Operation Desert Storm and annihilation of 70 percent of Iraq’s Army to re-instate Saddam Hussain rather than conquering Baghdad, there was only one thing revolving in the mind of Washington’s politicians: to prevent the Shiite revolutionary movement, which was gaining momentum after the Intifada (uprisings) in Southern Iraq and becoming an independent powerhouse, from getting strengthened.

Despite the fact that in 1991 the Iraqi army had lost control of all Shiite regions, the scale was tipped in favor of Saddam’s regime when the US-led coalition allowed the dictator to fly his Mil Mi-24 helicopters which led to the largest massacre of the Shiite population in Iraq.

Interestingly, in 2014, when the ISIL terrorists conquered Mosul, one of the biggest cities in Iraq, a parallel course of event was to happen. While the terrorists were approaching the gates of Baghdad and the repetitive calls of the Iraqi government for winning the air support of the US-led coalition had failed, Iran’s strong entry into war to help its Western neighbor turned the whole tide. Now after 5 years, not only nothing has been left of the ISIL in Iraq, but also the position of Shiite-led central government in the Arab country has been cemented more than ever.

From The Fall of the Eastern Gate To The Resistance Front  

Iraq was the Eastern Gate of the Arab World, in the mindset of Saddam Hussain, to resist against Iran’s infiltration. Wafiq al-Samarrai, Director of Iran desk in Iraqi Army’s Intelligence Organization during the 8-year war of the Baathist regime against Iran has thoroughly evaluated and discussed this concept in his book of memoirs, ‘The Ruins of the Eastern Gate’.

Now after the falloff of the ISIL in a few-year-old war, Iraq has become part of an alliance which is called the Resistance Front. A front which is based on not religious motives as claimed in the West’s Shiite Crescent theory, but on a pro-independence essence opposing the Westerners’ interference in the fate of Muslim countries.

Heading Toward $20Billion Trade

President Rouhani’s visit to Iraq is exactly highlighting the same strategic cooperation. Although the Tehran-Baghdad strong ties in security areas have fruited great successes in the past couple of years, it seems that the ties are expected to develop at a serious level to other areas.

Economy is one of the main areas which was placed under the spotlight by the officials of the two countries during the recent visit of President Rouhani to Iraq. Undoubtedly, Iran enjoys a unique status for develop economic cooperation with Iraq.

The two countries share more than 1000 kilometers of borderline fittingly tied with identical ethnic patterns across the borders. For instance, Iran’s Kurdish provinces share borders with the Iraqi region of Kurdistan and accordingly can serve as an economic hub in the region because of the ethnic and lingual commonalities.

Also most of Iran’s Southwestern provinces which share border with Iraq are resided by Arab and Shiite Iranians which again positively contribute to cross-border interactions.

Besides, despite the fact that Iraq’s Western and Northern governorates like al-Anbar and Nineveh are home to bloody battles with the ISIL terrorists, security has been preserved so far in Eastern governorates which share border with Iran.

All these realities as well as the nearly 2 million Iranians who travel to the Iraqi cities of Karbala and Najaf in Arbaeen pilgrimage season have ushered in good trade between Iran and Iraq.

However, a study of economic figures shows that Iran’s share of Iraq’s market, particularly its growth in the past couple of years, still fails to match the two sides’ potentials.

This is exactly one of the very issues which drew much of the attention in the recent visit of President Rouhani to Iraq. Iranian and Iraqi officials held countless meetings and seminars before the Rouhani visit to discuss proper and wide avenues for expanding relations.

The truth is that Iran is competing with serious regional and international rivals in Iraq’s market. Turkey is one of the countries which are seriously marketing and expanding their share of the market in the food products section in Iraq.

Nevertheless it has to be born in mind that Turkey’s presence in Iraq’s market is nothing anew and an outcome of the last years. Rather, Turkey was one of the big suppliers of Iraq’s market during the reign of Saddam Hussain. Yet, the facts stated earlier display that Iran enjoys better capabilities for exporting goods to Iraq.

China and the UAE are among the other competitors in Iraq’s market, specially in the field of consumer durable goods.

Considering the situation, Iranian and Iraqi merchants held numerous meetings on the ways to expand trade between the two countries during President Rouhani’s visit.

Iran’s Ambassador to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi had already said at an economic seminar in Baghdad that the two countries have set a $20 billion objective for the volume of their trade.

This figure may seem a bit out of reach at the first sight, but it is assuredly accessible considering that Iraq is now entering a phase of reconstruction after the war against terrorism and peace has been restored in its cities.

The decision to issue visas for the nationals of the two countries free of charge was another important accomplishment of President Rouhani’s visit to Iraq which can act as a catalyst further facilitating cross-border travels for the nationals of the two sides.

US Worried About Sanctions-Busting

One of the motives behind President Rouhani’s visit to Iraq was the capacities of this Arab country in helping Iran to bypass the US’ unilateral sanctions.

Tehran is going to use Iraq’s help for finding a way around new sanctions to meet its financial needs, as it did in the last round of bans with the help of Turkey.

The fact is that thanks to broad suitcase trade between Iran and Iraq in areas of trade of commodities and foreign currencies exchange, the typical sanctions imposed by the US Treasury Department are unable to cause a sensible disruption in the bilateral channels between the two sides.

The reiterations of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warning Iraqi officials about the suitcase trade of hard currency across the border of Iran and Iraq is reflecting the same very concern.

Iran is capable of importing many of its needed goods, which are not easily accessible because of financial and insurance limitations caused by sanctions, immediately through re-exporting them from Iraqi market. Accordingly, Iraq would be playing the same role once played by the UAE.

Many hold that oil rich port of Basra in Southern Iraq which is also the richest city of the country is enjoying the potential to become the second Dubai in the region. Iran can play the same role it played for flourishing Dubai in the 1980s.

The recent visit of the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnasser Hemmati and the serious memorandum of understanding signed on banking relations between Tehran and Baghdad underlines the importance of Iraq’s banking system for Iran. Besides, Iraq has a broad network of currency relations with the world, through a system of exchange centers, particularly with East European countries, which is of high value for Iran.

One of the objectives of President Rouhani’s visit to Iraq which was not announced publicly was to expand these very kind of relations, and assuredly the officials of the two countries have discussed this issue in their meetings, and certainly the Americans are after stopping these relations at any level.

Iran and Iraq as Pillars of Future Energy Exchange Hub in Region

Expanding cooperation on energy was also among the issues discussed for broadening bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the meetings of President Rouhani in Iraq.

This was the very same demand that made US President Donald Trump to agree with granting exemptions to Iraq to import energy from Iran during the first batch of sanctions against Tehran. However, some US-backed regional countries are after undermining Iran’s position in Iraq.

For example Saudi Arabia is after weakening Iran’s role in this area with exporting electricity to Iraq. The main point is that Rouhani’s visit to Iraq can mark a starting point for broader energy cooperation of the two countries in the region’s energy market.

Iraq has three gas fields and the country will start producing gas by the next five years. Although the early production of gas by Iraq may make the country needless of importing the energy carrier, the growing demand for electricity in the Arab country means Baghdad will continue importing energy from Iran.

In addition, Iraq is bordering Kuwait and Jordan which both are electricity thirsty and Iraq can act as an energy hub in the region to export Iran’s gas to the two countries besides meeting its own needs.

The same scenario is applicable to electricity to let Iraq play a stabilizing role in the region. The path may seem very long but Prescient Rouhani’s visit to Iraq marked a golden start for this long march.

Start of Huge Economic Cooperation in Region

Eleven years ago, when Iran’s ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad traveled to Iraq, the country was still under the US occupation.

And now in era of Rouhani, these are the Iraqi security forces who are providing security in Baghdad with the help of their Iranian partners.

Moving along the same line, we may rightfully expect inaguration of mega projects during the visit of the next Iranian president to Baghdad. This path, despite being long, is the future within the reach of the hands of the two nations.

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Why Only Fools Trust America’s Mainstream ‘News’ Media After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq

Source

March 04, 2019

Why Only Fools Trust America’s Mainstream ‘News’ Media After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

Here will be yet another current example to demonstrate that all U.S. mainstream ’news’ media hide from their respective publics that the U.S. Government is lying, when the U.S. Government lies — i.e., that all of the mainstream ’news’ media in America hide the truth, when the Government itself is lying. In other words: the U.S. mainstream ’news’ media are propaganda-organs for the U.S. Government.

While some American news-media are Democratic Party propagandists, and others are Republican Party propagandists, and therefore all of them eagerly expose lies that are of only a partisan naturenone of them will expose lies that both Parties share — such as, in 2002 and 2003, the central fact at that time. They hid that George W. Bush and his Administration were outright lying to the public in each and every instance in which they said they possessed conclusive evidence that, as Bush himself put it on 7 September 2002 (and no mainstream and only one alt-news medium exposed as being a lie): “a report came out of the Atomic — the IAEA that they [Iraq] were six months away from developing a [nuclear] weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need [before invading].” That was his answer when he was asked at a press conference on 7 September 2002, “Mr. President, can you tell us what conclusive evidence of any nuclear — new evidence you have of nuclear weapons capabilities of Saddam Hussein?” Immediately, the IAEA said then that there was no such “new report,” and that the last they were able to find, there was nothing at all left of WMD, nor of an ability to make any, in Iraq. The American news-media simply ignored the IAEA’s denial that they had issued any new report at all such as Bush had alleged they had issued. Republican ’news’-media hid that Bush’s allegation was a lie, and Democratic ’news’-media likewise hid it. And, so, the American people trusted Bush, and destroyed Iraq. (Anyone who says that America’s invasion didn’t vastly harm the Iraqi people is either a liar or else ignorant of the realities, such as the last two links document.)

The example this time will be taken from The Week magazine, which is a compendium of summaries of the week’s ’news’ from America’s major ‘news’-media. The 1 March 2019 issue has this, on its page 8:

Aid for Venezuela: U.S. military planes delivered more than 180 tons of humanitarian aid for Venezuela to the Colombian border city of Cucuta this week, setting up a showdown with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has vowed to block the supplies. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) made a surprise visit to Cucuta and told Venezuelan troops stationed at the border that it was their patriotic duty to let aid through. ‘Will you prevent the food and medicine from reaching your own people?’”

The presumption there is that readers are simply too stupid to wonder, “Why should I trust that this military plane doesn’t also carry weapons for supporters of a coup to overthrow Venezuela’s President and to replace him with Trump’s choice, Juan Guaido — trust that weapons aren’t included in the cargo of ‘food and medicine’? Is Trump really so kind a person as to care about the Venezuelan people? Or is this instead yet another U.S. set-up for a brutal coup, such as the U.S. did in 1953 to Iran, and in 1954 to Guatemala, and in 1973 to Chile, and, more recently, in 2014, to Ukraine?”

That ‘news’-report, since it’s from The Week, is about what other U.S. propaganda-agencies are saying, and it’s true about that (they actually are saying this), but it’s summarizing from two very un-trustworthy ‘news’-media, one being a tweet from Senator Rubio on 18 February 2019 that was immediately posted at sites such as ABC News, and the other being a ‘news’-report from the Miami Herald, which added that this shipment came from USAID — and yet they ignored  that USAID is a major part of almost every U.S. coup.

Here’s more context about this incident of ‘aid’-shipments: On 6 February 2019, Britain’s Daily Mail, which is less dishonest about the U.S. Government than U.S. ‘news’-media are, headlined “Venezuelan officials accuse the US of sending a cache of high-powered rifles on a commercial cargo flight from Miami so they would get into the hands of ‘extreme right fascist’ groups looking to undermine Maduro’s regime”, and reported that,

Officials in Venezuela have accused the US of sending a cache of high-powered rifles and ammunition on a commercial cargo flight from Miami so they would get into the hands of President Nicolás Maduro’s opponents.

Members with the Venezuelan National Guard [GNB] and the National Integrated Service of Customs and Tax Administration [SENIAT] made the shocking discovery just two days after the plane arrived at Arturo Michelena International Airport in Valencia.

Inspectors found 19 rifles, 118 magazines and 90 wireless radios while investigating the flight which they said arrived Sunday afternoon. 

Monday’s bust also netted four rifle stands, three rifle scopes and six iPhones.

And here’s yet more context: the independent American journalist Aaron Mate, tweeted on 18 February 2019:

https://twitter.com/

Aaron Mate

Page 136 [near end of Ch. 4of [Andrew G.] McCabe’s new [and only] book [THE THREAT, which was published on 19 February 2019], recounting a [July] 2017 Oval Office meeting: “Then the president talked about Venezuela. That’s the country we should be going to war with, he said. They have all that oil and they’re right on our back door.” [Stated there by the authoritarian McCabe, in order to prove how crude Trump is, and McCabe was not condemnatory of such international thefts of Venezuela’s natural resources, but only of Trump’s crudity.]

12:59 PM – 18 Feb 2019 

Furthermore, yet another independent journalist, Ben Norton, at “The GrayZone Project,” headlined on 29 January 2019, “Corporate Interests – Militarist John Bolton Spills the Beans”, and he provided a complete transcript of a brief interview that John Bolton had done with Fox Business Channel five days before, on January 24th. That interview wasn’t publicized by Fox, and its headline was as dull as possible, “Venezuela regime change big business opportunity: John Bolton”, and the ‘news’-report posted below it was empty of anything important, but Ben Norton captured the entire interview, and on January 29th he posted it to youtube and to The GrayZone Project as a news-report, with the full interview-segment also being transcribed there by Norton. In it, Bolton had said, on January 24th:

We’re looking at the oil assets. That’s the single most important income stream to the government of Venezuela. We’re looking at what to do to that. … We’re in conversation with major American companies now that are either in Venezuela, or in the case of Citgo here in the United States. … It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.

Of course, that’s an attempt at theft of the property of another sovereign nation — theft of natural-resources assets of Venezuela, from the people who live in Venezuela — it’s a huge theft-attempt, which is being bragged about by the U.S. regime. Though they’ve done this type of heist in many instances during the past few decades (including in Iraq, where U.S. oil companies now extract), Bolton’s outright bragging about it is certainly extraordinary, and thus is major news. This was major news that however hasn’t been focused upon except in the few honest sites, all of which are non-mainstream (most non-mainstream sites are just as dishonest as America’s mainstream ones are — they’re fake ‘alt-news’ instead of authentically against false ‘news’, but all mainstream national news-sites routinely report lies stenographically, as if what the Government says is always true, and so they’re propaganda). The GrayZone Project is one of the few honest sites, and Norton luckily discovered this huge news-break from the blunder by Fox Business Channel to have aired it — that revelation having been a freak event by America’s major media, a rare slip-up.

And, finally, the great investigative journalist Wayne Madsen, at the Strategic Culture Foundation, headlined sarcastically but truthfully on 1 March 2019, “Military Intervention and Mercenaries, Inc. (MIAMI)”, and he (a journalist whose trustworthiness I have checked and verified for many years — he’s really one of the best) opened with:

The city of Miami, Florida may have started out as a retirement mecca for winter-worn pensioners from northern climes. However, after the beginning of the Cold War and US military and Central Intelligence Agency intervention in Guatemala, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Guyana, the Bahamas, and other Western Hemisphere nations, Miami became a refuge for exiled wealthy businessmen escaping populist revolutions and elections in South and Central America and spies. The retirement and vacation capital of the United States quickly became the “Tropical Casablanca.”

Now home to thousands of limited liability corporations linked to the CIA, as well as private military contractors, sketchy airlines flying from remote Florida airports, the interventionist US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and exiled oligarchs running destabilization operations in their native countries, Miami – or MIAMI, “Military Intervention and Mercenaries, Inc.” – serves as the nexus for current Trump administration “regime change” efforts. …

Earlier, on February 18th, President Trump had delivered a lengthy speech in Miami, titled “Remarks by President Trump to the Venezuelan American Community”, and this was obviously aimed at passionate enemies of Venezuela’s Government. Here is a typical passage, with accompanying documentations of the actual truth regarding his lies as stated there. Trump’s allegations are in boldface italics, and my commentaries are in regular type within brackets, and linked there to my sources:

Not long ago, Venezuela was the wealthiest nation, by far, in South America. [The allegation that Venezuela’s economy has done less well since Hugo Chavez became President on 2 February 1999 is disconfirmed by World Bank data showing that Venezuela reached its all-time-high economic-growth rate in 2004, 5 years after Hugo Chavez became democratically elected and took office as the country’s President. The economy rapidly declined as soon as the U.S. started its coup-attempts. Furthermore, a scientific study of the data showed in 2017 that: “Mexico’s and Venezuela’s numbers on this question [[of ‘Where would you place our country ten years ago?’”]] with a 1 to 10 scale, from absolutely democratic, to not democratic, throughout the period of 2013-2017, compared to those of other countries in the region, clearly show Venezuela as the country where the highest percentage of people believed that democracy had increased during the 2003-2013 decade. Mexico ranked in twelfth place, out of eighteen surveyed countries. “This comparison helps to dimension the solid sense that Venezuelans had about the strength of their democracy during the Chávez administration, and the weak one that Mexicans had.”] But years of socialist rule have brought this once-thriving nation to the brink of ruin. [That too is false — socialism wasn’t the cause of Venezuela’s economic come-down. Venezuela’s boom-time was the period of massive public-debt buildup prior to the exceptionally high oil prices in 1973-1985, as shown in “Figure 4: Venezuela Real GDP per Capita”. Moreover, as the CIA-edited and written Wikipedia says about Venezuela: ”The election in 1973 of Carlos Andrés Pérez coincided with an oil crisis [[the OPEC oil-embargo]], in which Venezuela’s income exploded as oil prices soared; oil industries were nationalized in 1976. This [oil-nationalization and oil-production investment all at the worst possible time] led to massive increases in public spending, but also increases in external debts, which continued into the 1980s when the collapse of oil prices during the 1980s crippled the Venezuelan economy.“ That “oil crisis” was actually the period of exceptionally high oil prices resulting from Israel’s 1973 invasions and OPEC embargoes, but it was actually hell for Venezuela because Venezuela was losing money on each barrel of oil sold because only the Arabic countries and Iran were able to sell profitably their oil after the period of OPEC”s oil-embargo. Venezuela, seller of the world’ dirtiest oil, after 1976 was losing money on each barrel, when they had to repay all those foreign loans amassed during the boom-period.]  That’s where it is today.

The tyrannical socialist government nationalized private industries and took over private businesses.  They engaged in massive wealth confiscation, shut down free markets, suppressed free speech, and set up a relentless propaganda machine, rigged elections, used the government to persecute their political opponents, and destroyed the impartial rule of law.

In other words, the socialists have done in Venezuela all of the same things that socialists, communists, totalitarians have done everywhere that they’ve had a chance to rule.  The results have been catastrophic.

In conclusion, then, no country in the world has a press that’s more dishonest than the United States of America does. “More dishonest” than this press would even be a ludicrous concept. Though the particular lies that are being promoted elsewhere might happen to be different, they can’t be worse. America’s having destroyed Iran and Libya, etc., is proof of this.

Consequently: Only people who possess a thoroughly scientific orientation toward confirming and disconfirming allegations, are capable of extracting from such ‘news’ a realistic understanding of what’s actually happening. The vast majority of people can be fooled, and they can be fooled constantly and even for (as in the instance of America, since at least 2003) decades, and yet still trust the institutions that have deceived them so mercilessly through all of those decades. This is the major reason why the United States is a dictatorship, not a democracy — and why any ‘news’-site which calls the U.S. a ‘democracy’ is thereby clearly demonstrating its untrustworthiness. But, of course, only honest news-reporting organizations are publishing this report. And there will probably be very few that will do that, though all are receiving it for publication.

—————

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.

We’ve seen the west’s approach to Venezuela before – in Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, need I go on?

Instead of pleading with those who will not support him, the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela might want to take a closer look at who his foreign friends are

By Robert Fisk

February 13, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –    The closest I ever came to Venezuela, many years ago, was a transit connection at Caracas airport. I noticed a lot of soldiers in red berets and a clutch of goons, and it reminded me, vaguely, of the Middle East.

Now, sitting in the rain squalls of the wintry Levant, I flick through my newspaper clippings of our recent local autocrats – Saddam, Assad, al-Sisi, Erdogan, Mohammed bin Salman (you can fill in the rest for yourself) – and I think of Nicolas Maduro.

The comparisons are by no means precise. Indeed, it’s not the nature of the “strongmen” I’m thinking about. It’s our reaction to all these chaps. And there are two obvious parallels: the way in which we sanction and isolate the hated dictator – or love him, as the case may be – and the manner in which we not only name the opposition as the rightful heir to the nation, but demand that democracy be delivered to the people whose torture and struggle for freedom we have suddenly discovered.

And before I forget it, there’s one other common thread in this story. If you suggest that those who want presidential change in Venezuela may be a little too hasty, and our support for – let us say – Juan Guaido might be a bit premature if we don’t want to start a civil war, this means you are “pro-Maduro”

Just as those who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq were “pro-Saddam”, or those who thought the west might pause before it supported the increasingly violent opposition in Syria were labelled “pro-Assad”.

And those who defended Yasser Arafat – over a long period a super-terrorist, a super-diplomat and then a super-terrorist again – against those who would oust him as leader of the Palestinians, were abused as “pro-Arafat”, “pro-Palestinian”, “pro-terrorist” and, inevitably, “anti-Semitic”. I recall how George W Bush warned us after 9/11, that “you are either with us or against us”. The same threat was made to us about Assad.

Erdogan has used it in Turkey (less than three years ago) and it was a common line in the forgotten 1930s used by none other than Mussolini. And now I quote Trump’s US secretary of state Michael Pompeo on Maduro: “Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side … either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”

You get the point. Now is the time for all good people to stand alongside the United States, the EU, the nations of Latin America – or do you support the Russkies, Chinese, Iranian headbangers, the perfidious Corbyn and (of all people) the Greeks? Talking of the Greeks, European pressure on Alexis Tsipras to conform to the EU’s support for Guaido – proving that the EU can indeed bully its smaller members – is a good argument for Brexiteers (though far too complex for them to understand).

But first, let’s take a look at our favourite tyrant, in the words of all who oppose him. He’s a powerful dictator, surrounded by generals, suppressing his people, using torture, mass arrests, secret police murders, rigged elections, political prisoners – so no wonder we gave our support to those who wish to overthrow this brutal man and stage democratic elections.

Not a bad precis of our current policy towards the Maduro regime. But I am referring, of course, word-for-word, to the west’s policy towards the Assad regime in Syria. And our support for opposition democracy there wasn’t terribly successful.

We were not solely responsible for the Syrian civil war – but we were not guiltless since we sent an awful lot of weapons to those trying to overthrow Assad. And last month the notepad of US national security advisor John Bolton appeared to boast a plan to send 5,000 US troops to Colombia

And now let’s tick the box on another Maduro-lookalike – at least from the west’s simplistic point of view: the military-backed elected field marshal-president al-Sisi of Egypt, whom we love, admire and protect. Powerful dictator? Yup. Surrounded and supported by generals? You bet, not least because he locked up a rival general before the last election. Suppression? Absolutely – all in the interest of crushing “terrorism”, of course.

Mass arrests? Happily yes, for all the inmates of Egypt’s savage prison system are “terrorists”, at least according to the field marshal-president himself. Secret police murders? Well, even forgetting the young Italian student suspected by his government to have been allegedly tortured and bumped off by one of Sisi’s top Egyptian cops, there’s a roll call of disappeared activists.

Rigged elections? No doubt about it, although al-Sisi still maintains that his last triumph at the polls – a cracking 97 per cent – was a free and fair election.

President Trump sent his “sincere congratulations”. Political prisoners? Well, the total is 60,000 and rising. Oh yes, and Maduro’s last victory – a rigged election if ever there was one, of course – was a mere 67.84 per cent.

As the late sage of the Sunday Express, John Gordon, might have said: it makes you sit up a bit. So, too, I suppose, when we glance a bit further eastwards to Afghanistan, whose Taliban rulers were routed in 2001 by the US, whose post-9/11 troops and statesmen ushered in a new life of democracy, then corruption, warlordism and civil war.

The “democracy” bit quickly came unstuck when “loya jurgas”, grand councils, turned into tribal playpens and the Americans announced that it would be an exaggeration to think that we could achieve “Jeffersonian democracy” in Afghanistan. Too true.

Now the Americans are negotiating with the “terrorist” Taliban in Qatar so they can get the hell out of the Graveyard of Empires after 17 years of military setbacks, scandals and defeats – not to mention running a few torture camps which even Maduro would cough to look at.

Now all this may not encourage you to walk down memory lane. And I haven’t even listed the sins of Saddam, let alone our continuing and cosy relationship – amazing as it still seems – with that Gulf state whose lads strangled, chopped up and secretly buried a US-resident journalist in Turkey.

Now just imagine if Maduro, tired of a journalist critic slandering him in Miami, decided to lure him to the Venezuelan embassy in Washington and top the poor guy, slice him up and bury him secretly in Foggy Bottom. Well now, I have a feeling that sanctions might have been applied to Maduro a long time ago. But not to Saudi Arabia, of course, where we are very definitely not advocating democracy.

“Now is the time for democracy and prosperity in Venezuela,” quoth John Bolton this week. Oh, yes indeed. Maduro runs an oil-soaked nation yet its people starve. He is an unworthy, foolish and vain man, even if he’s not Saddamite in his crimes. He was rightly described by a colleague as a dreary tyrant. He even looks like the kind of guy who tied ladies to railway lines in silent movies.

So good luck to Guaido. Palpably a nice guy, speaks eloquently, wise to stick to aid for the poor and fresh elections rather than dwell on just how exactly Maduro and his military chums are going to be booted out.

In other words, good luck – but watch out. Instead of pleading with those who will not support him – the Greeks, for example – he might take a closer look at who his foreign friends are. And do a quick track record on their more recent crusades for freedom, democracy and the right to life. And by the way, I haven’t even mentioned Libya.

This article was originally published by The Independent“-

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 The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

Sayyed Nasrallah: Resistance Axis Stronger than Ever, Iran Not Alone in Any Coming War

Zeinab Essa

Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered on Wednesday a televised speech in which he focused on the Islamic Revolution and Iran’s position after 40 years on the revolution.

From A Man to Revolution

Addressing thousands of people commemorating the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Sayyed Nasrallah hailed the Islamic Revolution that started with a man and spread after 40 years to make Iran in the top of the world countries.

“Iran is the most influential country in the region,” he said, noting that “the Shah Mohammad Rida Pahlavi has made Iran a state that belongs to America and is run by Washington. He was its servant.”

Back to the mid of the last century, Hezbollah Secretary General recalled that “this was the case until a courageous man came out of Qom after years and years of observation, and stood against the Pahlavi regime’s dictatorship and its complete submission to the US.”

“Before the sixties, Imam Khomeini prepared for the revolution and settled the environment against the Shah,” he said, underscoring that “the Iranian people have endured all the tortures and massacres committed by the Shah.”

According to His Eminence, Sayyed Nasrallah stated that “this revolution was patriotic par excellence. It was a revolution of hungry, deprived and oppressed people.”

“The divine nature and essence of the 1979 Islamic Revolution distinguishes from other uprisings [in the world]. Late Imam Khomeini led the revolution against the poverty created by the Pahlavi regime. People from all strata of the society participated in it as it was an uprising of the oppressed against injustice,” he said.

Achievements

Meanwhile, Sayyed Nasrallah viewed that “one of the main achievements of the Islamic revolution is toppling the Shah Regime and bringing America and “Israel” out of Iran.”

“Iran today is one of the first independent countries in the region and among the few truly independent countries in the world,” he mentioned, highlighting that “another achievement scored is maintaining national unity and steadfastness in face of all internal conspiracies.”

He further said that “among other political achievements is the establishment of a new regime on basis of popular sovereignty and referendum. Iran in 40 years turned to become the state of institutions, constitution, law and popular sovereignty under the mandate of the Supreme Leader.”

“Elections have never been suspended in Iran, even when it was being bombed by Saddam. They did not extend the terms of the president or the parliament. They held elections on time and committed to “sovereignty of the people,” Sayyed Nasrallah elaborated, noting that “Iran today is a neither an Oriental state nor a Western nation. Unlike others, it is not submitted to the American will.”

The Hezbollah leader said Iran has made great achievements under the rule of the Islamic Jurisprudence, and is now leading in the region concerning the number of university students, international researchers and scholars, share of science production besides activities in the fields of nanotechnology, space technology and sports.

Listing some aspects of the victories scored by the Islamic Revolution, Sayyed Nasrallah said: “Iran does not need to import medicine, but Iran makes 97% of its pharmaceutical needs. Iran ranks 1st in the region in Mathematics and 13 in the world in Math and Physics. Iran produces 90% of its defense needs and exports $ 5 billion to the world. Today, the gas reaches 20 million Iranian families through pipes that reach homes.”

On the current situation, Sayyed Nasrallah praised the fact that “one of the major achievements of the Iranian revolution is the revival of religion, not just the Islamic religion.”

Iran and The Region

He went on to say: “Despite the eight-year war on it, Iran did not abandon its responsibility towards the region, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Afghanistan,” noting that “Iran stood in face of the Zionist entity, where the victory of the revolution restored the balance and placed a large wall in the face of the “Israeli” scheme.”

“One of the greatest achievements of the Iranian revolution is its serious resistance to the American hegemony and to say no to humiliation. In this context, Iran stood by the Iraqi people and had a quick intervention with its officers and cadres, headed by Haj Qassem Soleimani.”

In addition, Sayyed Nasrallah confirmed that “At a time when the whole world has abandoned Palestine and Al-Quds, Iran will never do this, because Iran honors the holy places – because of this, the US imposes sanctions on it.”

Iran Ready to Arm LA

On the Lebanese front, His Eminence “announced that as a “friend of Iran and I’m willing to bring the Lebanese Army air defense systems from Iran to confront “Israel”.”

“In the military field, wouldn’t people make an uproar and accuse Hezbollah of dragging Lebanon into war should the party shoot down an “Israeli” aircraft attacking Lebanon?” Sayyed Nasrallah wondered, noting that he is also ready to talk to Tehran on supplying the army with any arms and equipment it needs.

“Lebanon does not lack expertise and yet we are confused about the electricity file.” He mentioned, denouncing the US logic stating that there should be no Lebanese cooperation with Iran.

Saudis A US Tool

Turning to the region, His Eminence stressed that “As acknowledged by Trump, the US administration created Daesh in Iraq in order to return to the region.”

“MBS admitted that America had asked Saudi Arabia to spread Wahhabism in the world,” he said, adding that “Saudi Arabia was asked to promote the culture of Daesh.”

Sayyed Nasrallah also assured that “claims that there are “Israeli”-Iranian or Saudi-Iranian wars or conflicts in the region are untrue.”

“There is an American war on the Islamic Republic of Iran that has been running since 1979 and Saudi Arabia and some Gulf countries are tools in this war.”

Iran Not Alone

In parallel, the Resistance Leader vowed that In case a war was waged against Iran, it will certainly not be left alone in it.”

Stating that “We were affected by the US sanctions on Iran,” Sayyed Nasrallah vowed that Hezbollah would “overcome the difficulties” through its “firmness, will and resolve.”

Once again, he reiterated that “The resistance axis is stronger than ever and the US will further withdraw from the region and Israel is heading towards more fear and panic.”

“We see the struggle in the region may escalate and may take different forms but in all cases, today the Islamic Republic is the strongest state in the region … and America is headed for more withdrawals and retreats from the region,” Sayyed Nasrallah concluded.

Source: Al-Ahed

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A New Year of Victory for Syria

Hussein Samawarchi

In just a few hours, the year will end. And, what an ending it is!

Syria, our beautiful Syria, spearheaded more than just a military victory against terrorists ranging from long-haired degenerates wielding machetes at women’s necks to Kippah-wearing F-16 pilots unleashing bombs at children.

The country that stood by the Islamic Republic when the whole world supported Saddam Hussien in his vicious military campaign realized, then, that international pressure, no matter how fierce, should not divert it from righteousness. The same country stood by the Lebanese Resistance and turned a deaf ear to offers promising endless riches and geopolitical gains because Lebanon was fighting not just for its own survival, but for the honor of Arabs. This same Syria made sure that its moral compass always pointed towards Palestine. Administration after administration of US Zionist puppets have tried every possible Machiavellian approach to get the Syrians to abandon the Palestinians’ rights. Sometimes by means of threats and sometimes by offering a dominant regional role; nevertheless, the Syrian compass’s true north never pointed anywhere but towards al-Quds.

The events unraveling towards the end of 2018 have proved, once again, how a country, with its people and leadership, that refuses to give in does not only win, but also causes its enemies to collide with each other. This wise policy of patience and treating those who erred unknowingly as a father would treat a beloved son who went astray has caused the Americans to lose all hope in realizing a victory and with the wiser Kurdish leaderships seeing this, the Neo-Ottoman ambitions are also hitting a dead-end. The French launched political bombs on the Americans and the Americans, themselves, are too busy having an internal political fallout to respond properly to the French.

The dramatic act of fake unity that was put up by a few Arab regimes among themselves against Syria has also begun to crumble away with each of the conspiring parties speeding to reconcile with a country they tried to break down not so long ago. There is a race for who makes the first state visit and who re-opens the first diplomatic mission and then who is the first to acquire an approval from the Syrian civil aviation authorities to operate a schedule to Damascus International Airport. They have even started Twitter fights on the ministerial level.

Syria has accomplished the victory which led to all this and more. The countries that so eagerly allowed the refuse part of their populations to grow their hair and run to Syria for the purpose of creating an Israeli sponsored Caliphate of the Medieval ages, have been all but begging of the victorious Syrians to finish those terrorists off where they stand and not allow them to be repatriated.

Only the truly blind, or otherwise mentally challenged, will not acknowledge the fact that Syria’s victory is a broader one of the alliance it represents in its territory and the region. Friendship and brotherhood are not mere romantic concepts. Syria stood by Iran and the Lebanese resistance when it was needed to and they, in turn, answered the call when Syria needed them. It won without the Arab League’s help; it actually won despite the Arab League’s animosity.

Let Syria’s victory be a lesson to some, and a reminder to all, that even when 80 countries gang up against one, if they are doing so with malicious intentions then they will fail miserably. The heroic Syrian army had troops to spare for the national campaign effort of the reforestation of the country. This is how fast they are bringing their country back to normalization; they are doing it as their aggressors fight over the bigger portion of Yemen’s strategic sites. Little do they know that they will not get a single inch of Yemen.

Happy New Year dear Syria. Tomorrow we celebrate it in Manbij and next year in Majdal Shams.

Source: Al-Ahed News

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