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91
The World Below / HUNDREDS KILLED IN CLASHES BETWEEN PRO-IRANIAN, PRO-RUSSIAN FORCES
« Last post by Rudi Jan on January 29, 2019, 06:34:39 PM »
SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JAN. 29, 2019
HUNDREDS KILLED IN CLASHES BETWEEN PRO-IRANIAN, PRO-RUSSIAN FORCES


29.01.2019
source: https://southfront.org/syrian-war-report-jan-29-2019-hundreds-killed-in-clashes-between-pro-iranian-pro-russian-forces/



A fake-news story about large-scale clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Iranian factions in Syria is making jitters in English- and Russian-language mainstream media outlets. According to these reports citing anonymous sources and each other, “the pro-Russian Tiger Forces and 5th Assault Corps” clashed with “the pro-Iranian 4th Division” near the villages of “Shahta, Bredidg, Innab and Haydariye” in northern Hama.

Most of the reports claimed that there were casualties among the sides providing “precise” numbers varying from a dozen to 200 fighters from the both sides. No source was able to provide details into how clashes had started but the versions are varying from “some differences” to “a campaign to limit Iranian influence”.

Most of the media outlets presented these reports as some kind of breaking news. However, in fact, this is a week-old story. First such reports appeared in several pro-militant social media accounts and a local media outlet, al Modon Online. Later this rumor was reposted by anti-Assad, anti-Iranian and anti-Russian bloggers also citing anonymous sources to show the story look more reliable. By January 29, this rumor has reached large mainstream media outlets, but no evidence has appeared to confirm this kind of developments. However, the lack of factual data was ignored because this story is contributing to the US-Israeli-backed media efforts designed to undermine cooperation between Iran and Russia or at least to show that there are significant tensions between the sides.

The similar situation was observed in 2018 when various mainstream media outlets and even top US leadership like President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo were claiming that “hundreds” of “Russian fighters” were killed by the US-led coalition in the province of Deir Ezzor. Both of these stories demonstrate how media forgery could reach the wide international audience and start being repeated as facts despite zero evidence supporting them.

On January 27, Russian forces launched at least three surface-to-air missiles at unidentified aerial objects near the Hmeimim airbase. According to local sources, at least 3 UAVs apparently launched from the Idlib de-escalation zone were intercepted.

The Syrian Arab Army deployed reinforcements at frontlines near the Idlib de-escalation zone and carried out a series of artillery strikes on militant positions in northwestern Hama and southern Idlib on January 28 and 29.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces continue to claim dozens of casualties among ISIS members in the Euphrates Valley. However, a few remaining ISIS positions remaining there are still not captured.
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US gives opposition leader Guaido control over some Venezuelan assets

Published time: 29 Jan, 2019 13:44
Edited time: 29 Jan, 2019 14:38
source: https://www.rt.com/news/450049-us-gives-opposition-assets/


©  REUTERS/Marco Bello

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has authorized Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared interim president, Juan Guaido, to take control of US-held assets belonging to the country’s government.

The certification, issued on Tuesday, applies to certain Venezuelan government and Central Bank property held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or any other US insured banks.

"This certification will help Venezuela’s legitimate government safeguard those assets for the benefit of the Venezuelan people," State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido swore himself in as Venezuela’s interim president last Wednesday and was recognized as the country’s legitimate leader by the United States shortly afterwards. President Nicolas Maduro denounced Guaido’s claim as a “vile,” Washington-sponsored coup attempt, and severed diplomatic relations with the US in response.

Much of the Western world followed suit in recognizing Guaido and isolating Maduro. The Bank of England reportedly blocked Maduro from withdrawing $1.2 billion worth of gold stored in the UK late last week, and Secretary Pompeo announced that $20 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuela will be distributed through Guaido.

US sanctions have effectively barred Maduro’s government from borrowing on international markets and targeted anyone involved in gold sales from Venezuela. Venezuela’s gold reserves are estimated at more than $8 billion, while the value of its assets in American banks is unclear.

The Trump administration further ratcheted up its pressure campaign on Maduro by announcing sanctions against Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA on Monday. The US Treasury Department seized $7 billion in PDVSA assets, and the sanctions will affect $11 billion worth of oil exports over the coming year.

Venezuelan petroleum company Citgo will continue operating in the US, but its profits will go into a blocked account, only accessible to Guaido’s government, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained.

Mnuchin added that sanctions will only be lifted upon the “expeditious transfer of control to the interim president, or the subsequently democratically elected interim government.”

Maduro has denounced the sanctions as an attempt to “steal” Citgo from Venezuela, and said that PDVSA will take legal action.

R ~ Since it is clear that we no longer have a constitutional Republic perhaps Bolton can just give Venezuela statehood. Apparently this un-elected psychopathic war monger and criminal is the next best thing to God himself and can dictate not just to the American people but the people in other nations. If Trump continues to allow this shit then I'm sorry, but he is culpable. This whole business of a 'plan' slowly evolving with Mr. 4D Chess is utter crap. All I am witnessing is more and more alligators sliding into the mire that surrounds the White House.

'Much of the Western world followed suit in recognizing Guaido and isolating Maduro.' No, that is not very precise at all. Much of the world has yet to respond. What we have is an immediate orchestrated response from officials who are in the employ of the 'Deep State'. Only a fool (or paid minions & traitors) could argue otherwise.
93
‘CNN doesn’t cover Mueller, they work for him’: Tucker Carlson on Roger Stone’s arrest

Published time: 29 Jan, 2019 17:00
source: https://www.rt.com/usa/450074-cnn-work-for-mueller-carlson/


(L) Tucker Carlson © Chris Kleponis/ZUMAPRESS.com/Global Look Press; (R) Robert Mueller © Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Fox host Tucker Carlson offered his take on CNN filming a surprise FBI raid on Roger Stone’s house, saying the channel has turned into the “PR arm” of Robert Mueller, “the single most powerful” – and unelected – man in the US.

In his latest monologue, the Fox anchor said it’s crucial to raise some questions before the arrest of Roger Stone – an associate of Donald Trump – fades from the headlines. Notably, it was almost entirely devoted to a CNN crew being conveniently present at the early-morning FBI raid on Stone’s Fort Lauderdale house.

“How did CNN know about a raid that was supposed to be a secret? Did they learn from [Robert] Mueller’s team?” Carlson asked. Shortly after the raid, which Carlson likened to “a military assault,” speculation began to spread that the network had an inside track with the FBI or Mueller’s team.

“CNN acted as the public relations arm of the Mueller investigation, as they have before,” Fox’s political commentator suggested. “The network is no longer covering [Mueller]; they’re working with [Mueller]. And you should know that as you watch it.”

Carlson was not the only one to comment on Stone’s arrest, and the way it was executed. The Feds sent more armed men to arrest the 66-year-old unarmed man than it did to kill Bin Laden in 2011, he noted.

Mueller, who is leading the Russiagate probe, “can send armed men to your home to roust you from bed at gunpoint just because he feels like it, and there’s nothing you, or anyone else, can do about it,” said Carlson.

He branded the FBI special counsel “the single most powerful person in America,” and yet “nobody voted for him… Nobody in Washington catches the irony in any of this. Mueller himself is the threat to our democracy. The most powerful man, elected by nobody.”

During Trump’s campaign, Stone boasted about having connections with WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, but later said it wasn’t a direct link. Instead, he said that he relied on New York radio host Randy Credico (referred to as “Person 2” in Thursday’s indictment) as a “go-between.”

The indictment says Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee about his alleged contacts with WikiLeaks, and tried to convince another person to give false testimony.
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Venezuela's Gold: 3 Times State Wealth in Western Banks "Mysteriously" Vanished

18:23 28.01.2019(updated 18:39 28.01.2019)
source: https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201901281071893222-fate-of-venezuelan-gold-based-on-past-history/


© Flickr / Bullion Vault

Self-proclaimed Venezuelan interim president Juan Guaido has praised the Bank of England's reported refusal to allow Caracas to repatriate $1.2 billion worth of gold bullion, branding the move a "protection of assets." Sputnik looks at a few other times Western governments and banks froze, or outright stole, the sovereign wealth of other countries.

Caracas has been waging a losing battle to get its gold back from the UK since late last year, with the Bank of England repeatedly refusing its repatriation requests, according to media reports. Last week, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt joined Britain's US allies in backing Juan Guaido, calling him "the right person to take Venezuela forward" and making the return of Venezuela's gold all the more unlikely. Over the weekend, as if on cue, Guaido praised London's decision not to return the gold.

All Part of the Job

The practice of freezing or seizing the assets of countries which somehow find themselves on the wrong side of US and European policymakers and financial interests is anything but new. A 1992 review of US extraterritorial asset freeze orders by legal scholar Rachel Gerstenhaber recounted well over a dozen cases of the US freezing or confiscating assets of countries including the likes of Iraq, Panama, Libya, Iran, South Vietnam, Cuba, Nicaragua and a bevy of former Eastern Bloc states. The list doesn't include similar moves by US allies in Western Europe, which similarly deprived countries of tens of billions of dollars in sovereign assets. For the sake of brevity, Sputnik focuses on three such cases.

Iran

The 40-year-old saga of Iran's frozen assets goes back to the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which saw revolutionaries overthrow US-backed dictator Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and the establishment of an Islamic republic. The upheaval, which included the taking of hostages at the US Embassy in Tehran, prompted Washington to cut off diplomatic relations, ban Iranian oil imports and freeze some $11 billion in assets ($35.35 billion today, accounting for inflation).

On the eve of the signing of the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), widely known as the Iran nuclear deal, in 2015, Tehran's frozen assets, including those stemming from the 1979 Revolution, as well as international nuclear-related restrictions, were estimated to amount to at least $100 billion. The chief of Iran's central bank said that only about $32 billion, a third of the total, could be released in connection with the nuclear deal.

Over three years after the JCPOA's signature, the fate of much of the wealth remains unclear. What is known is that US courts have heard multiple cases demanding the outright seizure of the Islamic Republic's wealth. This includes a 2016 ruling ordering Iranian cash to be paid to the families of US servicemen killed in the 23 October, 1983 truck bombings in Beirut, Lebanon. Tehran maintains that it had nothing to do with the act of terrorism, and has challenged the ruling with the International Court of Justice, so far unsuccessfully.

In a separate, even more outrageous ruling from 2018, a New York court ordered frozen Iranian assets to be used to compensate the victims of 9/11, despite the fact that Iran had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks and that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals.
Iraq

In the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the military planning to seize the country's strategic assets was accompanied by economic calculations to seize some $1.75 billion in Iraqi assets already frozen in US accounts.

The seizure was just the tip of the iceberg in what would become what seems like a bottomless pit of asset pilfering in the chaos which followed the invasion. In 2010, a Pentagon audit concluded that it couldn't account for some $8.7 billion in missing Iraqi oil and gas money meant for reconstruction.

Earlier, US media sporadically reported on the enthralling case of some $10-$20 billion in cash, most of it consisting of Iraqi state assets, which was shipped into Iraq in 2004 for reconstruction efforts before seemingly vanishing into thin air.

In a 2005 audit, US inspector general for Iraq reconstruction Stuart W. Bowen Jr. reported that over $8.8 billion in the funds could not be accounted for. Six years later, Bowen told Congress that US officials still hadn't accounted for some $6.6 billion in funds, and said the case could very well be "the largest theft of funds in national history."

Libya

The details of the suspected plundering of a major chunk of Libya's vast sovereign wealth fund in the aftermath of the NATO intervention to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi remain shrouded in mystery, close to eight years after the attack. In late 2018, officials from one of Libya's warring factions called on the UN Security Council to safeguard what's left of the Libyan assets still frozen in foreign accounts.

The concerns came following reports last March that some 10 billion euros (approximately $11.4 billion US) in Libyan sovereign wealth had disappeared from a Belgian bank, with just 5 billion euros of the original 16 billion euro fund remaining. Last September, a UN panel found Belgium to be in breach of asset freeze restrictions, with interest payments on some of the Libyan funds feared to have been transferred to accounts belonging to warring militias, including Islamists. Authorities from the Tripoli-based government later alleged that the United Arab Emirates were "almost certainly" behind the pilfering, saying the funds were used to support the Tobruk-based government in eastern Libya.
The scandal is just one of numerous major asset freezes and seizures by Western powers in the aftermath of Gaddafi's demise. In 2012, over a billion euros in assets belonging to Gaddafi's family and senior members of his government were seized in Italy at the request of the International Criminal Court, including stakes in major Italian companies, as well as property.

A year before that, the Obama administration froze $29.8 billion in Libyan wealth held in US banks including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and the Carlyle Group.

The assets, along with $40 billion more in funds held elsewhere, were reported to have been unfrozen in December of 2011. However, UN officials later said that only about $3 billion of that had actually reached the country "due to concerns over who the money should be released to and other diplomatic problems." In late 2018, the head of Libya's sovereign wealth fund told Reuters that the fund was planning to appoint auditors to carry out a system-wide audit of its assets in 2019 to try to unfreeze some of the billions in assets still frozen. As of late last year, an estimated 70 percent of the Libyan Investment Authority's $67 billion in assets abroad remain frozen by the UN.

Also in 2018, British lawmakers mulled pulling a US courts-style seizure of part of Libya's sovereign wealth fund to compensate victims of the Irish Republican Army, which Gaddafi is thought to have sponsored in the 1980s.
An estimated 9.5 billion pounds ($12.5 billion US) of Libya's wealth is still believed to be held in British banks. Tripoli has urged London not to go ahead with the seizure. "There is no lawful basis for the United Kingdom to seize or change ownership of the frozen LIA assets. These belong to the Libyan people," Libyan Investment Authority chief Ali Mahmoud Hassan Mohamed said in a letter addressed to the UK's Junior Foreign Minister Alistair Burt last October.

The unscrupulous use of Libyan national wealth hasn't been limited to post-Gaddafi Libya, either. Last year, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was charged with bribery and accepting some 50 million euros in illegal campaign contributions from Libya ahead of the 2007 presidential election in France. Sarkozy repaid this generosity by being one of the key advocates of the 2011 NATO attack on Libya.

Caracas's Bullion

On Sunday, Argentinian newspaper Ambito Financiero reported that Venezuelan national assembly head Juan Guaido had asked Prime Minister May and Bank of England governor Mark Carney not to return the estimated $1.2 billion in gold bullion to Caracas, despite President Maduro's requests. Earlier, in a Saturday tweet, Guaido praised the Bank's alleged refusal to allow the gold to be repatriated, writing that "the process of protecting the assets of Venezuela has begun," and saying that the opposition would "not allow more abuse and theft of money intended for food, medicine and the future of our children."

If the stories of asset freezes and seizures outlined above are anything to go by, it doesn't seem like it's going to be up to the Venezuelans to decide what Western governments and central banks do with their country's wealth.
95
The World Below / Canadian PM fires China envoy after he ‘misspoke’
« Last post by Rudi Jan on January 26, 2019, 07:08:06 PM »
Canadian PM fires China envoy after he ‘misspoke’ that Huawei CFO better not be extradited to US

Published time: 26 Jan, 2019 23:52
Edited time: 27 Jan, 2019 02:23
source: https://www.rt.com/news/449853-canada-china-ambassador-fired-huawei/


FILE PHOTO ©  Reuters / Chris Wattie

Canada’s ambassador to China has been sacked after claiming that Huawei’s CFO has a “strong case” against being extradited to the US, and suggesting that Ottawa will be better off releasing the Chinese national.

“Last night I asked for and accepted John McCallum’s resignation as Canada’s Ambassador to China,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday, without providing the reason behind the dismissal of the diplomat. Deputy head of diplomatic mission in Beijing will take over until a new ambassador is appointed.

The dismissal of ambassador McCallum, who “served Canadians honorably and with distinction,” follows his statements, seemingly defending the Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou who was arrested on December 1 in Vancouver at the request of the United States over her alleged violations of Washington’s sanctions on Iran.

I think Ms. Meng has quite a strong case

“One, political involvement by comments from [US President] Donald Trump in her case,” the diplomat told the Chinese-language media on Tuesday. "Two, there’s an extraterritorial aspect to her case, and three, there’s the issue of Iran sanctions which are involved in her case, and Canada does not sign on to these Iran sanctions.”

The now former ambassador seemingly tried to backtrack Thursday, saying he “regrets” that his comments about Meng’s case created confusion. “I misspoke,” McCallum said in a statement on Thursday, before doubling down on his unpopular opinion, which may or may have not gotten him fired.

From Canada’s point of view, if [the US] drops the extradition request, that would be great for Canada

Meng, who was granted bail last month but remains under house arrest with strict conditions, is due to start arguing her case next month in a legal battle that could drag for months. Earlier this week, the US informed Canada that it will start formal extradition proceedings. In the United States, the 46-year-old business executive faces accusations of defrauding multiple financial institutions in breach of US-imposed bans on dealing with Iran.

Beijing has repeatedly called on Canadian authorities to release the Chinese national or face “serious consequences.” China believes that her arrest is part of US attempt to diminish the Chinese tech companies’ stake on the global market amid the ongoing trade war. In the meantime, in what some believe to be retaliation, Beijing arrested two Canadians – Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a prominent consultant on North Korean business issues – on accusations of harming national security.

R ~ Too bad the former ambassador didn't have the nerve to say more. he is right. Clearly his skills in diplomacy are no match for the brilliance of our Prime Minister. I'll bet he takes that 'Prime' in the title very, very seriously. Like his suits.
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The World Below / Damascus Accuses Ankara of Breaching 1998 Agreement - Reports
« Last post by Rudi Jan on January 26, 2019, 03:04:42 PM »
Damascus Accuses Ankara of Breaching 1998 Agreement - Reports

13:43 26.01.2019(updated 16:08 26.01.2019)
source: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201901261071841365-syria-turkey-1998-agreement-breach/


© Sputnik

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently recalled the 1998 agreement with Damascus, saying the deal allows Ankara to enter Syria when it is threatened.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry reacted to the recent statement by Erdogan concerning the 1998 Adana agreement, accusing Turkey of violating the accord since 2011 by supporting terrorists and occupying Syrian territory, SANA reported, citing a representative in the ministry.

"Syria confirms that it is in compliance with the Adana Interstate Agreement on Combating Terrorism in all its forms and all agreements related to it, but the Turkish regime has been violating the agreement since 2011 up to now by sponsoring and supporting terrorism, training militants and making it easier for them to go to SAR, or through the occupation of Syrian territories with terrorist groups it controls it or directly with the help of the Turkish Armed Forces," Syrian state television quoted a source in the ministry as saying.

The ministry called on Ankara to "activate" the 1998 agreement, leaving the boundary territories in the state as they were before the beginning of the war in 2011.

The Adana agreement was signed by Syria and Turkey on October 20, 1998 and aimed to restore bilateral relations following a crisis that arose due to Syria sheltering militants linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is officially listed as a terrorist organization in Turkey.

According to the agreement, Syria had to halt PKK activities on its territory, including a ban on logistical, material and financial support for the group on its territory, as well as prohibit establishing camps, shelters and facilities for training militants. Turkey, in turn, gained the opportunity to take appropriate measures to deter the terrorist threat.

Syria, Turkey Relations Tense Amid Plans for New Ankara Op in Manbij

Tensions between the two sides of the Adana agreement recently flared up, as Turkey mulled over a new operation against Kurdish-held areas of Syria after its military success in Afrin.

Damascus is negotiating with the Kurds, who are seeking support amid Ankara's military plans.

Erdogan, in turn, recently emphasised that Turkey should have control "in the field" and is not open to other suggestions.

Prior to that, Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the Turkish Army was ready to start an offensive against Kurdish forces on the eastern bank of the Euphrates at the earliest opportunity. However, after talks with US President Donald Trump, who informed his Turkish counterpart of plans to withdraw US troops from Syria, Erdogan shelved his plans, saying that the offensive would be launched only after the US forces' complete pullout.
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The World Below / Trump announces deal ending longest-ever government shutdown
« Last post by Rudi Jan on January 25, 2019, 11:47:59 AM »
Trump announces deal ending longest-ever government shutdown

Published time: 25 Jan, 2019 19:18
Edited time: 25 Jan, 2019 20:13
source: http://


© Reuters/ Kevin Lamarque

US President Donald Trump has announced a deal to reopen the government after more than 34 days, the longest shutdown in US history – without getting a commitment for his proposed border wall.

“In a short while, I will sign a bill to open our government for three weeks,” he said on Friday in the White House Rose Garden, adding that lawmakers would work over this time on a more permanent solution to the border crisis.

Trump said he believed that Democrats and Republicans are willing to put their partisanship aside to “put the security of the American people first.”

The president thanked federal workers and their families for “their devotion in the face of hardship.”  Some 800,000 government employees were left without their paycheck for a month with many still having to work.

Although Trump didn't reveal any details of the deal, he talked extensively in his address about the proposed border wall, giving arguments for its construction.

The president expanded on the acts that may be committed by criminals coming into the country over the border, from dealing drugs to assaults on women. He said that cartels, transnational gangs, and human traffickers are “brazenly violating US laws and terrorizing innocent communities.”

If Congress does not produce a fair deal over the next three weeks, Trump said, the government will either shut down again on February 15, or he will use the emergency powers given to him by the Constitution to address the emergency on the border.

Following the president’s speech both House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said on the Senate floor they would work together, focusing on areas where both parties are in agreement.

Trump said he would “own the shutdown” during the talks with congressional Democrats in December. After the Senate Democrats blocked the proposal approved by the Republican-led House giving $5.7 billion for the wall, the government entered a partial shutdown on December 22. At over 34 days, it is the longest-ever interruption of government services in US history.

During the shutdown, Trump toured the border, addressed the nation from the Oval Office, and even had a draft of the emergency declaration prepared – according to reports – but decided not to use it.

Democrats have repeatedly vowed they will never authorize any funding for the border wall, ever. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) went so far as to dis-invite Trump from delivering the State of the Union speech until the government reopens. Trump’s proposed compromise, which would include a wall “downpayment” in exchange for some protections for immigrants brought into the US illegally, was shot down before it was made public.
98
General / Trump, Pence, Pompeo star in the Pirates of the Caribbean
« Last post by Rudi Jan on January 24, 2019, 10:14:24 AM »
Act of gangsterism against Venezuela: Trump, Pence, Pompeo star in the Pirates of the Caribbean

George Galloway
Published time: 24 Jan, 2019 13:17
Edited time: 24 Jan, 2019 17:10
source: https://www.rt.com/op-ed/449597-venezuela-maduro-us-trump/


Opposition supporters, Caracas, Venezuela, January 23, 2019 © Reuters /Carlos Garcia Rawlins

You could scour the bowels of US imperial crimes, from the Mexican-American War to the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam, and you won’t find a more brazen cynical act of gangsterism than that which is now underway against Venezuela.

Not since Hitler justified blitzing Poland by claiming it had encroached on the frontier into Nazi Germany has a more blatant set of falsehoods been adduced as a pretext for conflict.

In Venezuela, it will quickly become a civil war that will most likely draw in other countries from Cuba to Colombia and Brazil (as I previously predicted here) with incalculable consequences – not least for the world’s oil prices.

Discerning readers will already be aware that Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves and is a major producer – and the biggest seller to the American market.

This is not about Maduro, the former bus driver-turned-foreign minister who is now the elected president of Venezuela. If it were, I’d waste my time critiquing his period in office. It’s not about Maduro because the US had been seeking to overthrow his predecessor Hugo Chavez for more than a decade before this. Even though Chavez was one of the most electorally successful politicians on the planet in a democratic process described by former US president Jimmy Carter as “the best in the world,” US presidents Bush, Obama and Trump routinely called him a dictator.

Before they drop the bombs, they drop the narrative, of course. And the disinformation bombardment in Venezuela has been one of the longest bombing runs in history. Massive sums of US money have been spent on media distortion, subversion, sabotage, military coups, and threats of invasion throughout the Chavez-Maduro era. The gold-toothed Venezuelan emigres who fled to Miami with their ill-gotten gains have long been effectively a coup in the making. The recruitment of neighboring Colombia into “associate membership” of NATO, the propeling of Brazil’s Bolsonaro (another NATO applicant) to power, and plans for US military bases there have all been in preparation for this day.

Although many such crimes have been committed across all continents for centuries by the US, none have constituted such comic-opera gangsterism as this latest – more ‘Bugsy Malone’ than ‘The Godfather.’

An almost random figure whose name was largely unknown until this week has disdained to put himself up for election as president of the republic, instead pronouncing himself to actually be the president, and has even sworn himself in! All the “experts” on Syria, Ukraine and Russia are scrambling to studios, practicing in the taxi how to say his name.

And the “international community” recognizes Juan Guaido. This includes US, Canada and assorted American satrapies across the world. They will likely soon be joined by the so-called democratic European Union, NATO and almost certainly the UK. It is a new form, to be sure – usually the hated Latin American presidents are dead, like Allende in Chile, or have fled or been jailed before the coup de grace is delivered.

But Trump is in a hurry.

As investigations come ever closer to the Trump syndicate, as the clock ticks towards impeachment or defeat in 2020, as the war-cell of Bolton and company screech for a victory, somewhere, anywhere, it has come to this. It is a “Wag the Dog” war, and it’s coming to your screens soon – today in fact.
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Could it be intended this way to draw out the very class of people demanding truth & justice? Is it not one of the oldest games in the book. Heck, Vietnam was as much an opportunity for them to cut 'us' out of the picture than it was anything about some SE Asian country.
100
Al Jazeera reporting today w cover piece on Kurd politics and review of active Israeli interests. Providing more headaches for Assad than he can handle seems to be the core strategy, such as with the four dead Americans yesterday.  They've got the Kurds thinking they have some kind of an upper hand going downtown and watch out how fairly peaceful Damascus can suddenly get the Aleppo shakes.  Putin had better set Erdogan straight or there goes Syria again.
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