Political Prisoner Chelsea Manning: A Redoubtable Profile in Courage

Political Prisoner Chelsea Manning: A Redoubtable Profile in Courage

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Time and again, the US honors its worst, persecutes its best, denying their fundamental rights, locking them in cages for political reasons, often in solitary confinement, flagrantly violating international and US constitutional law.

Political injustice in America is rife, countless thousands imprisoned and abused for political reasons — notably people of color, Muslims, whistleblowers, and truth-telling journalists for exposing high crimes of state ruling authorities want suppressed.

Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states:

“1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his (or her) liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.”

Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “(n)o one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”

Under US law, the presumption of innocence is fundamental – unless or until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by public trial in an impartial court of law. 

Wrongfully charging, prosecuting, convicting, sentencing and imprisoning anyone for political reasons flagrantly violates the above principles.

Chelsea Manning’s 2010 arrest, brutalized detention, prosecution, and rubber-stamp conviction for exposing US high crimes of war and against humanity was a travesty of justice.

So was her rearrest and detention in solitary confinement for invoking her constitutional right to remain silent.

Police state America operates by its own rules, its global gulag prison system the shame of the nation.

In the US, countless thousands face judicial unfairness. The nation’s most vulnerable are targeted for supporting ethnic justice, racial emancipation, political, economic and social equality across gender and color lines, along with exposing high crimes of state at home and abroad. 

Chelsea Manning affirmed that her soul isn’t for sale, saying she’ll never betray her principles or agree to unacceptable demands.

On Monday, a member of her legal team Moira Meltzer-Cohen filed a motion for her release, stating the following:

“A witness who refuses to cooperate with a grand jury subpoena may be held in contempt of court, and fined or incarcerated.” 

“The only permissible purpose for confinement under the civil contempt statute is to attempt to coerce a witness to comply with the subpoena, or ‘purge’ their contempt.” 

“If it is no longer possible to purge the contempt, either because the grand jury is no longer in existence, or because the witness is un-coercible, then confinement has been transformed from coercive into punitive, in violation of the law.”

“The key issue before Judge Hilton is whether continued incarceration could persuade Chelsea to testify.” 

“Many judges have complained of the ‘perversity’ of this law: that a witness may win their freedom by persisting in their contempt of court.” 

“However, should he agree that Chelsea will never agree to testify, he will be compelled by the law to order her release.” 

“Since Ms. Manning is not going to agree to give testimony before the grand jury, she argues, her confinement has exceeded its permissible scope, and she must be released.”

“Letters of support were submitted to the Court by Ms. Manning’s friends, family, and colleagues, including from representatives of civil liberties organizations including the ACLU, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Fight for the Future.” 

“These letters reiterate that Chelsea is a person of great moral courage, who will not be swayed into betraying her principles, even in the face of great hardship.”

“That her confinement has already been so arduous gives credence to her claim that she will endure great hardship rather than agree to cooperate.” 

Manning said the following in defense of her position and wrongful detention:

“After two months of confinement, and using every legal mechanism available so far, I can —without any hesitation— state that nothing will convince me to testify before this or any other grand jury for that matter.” 

“This experience so far only proves my long held belief that grand juries are simply outdated tools used by the federal government to harass and disrupt political opponents and activists in fishing expeditions.”

“The way I am being treated proves what a corrupt and abusive tool this truly is. With each passing day my disappointment and frustration grow, but so too do my commitments to doing the right thing and continuing to refuse to submit.”

“I believe this grand jury seeks to undermine the integrity of public discourse with the aim of punishing those who expose any serious, ongoing, and systemic abuses of power by this government, as well as the rest of the international community.”   

“Over the past decade, I grappled with bouts of depression. I can think of nothing that could exacerbate those struggles more than pretending to live as someone I am not once again, and turning my back on everything I care about and fight for.” 

“The idea I hold the keys to my own cell is an absurd one, as I face the prospect of suffering either way due to this unnecessary and punitive subpoena: I can either go to jail or betray my principles. The latter exists as a much worse prison than the government can construct.”

Before her unjust arrest on March 8, she tweeted the following, saying: “(T)omorrow I’m facing a sealed contempt hearing for refusing to testify at a secret grand jury over my 2010 disclosures” adding she was prepared to handle the expected affront to her dignity and rights.

At the time, her attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen said it’s “an act of tremendous cruelty” to jail her for courageously defending her constitutional rights.

She’s held in punitive solitary confinement for refusing to sacrifice her fundamental rights, for not responding to unjust questioning, unwilling to risk unwitting self-incrimination, along with potentially helping the prosecutor build a phony case against Julian Assange – why the grand jury she was called before to testify was convened in the first place.

On orders of the Trump regime, she’s unjustly detained indefinitely, a flagrant 8th Amendment violation, prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.

Expressing willingness to “face the consequences,” she continues to stand by principles she holds dear.

She’s one of America’s best, a redoubtable heroic figure, unjustly punished for doing the right thing.

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Wall Street Journal Rage Against Venezuelan Social Democracy

WSJ Rage Against Venezuelan Social Democracy

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propagandist Mary O’Grady once called Hugo Chavez a threat to world peace, a jaw-dropping example of her vitriolic hate-mongering and serial lying — evident in all her disinformation pieces.

It doesn’t get any worse than the rubbish she produces. Expressing similar hostility toward Maduro, her extremist pseudo-journalism is enough to give imperial propaganda a bad name.

She never met a hemispheric tinpot despot she didn’t wholeheartedly embrace – or a bonafide democrat she didn’t revile, assaulting them with pejoratives.

Following last Tuesday’s fiasco coup failure in Venezuela, she unleashed her venom full-force, bellowing:

“…Guaido took a big gamble last Tuesday (sic) when he stood outside La Carlota air base in Caracas at dawn and called on the military to drop its allegiance to dictator Nicolas Maduro (sic).”

The plot was an exercise in failure before launched, put down in hours. Most soldiers involved  surrendered straightaway to authorities, saying they were duped, wanting no part of the anti-Bolivarian scheme.

O’Grady had to admit the “plan fizzled.” Except for the replaced intelligence chief, there were no “notable defections among the secret police, the army and the National Guard,” as she falsely claimed.

A litany of bald-faced Big Lies followed.

O’what’s her name: “It is more apparent than ever (sic) that (Maduro’s) position depends on Cuban intelligence and enforcers (sic)—backed up by…Russia (sic)…(Maduro) rules a starving nation (sic), is broadly hated (sic) and can’t trust even his inner circle (sic).”

All of the above is typical O’Grady rubbish, consistently turning truth on its head, her material failing the smell test in each column. No responsible editors would touch what Journal editors feature to their shame.

O’Grady: “…Cuba’s finely tuned intelligence apparatus is a barrier to (opposition elements’) communicating to organize a plot (sic). Havana also handily infiltrates opposition groups (sic), making it a challenge to keep any surprise operation under wraps (sic).”

It bears repeating what I explained before. Cuba’s leading exports are doctors, other medical professionals, teachers, and good will.

It’s polar opposite how the US operates, waging endless wars and other hostile actions on humanity — mass slaughter and destruction causing human misery the defining features of its imperial agenda.

O’Grady: “…Venezuelans…take risks because life in the shattered state is increasingly intolerable (sic). Now even members of the high command are ready to move (sic).”

Despite enormous hardships caused by Trump regime war by other means, Venezuela’s military, government officials, and most ordinary people support Bolivarian social democracy, wanting it preserved and protected.

In his book titled “Bad News from Venezuela: Twenty years of fake news and misreporting,” Alan MacLeod “highlight(ed) the factors contributing to reportage (on the country) and why those factors exist in the first place,” adding: 

“From this examination of a single Latin American country, the book furthers the discussion of contemporary media in the West, and how, with the rise of ‘fake news,’ their operations have a significant impact on the wider representation of global affairs.”

Separately, MacLeod said he “found even when reporting on coups the US was undertaking, the media still presented it as a force for democracy” — based on interviews he conducted with major media reporters.

They act as directed by editors and management, reporting the official narrative exclusively, suppressing hard truths, acting as press agents for the imperial state and monied interests profiting from its agenda.

Like other media propagandists, O’Grady reported phony reasons why last Tuesday’s pseudo-coup attempt failed, saying:

It was because it was initiated “a day early (sic)…agreed on…collaborators were caught off guard (sic)…(Things) didn’t go according to script (sic),” or perhaps “Guaido was set up (sic).”

The plot with no chance to succeed before initiated was all about prelude to what Trump regime hardliners plan next,-.

They no doubt intend escalated violence and chaos, most likely by proxy war with paramilitary thugs, perhaps an embargo to be imposed on the country, an act of war if they goes this far.

O’Grady turned truth on its head, claiming “Guaido envisions democracy.” He was chosen as Trump regime front man on the ground in Venezuela as part of the plot to destroy it.

She sounded buffoon-like saying Venezuela is “occup(ied) by Cuba, Russia and Iran.”

She’s part of the anti-Bolivarian major media hate-mongering chorus, paid to lie and deceive, winning awards for propaganda, serving imperial state interests. Truth-telling would get her sacked.

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Will the Trump Regime Attack Venezuela and Iran?

Will the Trump Regime Attack Venezuela and Iran?

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Imperial madness defines US geopolitics under Republicans and undemocratic Dems, seeking dominion over planet earth, its resources and populations.

Naked aggression and other hostile actions are its favored strategies. Trump delegated his geopolitical agenda to hardline extremists Pompeo and Bolton.

They’re spoiling for more wars than already, Venezuela and Iran in the eye of their storm — supported by congressional hardliners and major media, providing propaganda services for their imperial agenda.

On Monday after meeting with Pompeo in Rovaniemi, Finland, Sergey Lavrov said US military intervention in Venezuela would be “catastrophic.”

His warning applies equally to Iran. “I don’t see any supporters of a reckless military solution” in Venezuela, he stressed, not regionally or in Europe.

Nor is there any international support for US belligerence against Iran, Israel, the Saudis, and perhaps the UAE likely the only nations for it.

Hostile Trump regime actions against Iran and Venezuela are all about wanting to isolate their countries, crush their economies, and immiserate their people — its actions in flagrant violation of international and US constitutional law. 

Measures against Iran include withdrawing from the JCPOA nuclear deal, imposing multiple rounds of sanctions on its officials and enterprises, threatening sanctions on nations buying its oil and continuing normal relations with its ruling authorities, designating its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IGRC) a terrorist organization, along with threatening military action against the country.

In response to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani earlier saying US confrontation with the Islamic Republic would be “the mother of all (regional) wars,” Trump shot back tweeting:

“To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Bipartisan hardliners in Washington support transforming Iran into a US puppet state, eliminating Israel’s main regional rival, a scheme the Jewish state has been pushing for by its majority extremists.

Prior to joining the Trump regime, Pompeo and Bolton publicly urged terror-bombing strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities — despite knowing they include no military component, nor is there any evidence that Tehran seeks it, just the opposite.

The Islamic Republic abhors these weapons, wanting them eliminated everywhere. Trump regime hardliners want regime change in Iran and Venezuela by whatever it takes to achieve it.

If war by other means fails, naked aggression remains an ominous possibility against both countries — despite no world community support for going this far.

Iranian retaliation against US and Israeli sites would clearly follow Pentagon surgical strikes on its nuclear and/or military facilities, destabilizing the region, risking global war if Russia intervenes as it did in Syria at the behest of Damascus.

Time and again, the Islamic Republic is accused of things it had nothing to do with. According to National Iranian American Council director Triti Parsi, “Bolton wants war (with Iran). He will do any provocation to get” it.

On Sunday, he ominously said the following:

“In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings (sic), the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to (Iran) that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

Pompeo made similar remarks, falsely claiming the Trump regime has seen “escalatory actions from the Iranians,” adding: “(W)e have good reason to want to communicate clearly about how the Iranians should understand how we will respond to actions they may take.”

Fact: Iran hasn’t attacked another countries in centuries. It threatens none now. 

The US threatens everyone everywhere, at war in multiple theaters, threatening more aggression against Iran, Venezuela, perhaps against Cuba and Nicaragua as well — what the scourge of imperialism is all about.

Hostile statements by Bolton and Pompeo, along with Trump regime actions against the Islamic Republic and Venezuela ominously resemble anti-Iraq Bush/Cheney rhetoric in the run-up to their 2003 aggression — based on Big Lies and deception.

Neocon extremist head of the undemocratic Foundation for Defense of Democracies Mark Dubowitz urges war on Iran, earlier saying: 

“The next time a Revolutionary Guard attack boat harasses the US Navy (sic), we should sink it, put it in the bottom of the Gulf. That would be a good start,” adding:

Israel is striking Iranian and other targets in Syria. “I thing the US could do the same.” Analyst Seyed Hossein Mousavian believes “(a)s the US pushes Iran to the brink, Tehran may need to get tough,” adding:

Trump regime hardliners are “laying siege to Iran in ways similar to the way (Bush/Cheney) did as it prepared to wage an illegal war against Iraq.” 

Will they convince DJT to attack Iran and Venezuela, ignoring the risk of possible global war?

In early 2017, senior Iranian National Security and Foreign Policy Commission member Mojtaba Zonour warned that Tehran would retaliate swiftly if its territory is struck – saying it’s able to hit regional targets with destructive force in minutes.

“(O)nly seven minutes are needed for (an) Iranian missile to hit Tel Aviv,” he added. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said “(i)f the enemy makes a mistake, our roaring missiles will come down on them.”

Over five million Venezuelans are armed and mobilized in citizen assemblies to defend the revolution from internal and external efforts to undermine it, Maduro explained.

Venezuela’s military stands with him against US regime change tactics, committed to protect the republic and its social democracy, its forces trained and able to wage protracted guerrilla war against Yankee imperialism.

If the Trump regime attacks Venezuela and/or Iran militarily, all bets are off. Both countries will go all-out to defend their sovereignty.

If Russia intervenes to help them as it acted in Syria, global war could follow. What’s unthinkable is possible — maybe inevitable given US rage for wanting all sovereign independent governments eliminated.

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CIA Dirty Hands Are All Over the US Coup Plot Against Venezuela

CIA Dirty Hands All Over the US Coup Plot Against Venezuela 

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Operating like a global Mafia, CIA dirty hands are behind all post-WW II coup plots by the US. The late William Blum documented its actions against sovereign states.

US policies are “worse than (most people) imagine,” he explained, including virtually every conceivable form of lawlessness.

Its actions include instigating wars, waging drone wars, orchestrating color revolutions and coups, interfering in foreign elections, assassinating heads of state like JFK and other targeted officials (like RFK, MLK, and countless others abroad).

The agency helps prop up friendly despots. It’s involved in snatching individuals for “extraordinary rendition” to torture prison black sites it runs globally. 

Complicit with organized crime, it engages in illicit drugs trafficking worldwide, gaining billions of dollars of revenues from its actions.

Since the early 1950s, its operatives conducted physically harmful and psychologically crippling mind control experiments — human subjects  used as unwitting guinea pigs.

Despite authorization to conduct intrusive spying for counterintelligence purposes abroad, it secretly operates domestically against US citizens.

The Agency’s AR 2-2 regulatory document governing its intelligence activities remained secret until mid-2015.

When revealed, it showed Langley engages in domestic spying and human experimentation without informed consent. Academia, major media, individual reporters, US think tanks and other organizations,  as well as the clergy are complicit in its activities.

Under the Patriot Act’s Section 215, it secretly collects financial, medical, and other personal information about US citizens, a flagrant Fourth Amendment violation.

The late Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant, earlier said the agency’s existence is incompatible with democratic principles and the rule of law.

Blum called democracy “America’s deadliest export,” the way it should be abhorrent in the US and other Western countries.

Post-WW II, Washington’s monstrous “war machine has been on auto pilot,” Blum explained, the CIA an integral part of the US imperial agenda.

From the agency’s first coup against democratic Iran in 1953 to its dirty hands all over the Trump regime’s plot against Venezuela, advancing the US imperium depends heavily on unlawful CIA actions, along with Pentagon-waged aggression.

In Moscow with Sergey Lavrov, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said CIA dirty hands are behind Trump regime actions to topple Maduro and eliminate Bolivarian social democracy.

They want to “take control of our country’s (oil and other) natural resources, which belong to the people as a result of a socialist revolution,” he said, adding: “This is what we are trying to prevent. We don’t want the Venezuelan people to suffer.”

“We are witnessing (a) historic struggle” between Bolivarianism and the Trump regime’s aim to destroy it. Ongoing for 20 years, Trump regime hardliners escalated things to possible war based on Big Lies and deception.

Sergey Lavrov believes bellicose US rhetoric won’t result in war on Venezuela, saying:

“Judging by my contacts with my American and other colleagues (sic), including those from Europe and Latin America, I don’t see anyone who would call for a reckless military solution,” adding: 

“I hope everyone understands that as far as practical politics is concerned, there can be no military solution because it would mean catastrophe.”

“We strongly oppose military actions in breach of international law, anywhere. Only the UN Security Council can authorize the use of force.” 

Besides, (force) can (only legally) be used in response to an aggression against a sovereign state. No options concerning Venezuela imply any such thing.”

Lavrov knows well but didn’t explain that all US wars post-WW II were and remain naked aggression against nations threatening no one.

The rule of law imposes no restraints on its actions, operating by its own rules extrajudicially, how it’s been throughout the post-WW II era, especially post-9/11.

The gloves came off. Anything goes replaced them. Venezuela and Iran are in the eye of their storm — Trump regime hardliners going all-out to topple their governments.

So far, it’s short of military intervention. I don’t share Lavrov’s optimism. The US will do whatever it takes to achieve its objectives.

Its post-WW II wars were waged with so-called “coalition of the willing” partners.

There’s no world community appetite or support for war against Venezuela or Iran, restraining the Trump regime going this far.

I believe proxy war is most likely against either or both countries, using ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other paramilitary forces as imperial foot soldiers.

Hostile US actions against Venezuela and Iran have gone on throughout the history of these republics.

As long as they remain free from US control, imperial toughness to destroy their sovereign independence will continue.

Post-9/11, Dick Cheney said wars won’t end in our lifetimes. For Pentagon commanders, it’s America’s “long war,” what I call forever war, ongoing in multiple theaters.

Republicans and undemocratic Dems support military Keynsianism, countless trillions of dollars spent at the expense of world peace and vital homeland needs gone begging — the human toll of no consequence anywhere.

All sovereign independent governments the US doesn’t control are on its target list for regime change, including Russia and China.

It’s why catastrophic nuclear war may be inevitable — the fate of planet earth and humanity hanging in the balance.

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Russia and Syria Initiate the Battle to Liberate Idlib Province

Russia and Syria Initiate the Battle to Liberate Idlib Province 

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It’s long overdue, the only part of Syria infested with many thousands of US armed, trained, funded and directed terrorists — along with Pentagon controlled northern and southern parts of the country, jihadists trained on and given safe haven at its bases.

Syria’s sovereign independence  depends on liberating these areas from the scourge of their control.

Nearly eight months ago in September 2018, Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan agreed on establishing a 15 – 20 km-wide demilitarized zone in Idlib province along the Turkish border.

Plans were for forces from both countries to control it, an offensive to liberate Idlib put on hold, at the time believed to be short-term, perhaps to begin after last year’s US November midterm elections.

The plan involved achieving the unattainable – getting heavily armed, US-supported jihadists to voluntarily leave the demilitarized zone they occupy, along with removing all heavy weapons from the area.

Things didn’t turn out as planned. Erdogan deceived Putin, supporting Idlib’s terrorist scourge he pretends to oppose.

Thousands of al-Nusra and other terrorists took advantage of the deal to reinforce their ranks. Weapons supplied by the US, other Western states, Israel, Ankara and Riyadh freely flow cross-border from Turkey into Idlib.

Terrorists in the province hold its civilian population hostage as human shields, using their entrenched positions as platforms for attacking Syrian military forces, civilians, and Russia’s Khmeimim airbase.

Because of doing nothing to combat them, especially since last September’s Putin/Erdogan agreement, they’re a more formidable force now, a longer tougher struggle required to defeat them.

Turkey is part of the problem, not the solution to Syria’s liberation — Erdogan wanting the country’s northern territory annexed, especially its oil-producing area.

It’s why he’s involved in Syria militarily, along with his longstanding war on Kurds domestically as well as cross-border in Syria and Iraq, wanting their aim for self-determination defeated.

The long-delayed battle to liberate Idlib and surrounding areas finally began. On Saturday, Putin said “Russia reserves the right to give active assistance to the Syrian government in liquidating (the) terrorist threat” in Idlib and elsewhere in the country.

On Monday, Syrian and Russian forces began heavily attacking US-supported terrorist in Idlib and northwestern Hama province.

On Tuesday, AMN News reported that Russian warplanes “launch(ed) (a) massive assault across western Idlib” — targeting US-supported terrorists.

Targets in southern Idlib, western Aleppo, and northern Hama province were targeted.

“The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) kicked off their long-awaited offensive in northwestern Hama on Monday morning, scoring several important gains against the militant forces near the towns of Kafr Naboudeh and Qal’at Al-Madiq,” AMN News reported.

The strategic Tal Uthman high ground was captured, supply lines from Turkey and northern US bases to al-Nusra and other terrorists in “the towns of Kafr Naboudeh and Qal’at Al-Madiq” cut off.

Last week ahead of the Syrian ground offensive, Russian warplanes struck multiple terrorist targets in Idlib, including around Idlib city and areas around the provincial capital.

At the same time, Syrian warplanes pounded terrorist targets in eastern parts of the country.

A Monday attack by US-supported jihadists on Russia’s Khmeimim airbase was foiled, Western-supplied drones shot down.

On the same day, Russian warplanes and Syrian ground forces heavily struck al-Nusra positions in northeast Latakia.

Last weekend, SouthFront reported over 200 Russian and Syrian airstrikes on terrorist targets, attacks continuing Monday and Tuesday.

What’s ongoing appears prelude for a likely escalated offensive to liberate Idlib and its civilian population.

The Trump regime earlier warned it would retaliate against Syrian attacks on Idlib. Since the current offensive began, threats haven’t been repeated so far.

Defeating al-Nusra and other jihadists infesting Idlib and surrounding areas, along with remaining ISIS terrorists in country, will likely take months.

Things are in the early stage of an extended campaign that won’t end any time soon once fully underway.

It’s unclear how or whether Trump regime hardliners will intervene against the campaign. 

Perhaps they have another CW false flag in mind to be wrongfully blamed on Damascus — a pretext to terror-bomb Syrian sites.

The US didn’t wage war on Syria to quit. Its liberating struggle remains longterm.

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Russia May Increase Its Military Presence in Venezuela

Russia May Increase Its Military Presence in Venezuela

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Tass and AP News reported the same story, picked up by the neocon/CIA house organ Washington Post, the Miami Herald, and other Western media. 

At a Monday news conference in Moscow, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Caracas intends to work cooperatively with Russia, China, and other allies to overcome the Trump regime’s war by other means.

Iran is helping Maduro’s government, enduring unlawful US sanctions for 40 years, Arreaza saying the Islamic Republic has vital experience in dealing with hostile US actions.

“We have a lot to learn from Iran. We have Iranian consultants in the Venezuelan government that help us survive the blockade and boost production,” Arreaza explained.

 

His remarks indicated a greater Russian military presence in Venezuela perhaps is coming, saying the following:

“We need to provide for equipment maintenance and exchange military and technical information,” adding: 

“This work has been going on since 2001 when we signed an agreement on military cooperation (with Russia). Currently, a commission of specialists is present on the territory of Venezuela and, no doubt, it may be expanded.”

“We will be ready for any scenario, but we put the emphasis on diplomacy first thing.”

“We are for peace and we wish to talk to everybody about peace, but if the United States prefers a military path, we have our armed forces, our people’s militia, and the people, and we will be prepared not only to resist and fight back, but to overpower and destroy any army, however strong it might be.”

Russia is involved in protecting and preserving Venezuela’s sovereign independence. Arreaza stressed that his country is undergoing a “historic struggle for control over our country’s wealth, control over incomes from the oil industry, for potential incomes from natural resources and energy resources” — what the US aims to steal, wanting Venezuela colonized and controlled.

The struggle for Bolivarian sovereign independence has been ongoing for over 20 years, events since January the most serious threat in its history — a struggle for freedom over US fascist control.

Sergey Lavrov warned of serious consequences if Trump regime hardliners push things too far. “We condemn this campaign for violating the principles of international law,” he said.

Urging the US to back off from its regime change plans fell on deaf ears in Washington. Lavrov’s Monday discussion with Pompeo in Finland on Venezuela achieved nothing.

Separately he stressed that Russia intends to strengthen its “strategic partnership” with the Bolivarian Republic.

A key way is by actions similar to Moscow’s involvement in Syria to combat US-supported terrorists at the behest of Damascus.

Caracas would welcome similar support, a strong Russian military presence in Venezuela, a deterrent against US aggression.

The only way to deal with Washington is through strength. Nothing else can work. Diplomatic outreach achieves nothing — a nation bent on global  conquest and dominance by brute force if other tactics fail.

The only way to deal with its authorities is by giving them a taste of their own medicine, the only language they understand.

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Lavrov and Pompeo Meet, Discuss Venezuela, Resolve Nothing

Lavrov and Pompeo Meet, Discuss Venezuela, Resolve Nothing

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Both officials met in Rovaniemi, Finland on the sidelines of an Arctic Council ministerial meeting. They last met at the July 2018 Putin/Trump summit in Helsinki, Finland.

Ahead of their meeting, Pompeo demanded Russia “get out” of Venezuela. Lavrov called on the Trump regime to “abandon its irresponsible” coup plot, adding:

“The attempts to force the change of government in Caracas have nothing in common with the democratic process and only undermine the prospects of a political solution.” 

It’s a flagrant “violation of international law…a particular feature of the US that they have been projecting power for decades by explaining that they are bringing good, democracy and protection of human rights to nations they are waging the war against” for regime change.

Discussion on Monday focused on the Trump regime’s coup plot in Venezuela, Lavrov saying following talks:

“We tried not to focus on the pronouncements made in public, bearing in mind the fact that these pronouncements impact too many things that, as a rule, have nothing to do with real politics. We tried to focus on real politics. And we did it,” adding:

“We are against hostilities anywhere in violation of international law. The use of force may only be authorized by the UN Security Council, or force may used in response to aggression against a sovereign state. Nothing of the kind is observed in Venezuela in any variants.”

Ahead of their meeting, Lavrov warned Pompeo by phone against “aggressive steps,” saying they’re fraught with “serious consequences,” adding:

“Only the Venezuelan people have the right to determine their destiny, for which dialogue between all political forces in the country is needed, and for which the government has long called for. Destructive pressure from outside, especially force, has nothing to do with the democratic process.”

On Fox News Sunday, ahead of meeting with Lavrov, Pompeo lied saying Guaido is “the elected leader of Venezuela…” He lied saying “it was done through their constitutional process, so there couldn’t have been a coup there.”

He lied claiming the “struggle for democracy (in Venezuela) continues.” He demanded Maduro step down.

He, other Trump regime hardliners, the vast majority of congressional members, and their media press agents reject the results of Venezuelan elections when Bolivarian social democracy is upheld — what they’re hellbent to eliminate.

Last week, Putin and Trump spoke by phone for around 90 minutes, Venezuela and other issues discussed.

Russia’s president “underscored that only the Venezuelans themselves have the right to determine the future of their country, whereas outside interference in the country’s internal affairs and attempts to change the government in Caracas by force undermine prospects for a political settlement of the crisis.”

Lavrov stressed the same thing to Pompeo. Hardline US policies remain unchanged. Prospects for anything positive from Putin/Trump and Lavrov/Pompeo talks are virtually nil.

Washington’s imperial agenda remains firm, wanting all sovereign independent nations transformed into US puppet states by whatever it takes to achieve its objectives.

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Pompeo Claims US Aggression Against Venezuela Would Be Lawful

Pompeo Claims US Aggression Against Venezuela Would Be Lawful

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According to Pompeo, US presidents have constitutional authority under Article II to preemptively attack other nations.

The article states the following: “The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States…”

Nothing in the Constitution gives the executive power to declare war — authority afforded solely to Congress.

It was last exercised on December 8, 1941 following imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, never since then. All US wars post-WW II were and remain illegal.

Article I, Section 8 states: “The Congress shall have power…(t)o declare war” — not the president or US courts.

International law supersedes the above. Under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2), international laws, treaties, conventions, and other agreements “constitute the supreme law of the land.”

The UN Charter (binding international law for all member states) mandates that Security Council members alone have power to declare war — authorized only in self-defense if a nation is attacked or an attack is imminent.

In the post-WW II era, every time the US went to war, it acted extrajudicially, including against North Korea, Southeast Asia, the rape of Yugoslavia, and all post-9/11 wars.

In all of the above cases, US forces preemptively attacked nations threatening no one. That’s what naked aggression and imperialism are all about — a scourge threatening nuclear war, the ultimate doomsday scenario.

Given US rage for dominion over planet earth, its resources and populations, what’s unthinkable is clearly possible, maybe inevitable.

On ABC News Sunday, Pompeo lied saying: “The president has his full range of Article 2 authorities, and I’m very confident that any action we took in Venezuela would be lawful” — clearly not so!

Trump earlier said military force is an option against Venezuela “if that’s what’s required.” DJT, Pompeo, Bolton, and Abrams all said: “All options are on the table.”

Fact: Preemptive wars, color revolutions, and old-fashioned coups flagrantly violate international, US constitutional and statute laws pertaining to military action. There’s no ambiguity about it.

The Trump regime “ha(s) a full range of options (against Venezuela) that we’re preparing for,” according to Pompeo — to try replacing democratically elected and reelected President Maduro with US-controlled puppet rule, by his reasoning.

Ahead of meeting with Pompeo on Monday in Rovaniemi, Finland on the sidelines of an Arctic Council ministerial meeting, mainly to discuss events in Venezuela, Sergey Lavrov  denounced “an unprecedented campaign led by the US…aimed at toppling Venezuela’s legitimate government,” adding:

“Attempts to stage a violent upheaval in Caracas have nothing to do with the democratic process, and only disrupt any prospects of political settlement.

International law is clear and unambiguous. Under no circumstances may nations interfere in the internal affairs of others — except in self-defense if attacked.

On Sunday in Moscow, Lavrov and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza discussed the Trump regime’s threat to Bolivarian Republic sovereignty — ahead of Lavrov’s Monday meeting with Pompeo.

There’s virtually no chance that Russia’s foreign minister will convince his US counterpart to keep Washington’s hands off Venezuela. 

Calling on the Trump regime to cancel its “irresponsible” aim to topple Maduro fell on deaf ears at the White House.

The die is cast for continued hostile US actions, including possible aggression, though proxy war is most likely.

Millions of Venezuelans and the nation’s military are prepared to defend Bolivarian sovereignty. 

What’s going on is likely to continue without letup. The next shoe could drop at any time, including Trump possibly ordering a blockade of Venezuela, an act of war if declared.

Good faith Russian efforts aren’t enough to convince Trump regime hardliners to abandon their imperial aims against the Bolivarian Republic.

Lavrov/Pompeo talks on Monday won’t change a thing. Separately, GOP Senator Todd Young called for Foreign Relations Committee involvement on Venezuela.

Expressing concern about “possible US military intervention,” he called on committee chairman James Risch and minority ranking member Bob Menendez “to hold immediate hearings with key (Trump officials) next week to discuss their plans for Venezuela and to explain any plans to deploy US forces to the country.”

The vast majority of House and Senate members are hostile to Maduro and Bolivarian social democracy.

It remains to be seen if they’ll support whatever actions Trump regime hardliners plan to pursue.

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Trump Tweets on China Roil Markets

Trump Tweets on China Roil Markets

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Overnight Sunday, Dow futures dropped over 500 points after China indicated it might cancel the next round of trade talks, following Trump’s tweets, saying:

“For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50 Billion Dollars of High Tech, and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods.” 

“These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results (sic). The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday. 325 Billions Dollars….”

“….of additional goods sent to us by China remain untaxed, but will be shortly, at a rate of 25%.” 

“The Tariffs paid to the USA have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China (sic). The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!”

Comments like the above show a president unfit to serve, lots more evidence proving it — unrelated to the witch-hunt Russiagate House, Senate, and Mueller probes.

Trade wars assure losers, not winners. Major Sino/US bilateral differences are over structural issues, the US trade deficit with China a minor one by comparison.

The Trump regime aims to curb China’s goal of becoming a global economic, industrial, and technological powerhouse, challenging US dominance. That’s what the trade war is largely about.

Beijing is willing to compromise on lots of issues, not its fundamental longterm aims. Its authorities won’t agree to unacceptable demands.

Multiple rounds of talks failed to resolve key issues. An end of March deadline for resolution long ago passed, Trump unwilling to meet with China’s Xi Jinping unless a deal is reached.

His above-quoted tweets aim to get China’s negotiators to bend to the will of their US counterparts. In recent weeks, remarks by Trump regime officials suggested mutual agreement was close.

Clearly major differences remain unresolved. Trump’s tweets came days before Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He’s scheduled visit to Washington for more talks.

If DJT follows through on his threats, tariffs may be imposed on all Chinese imports, roiling markets further, along with delivering another body blow to weakening US economic conditions.

Record high US equity valuations are unrelated to the domestic economy. Paul Craig Roberts explained they reflect stock buybacks by companies to inflate prices, instead of reinvesting profits in plants and equipment — “(t)he sign of a good economy,” absent in the US.

“As US economic activity turns increasingly negative, so will the stock market and the US dollar.” He noted “sharply deteriorating retail sales, housing starts, manufacturing and freight activity…signal(ing) pending contraction in real” GDP.

“Income dispersion is worst since before the 1929 stock market crash and Great Depression.” What Williams reported is not a pretty picture. High equity prices reflect unrealistic optimism, speculation, and corporate America buybacks.

The bubble economy won’t last. They never do. How this one deflates remains to be seen. Like every time before, ordinary people will be hurt most, especially if hard times are protracted.

The day before Trump’s Sunday tweets, China’s Global Times said if Beijing’s “policymakers react like their US counterparts, a new Cold War may soon take shape,” adding:

If the Trump regime “carries out forcible containment against China (or other hostile actions), then China has no other option but to take all necessary countermeasures.”

Despite Trump’s weekend threats, a Sino/US trade deal is likely — though much later than both sides aimed for and without resolving major irreconcilable differences.

Given US rage to marginalize, contain, and isolate China along with Russia, a foolhardy strategy, belligerent confrontation with one or both countries is ominously possible ahead, maybe inevitable.

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Israel Considers Premeditated Mass Slaughter and Destruction in Gaza Self-Defense

Israel Considers Premeditated Mass Slaughter and Destruction in Gaza Self-Defense

Home – Stephen Lendman)

Israeli state terror against Palestinians is longstanding, official policy throughout its history.

Terrorizing Hamas began after its triumph in Palestinian January 2006 legislative elections — winning majority Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) control, a largely non-functioning body post-election.

Israel effectively shut it down, arresting dozens of Hamas MPs post-election for belonging to a party it doesn’t control, falsely calling them “members of a terrorist organization (sic) although they may not be involved in terrorist acts themselves.”

At the behest of Israel, the State Department wrongfully designated Hamas a terrorist organization — for not pledging fealty to the Jewish state, how installed puppet Abbas and his cronies operate.

The Oslo-created Palestinian Authority serves as Israel’s enforcer in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Hamas confined to Gaza, its two million residents suffocating under politicized/illegal Israeli blockade, an undeclared act of war ongoing daily.

Israel’s latest escalation of violence began Friday. It continued intensively throughout the weekend until pre-dawn Monday. 

Longstanding Israeli policy considers noncombatants, including young children and infants, legitimate targets, flagrantly violating core international law.

The world community consistently does nothing to hold its officials accountable for mass murder, vast destruction, and other for atrocities, continuing at the Jewish state’s discretion.

On Friday, IDF snipers killed two Palestinians, lethally shot with live fire during the 57th Great March of Return and Breaking the (illegal) Siege protests.

On the same day, IDF terror-bombing killed two more Gazans.

Intensive terror-bombing and cross-border shelling began Saturday morning, following rocket fire from Gaza in response to the terror-bombing deaths.

Palestinians are consistently and repeatedly blamed for Israeli crimes committed against them, how the apartheid state operates, supported and encouraged by Republicans and undemocratic Dems.

Unlike his predecessors, Trump dropped all pretense of even-handedness, one-sidedly supporting Israel, showing utter contempt for Palestinian rights — why his no-peace/deal of the century is dead before arrival.

Since March 30, 2018, nearly 300 Gazans were killed, more than 26,000 others injured, many seriously, including clearly identified paramedics and journalists — targeted for doing their jobs.

Israel holds the entire Strip’s population captive to its viciousness, including women and children, because its leadership won’t surrender its authority to brutalizing Israeli control — how the PA operates in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

According to Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) fieldworkers, the IDF “fired 50 artillery shells and 78 missiles at 76 targets (through Saturday alone), including two residential buildings, 11 agricultural plots, and the Palestinian armed groups’ military sites and checkpoints (used for defense, not offense) that were previously targeted more than once.”

Late afternoon on Saturday, Israeli terror-bombing killed a 14-month-old infant, a pregnant woman, and her fetus, wounding others in attacks on residential areas.

Gaza City residential buildings and offices were destroyed. Multiple explosions terrorized Gazans, especially women and children, living in a war zone, attacked by a ruthless regime dismissive of Palestinian rights.

According to the PCHR, IDF terror-bombing and shelling “continued to target residential buildings in densely-populated neighborhoods, inflicting more casualties and destruction. All of this has been followed up by PCHR’s staff spread all over the Gaza Strip to document and investigate the circumstances of those crimes.”

On Sunday, Maan News reported that Israeli terror-bombing and shelling killed nine Palestinians, scores more injured, adding:

“Sources (in Gaza) confirmed that seven residential buildings, which were made up of apartments and offices, were completely destroyed in Gaza City.”

A “mosque, several schools, four family homes, and three ambulances were completely destroyed.” Israeli terror-bombing “left a number of Palestinian families, mostly women and young children, homeless.”

An IDF statement said about 260 sites were bombed. Gazans responded with hundreds of rockets. According to Haaretz, four Israelis were killed, others injured, along with 11 Palestinians — Hamas and Islamic Jihad wrongfully blamed for the Netanyahu regime’s initiated aggression.

UN special envoy for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov shamefully joined the US/Israeli-led anti-Hamas chorus, tweeting:

“I condemn the continuing launching of rockets from #Gaza” — ignoring Israel’s suffocating blockade and aggression, Gazans responding in self-defense, their international law affirmed right.

Hate-monger/unindicted war criminal Netanyahu ordered the IDF to continue terror-bombing the Strip ahead of a Sunday security cabinet meeting,” saying:

“I ordered the IDF this morning to continue its massive strikes against terror forces (sic) in the Gaza Strip, and instructed (the army) to bolster its presence around the Gaza Strip with armor, artillery and infantry forces,” adding: 

“Hamas bears responsibility not only for its own attacks and actions, but also for Islamic Jihad’s actions (sic), and it is paying very dearly for them.”

Israeli ground troops were deployed to Gaza’s border. Does Netanyahu intend full-scale naked aggression on the Strip for the fourth time since December 2008, three times on his watch?

An IDF spokesperson said its 7th Armored Brigade headed toward the Israeli/Strip border “so that there would be a force available in the Gaza Division in case there is a need for it.”

A second IDF statement suggested that attacks on the Strip will likely continue for days.

A bloodbath and vast destruction would ensue until calm is restored, further high crimes of war and against humanity added to Netanyahu’s resume.

According to Press TV Sunday evening local time, “the total Palestinian death toll since Friday (stands at) 16,” at least 90 others wounded — citing Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, figures coming from Gaza’s health ministry.

A later update indicated 25 Palestinian deaths, over 150 others wounded, the death toll perhaps to rise.

Pre-dawn Monday, an uneasy truce was declared by both sides — effective 4:30AM local time. It’s just a matter of time before Israeli terror-bombing resumes. That’s been the Jewish state’s pattern since instituting illegal blockade on the Strip over a decade ago.

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Opposition to Trump Regime’s Sanctions War on Venezuela

Opposition to Trump Regime’s Sanctions War on Venezuela

Home – Stephen Lendman)

Activists for peace, equity and justice everywhere oppose the Trump regime’s war on Venezuela by other means — flagrantly violating international and US constitutional law.

In a letter to Congress last month, dozens of organizations denounced what’s going on, saying in part:

“We, the undersigned groups, wish to express our grave concern regarding the Trump administration’s dangerous and destructive regime change strategy targeting Venezuela,” adding:

“We call on you to take a strong, public stand against these immoral, reckless, and illegal policies and to support efforts to advance peaceful dialogue, before it is too late.”

“We urge you to (o)ppose economic sanctions…threats of military intervention…support(ing) dialogue” instead.” Signatories include the following groups:

In March, 16 Dems demanded an end to (illegally imposed) US sanctions on Venezuela, opposing the Trump regime’s military threats as well — in a letter to Mike Pompeo, signed by the following congressional members:

Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Mark Pocan, Raul Grijalva, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Adriano Espaillat, Ilhan Omar (more on her below), Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Nydia M. Velazquez, Jose E. Serrano, Tulsi Gabbard, Karen Bass, Danny K. Davis, and Jan Schakowsky.

Their remarks were similar to concerns raised by the above groups. Separately on May 1, Rep. Ihlan Omar said the following:

“(A) lot of the policies (the Trump regime) put in place (caused) devastation in Venezuela.”

“This…bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States.”

She denounced “neocons and warmongers…like Elliott Abrams (for) push(ing) policies (causing mass slaughter and destruction) for decades.”

In response to her remarks, Mike Pence slammed her with Big Lies, saying: “As Venezuelans take to the streets to stand for their freedom against an oppressive dictator (sic), Democrat Congresswoman @IlhanMN chooses socialism over freedom (sic),” adding:

Pence is an unindicted war criminal multiple times over, and and whole lot more, a deplorable figure to be reviled, not supported.

Pompeo turned truth on its head, slamming Omar’s truth-telling remarks, saying:

“(F)or a member of Congress, who, frankly — one who sits on an important national-security committee — to make a statement blaming America first in this way, it’s not only ignorant, it’s disgusting.”

Pompeo, Bolton, Abrams, their thuggish subordinates and proxies in Venezuela are guilty of high crimes of war and against humanity.

They represent what the scourge of imperialism is all about, menacing everyone everywhere.

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Will US Dark Forces Kill Guaido to Blame Maduro?

Will US Dark Forces Kill Guaido to Blame Maduro?

Home – Stephen Lendman)

Eliminating him, if planned, would be the latest in a long line of false flags, a US specialty for launching wars and other hostile actions to achieve imperial aims. More on this below.

Guaido was chosen for the role he’s playing because firebrand coup plotter Leopoldo Lopez is unavailable — convicted of inciting violence and related crimes.

Imprisoned, then released to house arrest for alleged health reasons, he violated mandated terms by appearing in public with Guaido during last Tuesday’s fiasco coup plot — a classic snafu (situation normal all f..cked up) scheme likely intended to fail, not succeed.

Spain gave Lopez safe haven in its Caracas embassy to avoid capture and re-imprisonment, a warrant issued for his arrest. He’s unavailable to perform imperial services, Guaido a pathetic substitute. 

His failure to achieve Trump regime objectives makes him expendable and replaceable, perhaps the next shoe to drop. 

Earlier I suggested that he might be targeted for elimination — a scheme to try arousing greater anti-Maduro sentiment, falsely blaming him for taking out Guaido if a CIA hitman is assigned the task of killing him.

He’s more valuable dead than alive, his ineptness evident to his Trump regime handlers. Trained for years by the US for his current role, the same goes for others in Venezuela to replace him, likely figures far more competent.

Other analysts are suggesting the same possibility. Eliminate Guaido, blame Maduro, rev up anti-Maduro media more than already, and give Trump regime hardliners a pretext for greater toughness to try achieving so far unattainable objectives.

They want Venezuela transformed into a US vassal state, its resources looted, its people exploited, the same aim sought against all nations unwilling to subordinate their sovereignty to US interests.

Guaido is guilty of crimes similar to offenses Lopez was convicted and imprisoned for. Holding him accountable is long overdue.

Venezuelan authorities should get him out of circulation post-haste to prevent his elimination if that’s what Trump regime hardliners have in mind to escalate regime change tactics.

They include stepped up proxy war or military intervention, what Bolton, Pompeo, and likely Abrams have been pushing for after it was clear that war by other means failed, notably because the vast majority of Venezuelans want US hands kept off their country, along with Guaido’s ineptness.

Arresting him would give the Trump regime a pretext for escalated toughness. Killing him would be much more effective for selling military intervention if plans are for this next.

Despite accomplishing nothing more than making a bad situation much worse if the Trump regime goes this far, enraging the vast majority of Venezuelans more than already, Pompeo and Bolton et al are extremist enough to do anything to try achieving their objectives.

Guaido is a lost cause. Widely reviled, he more a liability than asset, more valuable if arrested — far more so if killed and portrayed him as a martyr, perhaps what Trump regime hardliners have in mind.

He erred in the eyes of most Venezuelans by colluding with elements in Washington contemptuous of human lives and welfare — targeted assassinations and mass slaughter considered small prices to pay for objectives sought.

Expendables are a US tradition. Hollywood films portrayed how they fought and died in US wars, damn fools portrayed as heroes, failing to explain they never should have been waged — none of them, not the WW I war to end all future ones, the misnamed WW II good war, any before or after them.

All wars are waged for power and profit, the human cost of no consequence, unjustifiably justified by Big Lies. Peace is abhorrent to US policymakers. Why else would they wage endless wars of aggression.

Is Venezuela next? Will a false flag elimination of Guaido be used as a pretext to launch it?They’re a US tradition since the mid-19th century, 9/11 the mother of them all. 

Weeks after puppet Guaido self-proclaimed himself interim president, nothing in Venezuelan law permitting it, I suggested Trump regime hardliners might have a false flag in mind to unjustifiably justify US military intervention in Venezuela, saying the following:

If past is prologue, a violent false flag may be planned, provoking a Venezuelan military response to contain it – perhaps a pretext for one of two options:

1. either US use of proxy Venezuelan foot soldiers (perhaps together with extremist elements from neighboring Colombia and/or Brazil or even getting ISIS or al-Qaeda involved), armed with US supplied assault weapons flown in from south Florida, smuggled to insurgents cross-border, staging violence along the borders of these nations, perhaps combined with other attacks in Caracas and elsewhere in the country, or

2. direct US military invention by invasion and/or targeted aerial attacks on strategic targets.

Trump regime hardliners are hellbent for regime change in Venezuela. Despite two-and-a-half months of failure, chances of them signaling defeat and quitting are virtually nil in my judgment.

As long as Trump remains president surrounded by hardline extremists, Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Syria will remain targets for regime change, North Korea as well if its leadership fails to bend to US will.

The same thing is planned for Russia and China if the above countries are transformed into US vassal states, leaving them the last two sovereign independent states standing, the only ones left in the way of unchallenged US global dominance.

For now, Venezuela and Iran are prime US targets for regime change, regionally disruptive war against them possible if other tactics fail.

The US drive for global hegemony is recklessly dangerous, why unthinkable nuclear war with Russia and/or China is ominously possible, maybe inevitable. 

Iran is a potential target for going this far, perhaps the only way the US could eliminate its sovereign independence, a much more powerful nation than Iraq or Syria. While no match against superior US power, it’s militarily strong enough to hit back hard against US regional and Israeli targets.

Defeating Iran and Venezuela would be much harder if Russia intervenes on their behalf as it did in Syria, turning the tide of battle.

Putin prevented the Obama and Trump regimes from gaining another imperial trophy. The same strategy could work to preserve and protect Venezuelan and Iranian sovereign independence.

Perhaps the threat of Russian intervention would give Trump regime hardliners pause about attacking nations with a powerful ally able to hit back hard if attacked.

Body bags returned to US shores in large numbers are the stuff one-term US presidential terms are made of.

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WaPo: Imposter Guaido’s Press Agent

WaPo: Imposter Guaido’s Press Agent

Home – Stephen Lendman)

At the expense of the general welfare, virtually all establishment media provide press agent services for corporate America and the US imperial agenda, its war on humanity at home and abroad, along with backing despots the US supports and wannabe ones like usurper-in-waiting Guaido.

He’s a political nobody artificially elevated to prominence by the power of propaganda, a pathetic figure too inept to achieve objectives assigned him by his Trump regime handlers.

It’s why he’s expendable and replaceable, an issue I explained earlier and discussed in a same-day article.

t is front and center in providing him with press agent services, featuring an interview with him, promoting him, along with giving him a platform to lie, distort and deceive.

Like other establishment media, WaPo ignores his treason and other high crimes against the state and its people, pretending his illegitimacy is legitimate. 

Nothing in Venezuelan law supports his self-proclaimed interim president status, a Trump regime scheme, using him to implement it. More on WaPo’s interview with him below.

Venezuela is the hemisphere’s preeminent social democracy, a fact I stress repeatedly because it’s key to understanding what’s going on in the country.

The Trump regime plot is the latest in a long line of US coup attempts, wanting what ordinary Venezuelans cherish replaced with US-controlled fascist tyranny — along with gaining control over the world’s largest oil reserves.

Neocon extremist John Bolton actually admitted it’s about the oil, stupid. It’s also about gaining another imperial trophy at the expense of popular rights, the rule of law, and regional stability.

Guaido is widely reviled, his support coming from well-off Venezuelans. Numbers turning out to hear his anti-Bolivarian rants are dwindling.

Huge numbers assemble to hear Maduro, notably on May Day. Observers on the ground noted the massive Chavista march to the presidential palace to hear his address.

Venezuela Analysis reported that “marchers celebrated with music, dancing and colorful banners while expressing their commitment to the defense of their homeland and the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution against the aggression of the US and it’s right-wing allies.”

The commitment of Venezuela’s military and millions of its ordinary people to preserving and protecting Bolivarianism is a powerful deterrent to the Trump regime’s aim to destroy it.

Previous articles discussed last Tuesday’s tempest in a teapot fiasco insurrection, a pathetic stunt put down in hours.

There was no chance whatever for it to succeed. Most soldiers involved surrendered to authorities straightaway when realized they were duped.

They wanted no part of an uprising against the government and Bolivarianism. A handful alone defected. Initiated in an upscale Caracas neighborhood, the plot had no chance to succeed.

It only drew world attention, getting establishment media to rally in unison for Guaido supportively, instead of responsibly denouncing him and the Trump regime’s coup plot.

So-called Operation Llibertat was largely prelude to what Trump regime hardliners have in mind next. Options include a full-scale embargo, proxy war with CIA-supplied weapons, direct US military intervention, or a combination of all three, along with more illegal sanctions.

In my judgment, the plot to oust Maduro and crush Bolivarian social democracy won’t end as long as DJT remains in office, surrounded by hardline extremists running his geopolitical agenda. 

What’s going on has a long way to go. I believe a proxy war is most likely, similar to what Trump’s point man for regime change in Venezuela Elliott Abrams orchestrated during the 1980s in Central America, causing a bloodbath, continuing for years. 

Guaido lied claiming “he expected Maduro to step down (on Tuesday) amid a groundswell of defectors within the military,” according to WaPo. Chance of that happening was zero!

WaPo: “Instead, Guaido’s call for the rank and file and senior brass to abandon Maduro did not produce mass defections. Maduro’s security forces then quelled street protests and left Guaido’s US-backed opposition on its heels.”

Guaido explained the fiasco as follows, saying: “Maybe because we still need more soldiers, and maybe we need more (Maduro) officials to be willing to support it, to back the constitution.”

Under Venezuelan law, the actions of Guaido and his henchmen are unconstitutional and treasonous. He should have been arrested and imprisoned weeks ago, his likely fate ahead unless able to escape cross-border or to the confines of a supportive embassy.

Asked if he’d welcome US military intervention, he said he’d likely go along. It’s not his call, he failed to explain.

His role is following orders from his Trump regime handlers, saluting and obeying, what providing puppet services is all about.

Incompetent Guaido was ill-chosen for the role he’s playing — perhaps heading for a fall at the hands of US hardliners, wanting him eliminated as a pretext for what Pompeo, Bolton, and Abrams intend next.

Guaido lied claiming “many Venezuelan soldiers” and some Maduro officials (sic) support regime change.

WaPo: “(T)he unraveling (of last Tuesday’s fiasco) generated rifts within the opposition. Some of its senior leaders have issued recriminations over what went wrong. The sniping risks robbing the opposition of what became its single strongest asset in recent months: unity.”

Guaido pathetically claimed “there’s absolute unity” — likely not after two-and-a-half months of consistent failures.

WaPo: “(A) march called by Guaido (for Saturday) largely fizzled,” small numbers alone turning out. Guaido was absent from the demonstration he called. 

What happened was symbolic of the coup plot’s failure, along with growing contempt for and opposition to the Trump regime’s designated puppet.

His call to arms against Maduro has been and remains an abject failure, why Trump regime hardliners may eliminate him as a pretext for stepped up efforts against Maduro.

Venezuelan intelligence likely identified elements allied with the Trump regime and Guaido, arresting some, others to come, including cutting off the head of the snake when ruling authorities decide the time is right.

What hardliners in charge of Trump’s geopolitical agenda intend next remains to be seen — admitting defeat and quitting not an option.

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The US Media Propaganda Machine Never Rests

The US Media Propaganda Machine Never Rests

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Collectively in the US, major print and electronic media resemble what Orwell called the Ministry of Truth in his dystopian “1984” novel — the ministry in charge of controlling the message, eliminating whatever conflicts with it, memory holes used for this purpose.

Media in America operate the same way, the closest thing to an official ministry of propaganda, reporting the official narrative exclusively on major world and national issues, suppressing what matters most — truth and full disclosure at all times, no exceptions, what journalism the way it should be is all about.

Since Trump regime hardliners launched all-out war on Venezuela by other means, US media collectively genuflected in support of regime change — reporting state-sponsored propaganda, serving as press agents for what’s going on.

Ignored are unlawful Trump regime actions against sovereign Venezuela, a nation threatening no one, aiming to eliminate the hemisphere’s preeminent democracy for the unwillingness of its leadership to bend to Washington’s will, along with wanting control over the country’s vast oil reserves.

US media have been delivering near-daily propaganda reports on the country, a steady drumbeat of managed news misinformation, disinformation, Big Lies, and fake news.

They consistently substitute fiction for facts, filtering news, information and opinion, marginalizing dissent, abandoning truth-telling in deference to powerful interests.

Wars of aggression and other hostile actions against nations are called humanitarian intervention and democracy building. Human and civil rights are suppressed for our own good. Patriotism means supporting what demands denunciation.

The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics states: “The duty of the journalist is to further…public enlightenment…by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.”

“Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility.”

The Radio-Television News Directors Association Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct stresses public trust, credibility, accuracy, and truth, adding: 

“(R)eporting (must exclude) anything known to be false.” It must stress fairness, integrity, independence, accountability, and “responsibility to the profession of electronic journalism.”

Major media in the US and West fail consistently on all counts. Serving powerful interests, they feature fake news over the real thing, excluding truth and full disclosure. 

Readers, viewers, and listeners are fed a daily diet of lies, damn lies, bald-faced Big Lies, and an agenda harming their vital interests. 

NYT propaganda war on Venezuela discussed what it called “five things you need to know” about what’s going on. A litany of bald-faced Big Lies and deception followed.

Saying the nation’s “wealth evaporate(d)” ignored illegal US economic, financial and sanctions war on the country, falsely blaming Maduro for Trump regime high crimes.

The Times mocked Hugo Chavez’s legacy, beloved by most Venezuelans until the Obama regime killed him by poisoning or infection with cancer causing substances. 

Four major surgeries in 18 months raised suspicions. State-of-the-art care couldn’t save him. The Times lied saying he “seized private factories, mines and fields…”

It lied about President Nicolas Maduro, falsely claiming he  “increased the executive branch’s control of the country…dismantle(d) the country’s opposition-led legislature, (and) consolidated power under the presidency, steering the country toward autocracy…quash(ing) all dissenting voices through violence and intimidation.”

All of the above are bald-faced Big Lies, typical Times deception, suppressing hard truths, including the false claim about Maduro’s May 2018 reelection, shamefully calling it “fraudulent,” supporting imposter Guaido at the same time.

More lies and deception followed, falsely claiming “(h)unger is widespread and children are dying of malnutrition (sic).” 

“The country’s public health care system has collapsed (sic) and prolonged electricity outages (sic) are common” — ignoring Trump regime electricity war, sabotaging Venezuela’s grid, ignored by the Times.

Virtually everything the Times reported on Venezuela throughout Bolivarian Republic’s history, notably since Trump regime hardliners chose convenient stooge Guaido as a designated puppet/usurper in waiting, has been a litany of bald-faced Big Lies and distortions.

Separately, the Times asked what’s next following Tuesday’s fiasco, a pseudo-uprising designed to fail, not succeed, clear from how things played out, disgracefully saying:

“The armed forces’ continued support for the dictator (sic) remains the opposition’s most formidable obstacle for a regime change,” adding:

“(T)he (so-called) opposition and its international supporters (meaning right-wing regional and EU regimes) (must change) their strategies…” 

Everything tried to topple Maduro since January failed. Nor is success likely ahead no matter what actions Trump regime hardliners employ.

Retired US Army Colonel/former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson explained what’s likely if the US attacks Venezuela militarily, saying “a potentially first-class disaster” will likely follow if things go this far, adding:

“(I)f the US military arrives in Venezuela, (most of them will) take to the hills – very formidable hills, with jungle-like backdrops – and they will harass, kill, take prisoner from time to time, and generally hold out forever or until the ‘gringos’ leave.” 

John Pilger earlier made similar comments about Vietnam, calling the lost war “the grand illusion of the American cause.”

In 1965, former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara told Lyndon Johnson that war in Vietnam was unwinnable, saying:

“I don’t believe they’re ever going to quit. And I don’t see…that we have any…plan for victory – militarily or diplomatically.”

In May 1964, Johnson was conflicted about the war, telling his closest Senate friend Richard Russell: “We’re in quicksand up to our necks, and I just don’t know what the hell to do about it.”

War raged for over another decade. Richard Nixon finally ended US aggression after escalating it in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. 

If the Trump regime attacks Venezuela militarily, a similar scenario is likely — endless guerrilla war in the hills, neighborhoods, and streets throughout the country.

Millions of Venezuelans are armed, along with the country’s well-trained military, committed to defend Bolivarian social democracy against a foreign aggressor.

Wilkerson added: “Were I looking down from Mars and with no dog in this fight, I might say that it would be suitable comeuppance for the sheer stupidity of the Trump gang.” 

“One might shout loudly as the quagmire develops, ‘Get elected now, Mr. Reality-TV man!’ ”

“Keep going, Trumpster. You’ll founder this ship of state soon enough.”

He and gang of thugs surrounding him may kill us all. Their reckless agenda threatens everyone everywhere.

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Pompeo’s Propaganda War on Venezuela

Pompeo’s Propaganda War on Venezuela

Home – Stephen Lendman) 

In the past week alone, US establishment media have been complicit with Pompeo, giving him extensive air time for anti-Venezuela hate-mongering. Below are some of his Big Lies.

He lied calling “socialism,” what I call social democracy, the root cause of Venezuela’s troubles. He ignored US war on the country by other means, aiming to transform the it into another US vassal state.

He left unexplained how the US system has worked since the 19th century — socialism for the rich, notably through lavish handouts, friendly legislation, and tax cuts for business and high-net worth individuals, contrasted with law of the jungle free market capitalism for ordinary Americans, sink or swim.

Pompeo lied, saying it’s “ignorant (and) disgusting” to blame the US for what’s going on in Venezuela.

He lied saying “the world community supports Guaido.” Three-fourths of it and the UN refuse to recognize his legitimacy.

He lied claiming “(s)tructurally, there’s no way (Maduro) stays in power.” He lied saying Russia and Cuba are propping him up. Majority Venezuelans and the country’s military support him — along with activists for peace, equity and justice everywhere.

He lied saying the US has an “important responsibility in Venezuela,” turning truth on its head, claiming US involvement is all about “support(ing) democracy in South America Republicans and undemocratic Dems abhor, along with protecting “our vital national security interests” — at a time America’s only threats are invented.

He lied saying “providing humanitarian support is something that’s in our nature.” Polar opposite is true.

The US calls all sovereign independent states it doesn’t control a threat to its security — a bald-faced Big Lie repeated time and again.

Pompeo: The Trump regime “has taken the threat from China very, very seriously.” Beijing is at war with no other countries, threatening none, polar opposite how the US operates.

The same goes for Russia, the leading supporter of world peace and stability among major powers, at war with none, active in trying to resolve conflicts diplomatically, ones the US launched.

Separately in another interview, Pompeo reinvented what Bolivarian Venezuela is all about, saying:

“You have a country devastated from years and years of socialist thuggery (sic), an economy that can’t support feeding children (sic), medicine for kids (sic).” 

“And this has now culminated in the Venezuelan people using their constitutional authority (sic) to get to a place where we now have a new leader, Juan Guaido (sic), and he is doing battle against Maduro.” 

“And what we saw this week was a demonstration of the absence of the ability of Maduro to control his own government (sic). You saw them bring forces into the streets (sic). Everyone has seen those videos (sic).” 

“And we’ve also seen senior leaders inside what is the Maduro-led rump former government all begin to waver (sic), and all begin to talk about how it is they’ll get out of the country, who’s going to get the golden tickets, how are they going to get out (sic).”

“We saw that Maduro himself was preparing to depart the country (sic). Over time, Maduro has no capacity to govern (sic).” 

“He may get to rule for a little while, but at the end of the day democracy will be restored in Venezuela (sic) and the Venezuelan people will have an opportunity to rid themselves of the Cubans (sic), to rid themselves of the Russians (sic), and restore democracy to this nation (sic) that has the capacity to be incredibly wealthy and incredibly democratic (sic).”

All of the above are bald-faced Big Lies. Endlessly repeated gets most people to believe them, how the power of propaganda works — especially by major media proliferation of fake news, along with suppressing hard truths instead of reporting them.

Cuban doctors, other medical professionals, and teachers “invaded” Venezuela, not forces propping up Maduro. Pompeo lied claiming otherwise, making similar false claims about Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

In a third interview, Pompeo lied claiming senior Venezuelan officials indicated they’re ready to shift allegiance from Maduro to Guaido and regime change.

Officials named debunked the Big Lies. Foreign Secretary Jorge Arreaza called phony US claims “fake news,” repeated by establishment media instead of explaining the disinformation — part of the Trump regime’s propaganda war, achieving nothing like all other tactics tried so far.

In all his public remarks about Venezuela, Pompeo repeats the same Big Lies. The same goes for his rubbish about Russia, Iran, China, and other countries on the US target list for regime change.

Trump, Bolton, Abrams and their co-conspirators operate the same way. 

Together with others in Washington, they’re a scourge waging war on humanity — Republicans and undemocratic Dems operating the same way.

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Requiem for Last Tuesday’s Coup Plot in Venezuela

Requiem for Last Tuesday’s Coup Plot in Venezuela

Home – Stephen Lendman)

Media-led excuse-making postmortems continue about a failed US-orchestrated tempest in a teapot scheme with no chance to succeed before initiating.

It’s what Trump regime hardliners likely intended, wanting events of last Tuesday to be prelude to what they have in mind next, discussed in a same-day article.

US major media long ago abandoned journalism the way it should be, providing press agent services for wealth, power, and privileged interests exclusively — including support for endless US wars of aggression and other hostile actions against nations targeted for regime change.

The NYT discussed what may be coming after last Tuesday’s fiasco, calling democrat Maduro a “dictator,” a Big Lie along with other pejoratives repeated time and again for emphasis.

The Times lied saying “thousands of Venezuelans poured into the streets to support the uprising…” 

Disruptive supporters last Tuesday resembled hostile elements remaining outside the Bolivarian Republic’s DC embassy — rent-a-gang thugs, enlisted by the White House secret service, hostile anti-government elements in Venezuela recruited by the CIA.

The Times saying “Guaido(’s) announced…series of labor strikes intended to keep the opposition’s momentum” going (sic), failed to explain that Venezuelan labor leaders and rank and file workers ignored him.

Nor did the self-styled newspaper of record explain that his support is waning. Ordinary Venezuelans revile him, his base in upscale neighborhoods weakening because of consistent failures.

So-called “transition” the Times has been promoting for weeks never got out of the starting date. It turns truth on its head time and again, falsely claiming the Trump regime “sides with democratic forces in Venezuela” — its coup plot going all-out to crush what exists.

The neocon/CIA house organ Washington Post pretended that Tuesday’s coup plot was designed to succeed, calling its initiation “intoxicating.”

WaPo turned truth on its head, claiming opposition elements “saw a historic goal within reach…certain (Maduro) was about to step down,” adding “intrigue and betrayal” foiled the plot — what was dead before arrival, the broadsheet failed to explain.

WaPo repeated the Bolton/Pompeo-promoted fake news scenario no evidence supports, just the opposite, saying (convicted felon now hiding in Spain’s Caracas embassy) Leopoldo Lopez “met in secret with top Maduro loyalists — including the defense minister…loyalists (agreeing to abandon Maduro in return for) retain(ing) their positions inside a new interim government headed by Guaido.”

The above rubbish was debunked by the individuals named. Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza called it “fake news” to try sowing dissension among senior Bolivarian officials.

WaPo continue the deception, repeating Bolton’s Big Lie about Maduro stepping down, adding “(t)he (so-called) plan was rushed into action…(H)ours after Guaido’s call for an uprising of the military, (his henchmen) realized something had gone terribly wrong.”

“This account provides previously undisclosed details of the plan to oust Maduro (sic) and is based on interviews with seven opposition officials with direct knowledge of the developments (sic). Most spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.”

The above scenario is pure fiction — concocted by Bolton et al, dutifully repeated by WaPo. No “promised declarations of support from Maduro’s inner circle” existed with one exception.

His intelligence chief Manuel Christopher Figuera arranged Leopoldo Lopez’s release from house arrest — fired and replaced by Gonzales Lopez for his betrayal. Reportedly he fled the country, likely cross-border to Colombia.

The Wall Street Journal reported the same fake news, falsely claiming “Venezuela’s opposition came close to ousting the president — but the (no-plan) plan fell apart.”

Falsely claiming senior government officials “lost confidence in the bid to remove Maduro” is part of the deception — lots more sure to come.

According to the Journal, the so-called deal “unraveled on Tuesday for reasons that couldn’t be determined…”

No serious Tuesday plan existed to unravel. Events of the day were all about setting the stage for what Trump regime hardliners intend next — another shoe to drop ahead, coming at any time, likely this week.

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Putin and Trump Talk, Nothing Changes

Putin and Trump Talk, Nothing Changes

Home – Stephen Lendman)

Both leaders reportedly spoke for around 90 minutes on Friday, “at the initiative of the American side,” according to the president of Russia’s web site, explaining:

Discussion focused on the “current (dismal) state and prospects of bilateral relations,” including for “economic cooperation,” adding:

“The two presidents spoke in favor of developing mutually beneficial trade and investment relations. They affirmed their shared commitment to step up dialogue in various areas, including on issues of strategic stability.”

The situation on the Korean peninsula, Ukraine, and Venezuela was discussed, likely endless war in Syria as well — though the latter issue wasn’t mentioned.

Putin urged concrete steps toward “long-term normalization on the Korean Peninsula…tak(ing) real steps to implement the Minsk Agreements (to end conflict in Ukraine),” and the Trump regime’s plot to topple Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and eliminate the country’s social democracy.

Russia’s president “underscored that only the Venezuelans themselves have the right to determine the future of their country, whereas outside interference in the country’s internal affairs and attempts to change the government in Caracas by force undermine prospects for a political settlement of the crisis.”

According to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, both leaders also discussed the Mueller report and its implications. In addition, “(t)hey discussed a nuclear agreement, both new and extended, and the possibility of having conversations with China on that as well.” More on this below.

Friday’s Putin/Trump discussion was the first contact between both leaders since the November 30/December 1, 2018 G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Heightened tensions define Russo/US relations, the world’s dominant nuclear powers, risking confrontation by accident or design. 

Irreconcilable differences persist with no prospect for resolution, both countries world’s apart on major geopolitical issues — regarding Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Ukraine, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Throughout his tenure, Putin’s diplomatic outreach to the US achieved no positive results, just the opposite, especially since Trump took office.

Hardline extremists are in charge of his geopolitical agenda. He admitted at least largely going along with policies urged by Pompeo and Bolton — at the expense of world peace, stability and security.

Following the Trump regime’s announced INF Treaty pullout on February 1, over falsely claiming Russia hasn’t honored it, Putin instructed Moscow’s foreign and defense ministers not to initiate contact with Washington on this issue over its unwillingness to discuss matters relating to strategic stability.

The historical record is clear. The US can never be trusted, time and again breaching agreements, saying one thing, then doing another, repeated acts of betrayal — with Russia, North Korea, and other countries.

Prospects for anything positive from Friday Putin/Trump talks are virtually nil. US policies are unbending. So is its hostility toward Russia and other sovereign independent countries it doesn’t control.

Washington’s geopolitical agenda is all about seeking dominion over planet earth, its resources and populations — naked aggression and other hostile actions its favored strategies.

With the most extremist/belligerent regime running things in Washington, world peace and stability are gravely threatened. Unthinkable nuclear war remains an ominous possibility, perhaps inevitable — at the risk of destroying planet earth and all its life forms.

Trump and hardliners surrounding him are hellbent for strengthening the US nuclear arsenal, along with increasing military spending to an unprecedented level — at a time polar opposite policies are vitally needed.

DLT is captive to Wall Street, other corporate interests, and hardliners controlling his geopolitical agenda. His public pronouncements are meaningless when diverge from what his handlers favor.

On Friday, saying the US, Russia, and China are “talking about a nuclear agreement, where we make less and they make less, and maybe even get rid of the tremendous firepower we have right now” is polar opposite consensus in Washington.

Earlier he said his regime will increase the US nuclear arsenal because of growing threats from Russia and China (sic), adding: “We have more money than anybody else by far…Until people come to their senses, we will build it up.”

This position is overwhelmingly supported in Washington, both right wings of the US war party on the same page on this and related issues.

Talks with Russia and China on stepping back from the brink won’t change a thing. Both countries are treated like mortal enemies, not allies — for their sovereign independence, opposition to US imperial wars, and advocacy for multi-world polarity, an agenda in sharp contrast to Washington’s aim for unchallenged global dominance.

Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and most other states seek world peace and stability.

Washington’s rage for colonizing planet earth to own it by whatever it takes to achieve its objectives makes a world safe and fit to live in unattainable.

If held, US summits with Russia, China, and other sovereign independent nations on major geopolitical issues won’t change a thing.

That’s the cold hard reality of the most perilous time in world history, the ominous state of things today because of US hegemonic aims.

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Mikhail Gorbachev on Nuclear Madness

Mikhail Gorbachev on Nuclear Madness

Home – Stephen Lendman)

Aged-87 and frail hasn’t diminished Gorbachev’s passion for stepping back from the brink of possible nuclear war in pursuit of world peace and stability.

In an October 2018 op-ed, he  said “(t)here are still too many nuclear weapons in the world,” urging the drawdown of arsenals, mainly by the US and Russia, the dominant nuclear powers.

Gorbachev slammed what he called the Trump regime’s intent “to release the United States from any obligations, any constraints, and not just regarding nuclear missiles,” adding:

“The United States has (effectively) destroy(ed) the entire system of international treaties and accords that served as the underlying foundation for peace and security following World War II.”

“There will be no winner in a ‘war of all against all’ — particularly if it ends in a nuclear war.” 

“And that is a possibility that cannot be ruled out. An unrelenting arms race, international tensions, hostility and universal mistrust, will only increase the risk.”

Gorbachev expressed hope that Russia, the UN, especially Security Council members, and rest of the world community “will take responsible action (f)aced with this dire threat to peace…”

“We must not resign, we must not surrender,” he stressed.

The Madness of Nuclear Deterrence,” saying:

“(T)he need (is) urgent…for strategic engagement between the US and Russia. I am also convinced that nuclear deterrence, instead of protecting the world, is keeping it in constant jeopardy,” adding:

“(N)uclear weapons are like a rifle hanging on the wall in a play written and staged by a person unknown. We do not know the playwright’s intent.” 

They “could go off because of a technical failure, human error or computer error. The last alarms me the most. Computer systems are now used everywhere. And how many times have (they) failed—in aviation, in industry, in various control systems?”

Countless times in my writing I stressed the ominous possibility of nuclear war by accident or design.

During the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, nuclear war nearly happened. An October 2002 Havana US/Russia/Cuba summit disclosed the close call for the first time. 

Devastation was avoided because Soviet submarine Captain Vasily Arkhipov countermanded an order to fire nuclear torpedos when US destroyers attacked Russian submarines near JFK’s “quarantine” line. 

Had he obeyed, vast destruction or possible nuclear winter might have followed, humanity and other life forms extinguished worldwide — the ultimate doomsday scenario. 

In 1995, Russia nearly launched nuclear-armed missiles in response to a false alarm. Fear was over what turned out to be a Norwegian weather sounding rocket, at first believed to be a possible US nuclear attack.

In May 2000, the Pentagon’s Joint Vision 2020 called for “full spectrum dominance” over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems with enough overwhelming power to fight and win global wars against any adversary, including with nuclear weapons preemptively. 

Post-9/11 US national security strategies and nuclear posture reviews by the Bush/Cheney, Obama, and Trump regimes asserted a preemptive first strike nuclear policy.

The policy remains in force, despite no threats posed by any nations against the US, just invented ones to unjustifiably justify spending countless trillions of dollars for militarism and belligerence at the expense of vital homeland needs.

If US nukes are deployed near the Russian and/or Chinese borders, “leaving less time to detect a false alarm, the probability of a mistaken retaliatory launch is bound to rise,” Gorbachev stressed, adding:

“Today, the US and Russia are at a perilous crossroads. They must stop and think. The veterans of the Cold War have spoken. It is now up to our nations’ leaders to act.”

The alternative risks nuclear armageddon, the greatest of all threats to humanity — ignored by US-led Western media instead of stressing the urgency of stepping back from the brink.

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Iran Vows to Keep Exporting Oil and Gas

Iran Vows to Keep Exporting Oil and Gas

Home – Stephen Lendman)

The Trump regime’s aim to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero is doomed to fail, Iran and its key allies to circumvent illegal US sanctions on the country.

Russia vowed to increase cooperation with Iran. Tehran’s envoy to Russia Mehdi Sanaei earlier said Russo/Islamic Republic ties are deepening in areas of mutual interest — notably in the wake of the Trump regime’s pullout from the JCPOA nuclear deal, along with all-out war by other means on the country.

Russia called bilateral political, economic, and security relations with Iran more solid than ever in the modern era.

Former and current Iranian Energy Ministers Reza Ardekanian and Bijan Namdar Zangeneh respectively said working closely with their Russian counterpart Alexander Novak on oil and gas issues continues and is strengthening.

Zangeneh said Iran will bring 18 new petrochemical plants online in the next two years, raising the country’s export capacity to 50 million tons, able to generate $36 billion in annual revenue.

National Iranian Gas Company CEO Hassan Montazer Torbati said the Islamic Republic expanded its gas export capability to significantly increase exports to Iraq, Turkey, and other countries.

Zangeneh stressed that Tehran is focusing heavily on increasing its South Pars gas production, the world’s largest field, by 60 million cubic meters by next winter.

It accounts for nearly half of Iranian gas exports. Iraq relies on Iranian gas for nearly half its electricity generation needs. 

In 2017, China and Iran agreed on jointly boosting production. A Tabriz/Ankara pipeline accounts for 11 billion cubic meters of Iranian gas exports to Turkey.

President Erdogan vowed to continue buying Iranian oil and gas despite US sanctions. So does China. Iran and Russia are working cooperatively to circumvent Trump regime sanctions.

India relies heavily on Iranian oil. New Delhi won’t likely stop buying it. In late April, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing opposes” unilateral US sanctions, adding:

“We urge the US to conscientiously respect China’s interests and concerns and not to take mistaken actions that would hurt China’s interests.” 

“Meanwhile China will continue to maintain the legitimate interests of our companies…(N)ormal energy cooperation” with Iran is legal and will continue.

On Thursday, OPEC secretary-general Mohammed Barkindo said it’s “impossible” to exclude Iranian oil from the global market, adding he believes Tehran will successfully overcome Trump regime actions against its legal rights.

Iranian Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami said “US officials should know that Iran will produce oil as much as it wants,” promising to foil Trump regime sanctions.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran wants peace, not war with the US or any other country, adding “accidents” can happen igniting conflict over unacceptable US actions against the Islamic Republic, part of its regime change strategy.

Last fall, Russia indicated its willingness to refine Iranian crude for export. At the time, FGE Energy’s Middle East managing director Iman Nasseri said Iran can work with “private middle-m(en) to…find buyers and arrange for logistics that could possibly be invisible to the monitoring systems” – payment for deliveries to be mostly or entirely in non-dollar currencies.

Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan, and Iranian President Rouhani reportedly agreed to work cooperatively on circumventing US sanctions.

Brussels agreed to keep buying Iranian oil. When it comes to acting independently from Washington, most often it says one thing and does another, adhering to US policies even when harming the interests of EU nations.

Iran circumvented US sanctions for decades. Some oil sales no doubt will be lost. Blocking them entirely won’t happen.

On Thursday, Iran denounced Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s announced intention to increase in production at the expense of Islamic Republic sales, oil minister Barkindo saying:

“Iran is part of OPEC due to its interests, and if members of the organization seek to threaten it, (their actions won’t go) unanswered,” warning it could lead to OPEC’s collapse, adding:

The Trump regime aims “to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero, but this is a pious hope. Any independent market expert knows that a surplus of capacities declared by certain countries is exaggeration and overstatement.”

The Saudis and UAE aren’t able to increase production enough to equal Iranian exports. Its military commander General Abdolrahim Mousavi ordered the country’s forces to “prepare” for a possible attack by a hostile power, referring to the US.

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif earlier said the Trump regime believes “that imposing illegal, draconian sanctions on Iran will bring about such pain to our nation that it will force us to submit to its will no matter how absurd, unlawful or fundamentally flawed its demands are,” adding:

“(W)e and our partners across the globe will ensure that our people are least affected by this indiscriminate assault in the economic warfare that directly targets the Iranian people.”

Working cooperatively with allied countries, Iran believes it will successfully overcome illegal Trump regime actions against its sovereign rights. 

In late April, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said unacceptable US actions toward Iran will harm its international standing, saying:

“The US has obviously made a mistake in choosing tools, if it has decided to make Tehran an easy negotiator ready for any deals on American terms through suppressing it economically, dealing a blow to living conditions of ordinary Iranians,” adding:

“This policy won’t add international weight to Americans. The rest of the world sees perfectly well that Washington’s policy is getting increasingly aggressive and reckless.”

The US no longer “hide(s) that it wants to bend to its own will the entire world,” demanding other nations worldwide go along with agenda even when harming their own interests.

“In pursuit of global hegemony, the US is not only intimidating the global community by punitive economic measures, but is openly rattling saber.”

“For our part, we are doing justice to sovereignty of Iran, which does not respond to arrogant provocations from the US. We confirm Russia’s unchanging commitment to the JCPOA” and to working cooperatively with the Islamic Republic — rejecting unlawful US sanctions and other hostile actions against the country.

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Media Response to Aftermath of Fizzled Coup Plot in Venezuela

Media Response to Aftermath of Fizzled Coup Plot in Venezuela

Home – Stephen Lendman)

Events on Tuesday were more a tempest in a teapot fiasco than a serious coup attempt — ordered by Trump regime hardliners to promote their plot to topple President Maduro and eliminate Venezuelan social democracy.

US-led Western media dutifully serving as imperial press agents, pretended what happened was an exercise in democracy building, a notion they abhor.

NYT editors and staff are loyal servants of the imperial state, Wall Street, and other corporate interests over world peace, equity, and justice, a world safe and fit to live in they oppose.

They’re hostile to Trump for the wrong reasons but fully support his regime’s coup plot against democratically elected and reelected Maduro.

In response to Tuesday events in Venezuela, they went along with fabricated Trump regime claims about high-level Bolivarian officials ready to defect, as well fake news that Russia and Cuba were responsible for failure to topple Maduro — both Big Lies.

Guaido’s so-called Operation Libertat was polar opposite a serious regime change attempt. The Times claimed otherwise — turning truth on its head claiming it “seemed certain that this time enough of the military would cross over to assure Mr. Maduro’s ouster.”

About 25 soldiers were involved — 80% of them surrendering to authorities straightaway when realizing they were duped, lied to about what they were enlisted for, wanting nothing to do with Guaido’s regime change plot.

The Times mocked Maduro’s blaming “Trump for what he called an attempted coup d’etat (sic).” There’s no ambiguity about what’s going on, Trump regime fingerprints all over it.

The Times claimed otherwise. It unjustifiably justifies the plot to forcefully transform Venezuela into another US vassal state.

No secret Trump regime meeting was held with top Maduro officials. Claims by Bolton and Abrams about their willingness to defect were and remain bald-faced Big Lies. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza called the claims “fake news” to try stoking tensions among Maduro loyalists.

The Times lied claiming it’s unclear “whether the officials (in question) got cold feet…” Guaido’s proclaimed “final phase” was and remains hype without substance.

Given how easily Tuesday’s disruptive actions were foiled forced the Times to admit “the opposition was left weaker than before,” adding:

“(M)ilitary intervention (is) a terrible idea…find(ing) little support across a region with bad memories of American meddling, and would brand Mr. Guaido as an American lackey.”

The brand has been visible all over him since the day he publicly pronounced himself a US puppet/usurper in waiting — a political nobody elevated to prominence by the power of state-sponsored/media supported propaganda.

Opposition support comes from well-off, upscale Venezuelans, not the country’s military or majority ordinary people, despising him. It shows in dwindling numbers showing up for his public addresses. Maybe no one will show up ahead, his efforts an utter flop, showing incompetence as well as treachery.

The Times and other media railed against Venezuela’s Supreme Court’s order to arrest and detain opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez in Ramo Verde military prison for violating his house arrest restrictions by allying publicly with Guaido’s fizzled Tuesday coup plot — calling his actions a “flagrant violation.”

A warrant was also issued for National Assembly vice president Edgar Zambrano for allying publicly with Guaido and Lopez on Tuesday. He’s charged with “treason, conspiracy, incitement to insurrection,” and related offenses.

Maduro vowed to hold everyone involved in the Tuesday coup plot accountable. A warrant for Guaido’s arrest and detention is long overdue. He’s guilty of treason, sedition, incitement of violence, and other serious offenses.

After showing restraint for the past two-and-a-half months, it’s time for Venezuelan authorities to hold him accountable — arresting, detaining, prosecuting, convicting, and sentencing him to longterm imprisonment where he belongs.

In response to Thursday’s warrants, the right-wing Wall Street Journal headlined: “Maduro Moves to Reassert Authority, Arrest Opposition Leaders,” saying:

“Venezuela’s government began going after opposition leaders on Thursday who it accused of planning a military uprising to oust autocrat (sic) Nicolas Maduro, ordering several of them arrested—including the vice president of the National Assembly—as antigovernment protests died down.”

Other US media issued similar reports. In the aftermath of this week’s events in Venezuela, the whereabouts of Guaido and his key henchmen are unknown.

On Thursday, Maduro said it’s time to challenge “coup plotters who sell themselves to Washington’s dollars.” Separately, he said “(j)ustice is looking for them, and sooner or later they will pay in prison for their treason and (other) crime(s).”

Commenting on the Trump regime’s fake news about Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino’s alleged intention to break ranks with Maduro and defect, he publicly expressed loyalty to the Bolivarian Republic, adding:

“Do not come to buy us with a dishonest offer.” Do not make phony claims about defections among senior Bolivarian officials.

Guaido’s call for nationwide strike action fell flat, union officials rejecting it, things in Caracas and elsewhere in the country proceeding normally on Friday.

A Final Comment

On May 6, Sergey Lavrov and Pompeo will meet in Rovaniemi, Finland on the sidelines of an Arctic Council ministerial meeting — mainly to discuss events in Venezuela.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed it, saying “the meeting was agreed on.”

Their last face-to-face meeting was in July 2018 at the Putin/Trump summit in Helsinki, Finland.

Kremlin/US discussions achieve nothing when held. Diplomacy with the US is a waste of time. 

Agreements reached are breached time and again, why Washington can never be trusted— especially with the most extremist regime in US history running things.

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