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Business as Usual: Washington’s Regime Change Strategy in Venezuela

Garry Leech via GreanvillePost, Nov 23rd 2018

For those who have been following Venezuela closely in recent years there is a distinct sense of déjà vu regarding US foreign policy towards that South American nation. This is because Washington’s strategy of regime change in Venezuela is almost identical to the approach it has taken in Latin America on numerous occasions since World War Two. This strategy involves applying economic sanctions, extensive support for the opposition, and destabilization measures that create a sufficient degree of human suffering and chaos to justify a military coup or direct US military intervention. Because this strategy has worked so well for the United States for more than half a century, our elected leaders see no reason not to use it regarding Venezuela. In other words, from Washington’s perspective, its regime change policies towards Venezuela constitute business as usual in Latin America.

Despite US rhetoric, this regime change strategy does not take into account whether or not a government is democratically elected or the human rights consequences of such interventions. In fact, virtually all of the Latin American governments that the United States has successfully overthrown over the past 65 years were democratically elected. Among the democratically-elected leaders that have been ousted were Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala (1954), Salvador Allende in Chile (1973), Jean Bertrand Aristide in Haiti (2004) and Manuel Zelaya in Honduras (2009). Washington targeted all these leaders with economic sanctions and destabilization campaigns that created the economic chaos and humanitarian crises required to justify a military solution.

The common denominator in all those cases had nothing to do with democracy or human rights, it was the fact that those elected governments had the audacity to challenge US interests in the region. The fact that a Latin American government might prioritize the interests of its own people over US needs is unacceptable in Washington. This attitude was exhibited by CIA director George Tenet during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in February 2002 when he arrogantly declared that Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez “probably doesn’t have the interests of the United States at heart.” Two months later, Washington supported a military coup that attempted to overthrow the Venezuelan leader.

The failed military coup was the first major US-backed attempt to oust President Chavez following his election victory in 1998. Following the coup, Washington continued its efforts to install a government in Venezuela that would have the “interests of the United States at heart.” It ramped up its support for opposition groups through increased funding for USAID programs in the country with the objective of turning people against the government. Wikileaks published a classified cable sent from the US embassy in Venezuela to Washington in 2006 that stated USAID funding for local programs seeks to influence community leaders by “moving them slowly away from Chavismo.” The cable also declared that the embassy’s broader objectives include “Isolating Chavez internationally.”

In 2015, President Obama signed a presidential order ludicrously stating that Venezuela posed an “extraordinary threat to the national security” of the United States. The order was required under US law for the Obama administration to impose sanctions. Two years later, President Donald Trump stated that he would not rule out a “military option” for Venezuela. He also intensified the sanctions in order to make it more difficult for the government to address the country’s economic crisis. According to economist Mark Weisbrot:

The sanctions do their damage primarily by prohibiting Venezuela from borrowing or selling assets in the US financial system. They also prohibit CITGO, the US-based fuel industry company that is owned by the Venezuelan government, from sending dividends or profits back to Venezuela. In addition, if Venezuela wanted to do a debt restructuring, so as to reduce debt service during the current crisis, it would be unable to do this because it wouldn’t be able to issue new bonds.

Because the sanctions prohibit Venezuela’s state-owned company CITGO from sending its profits home, the Venezuelan government is losing $1 billion a year in revenues.

Ultimately, the sanctions are imposing greater hardship on the Venezuelan people because, as Weisbrot notes, they “exacerbate shortages of food, medicine, and other essential goods while severely limiting the policy options available to pull the country out of a deep depression.”

Earlier this month, President Trump turned the screws even more by signing an executive order imposing sanctions on gold exports from Venezuela. The South American nation contains one of the world’s largest gold reserves and has turned to selling some of its gold as a means of addressing the economic crisis. One week after Trump issued his decree, Britain complied with the new sanctions by refusing to handover 14 tons of gold bars worth $550 million to Venezuela. This gold belongs to Venezuela and is simply being stored in the vaults of the Bank of England. As is the case with CITGO’s profits, Venezuela simply wants what is rightfully its own.

The fact that the United States and Britain feel they have the right to decide what Venezuela can and cannot do with its own assets and reserves illustrates the imperialist arrogance of these two nations. These latest US sanctions and Britain’s refusal to hand over Venezuela’s gold further restricts the Venezuelan government’s capacity to address the country’s economic crisis.

And then, earlier this week, it was revealed that the Trump administration is considering adding Venezuela to the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, which would automatically trigger even harsher sanctions. Labeling Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism is as ludicrous as Obama declaring the country to be an “extraordinary threat” to US national security. One US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, admitted that it would be very difficult to provide any proof that Venezuela sponsors terrorism. That is because it doesn’t! But the US has never needed proof to intervene in another country, with Iraq and its supposed weapons of mass destruction being the obvious example. Such a move also illustrates the lengths to which Washington is willing to go to demonize and bully weaker countries that refuse to play by its rules.

US regime change policies are being coordinated with the opposition in Venezuela, which mostly consists of the country’s wealthy elites who ran the country prior to the election of Hugo Chavez. The socialist policies of former President Chavez and current President Nicolas Maduro have infringed on the privileges enjoyed by these domestic elites and by foreign oil companies. In response, the country’s wealthy opposition, who still dominate economic activity, have sought to sabotage the economy by scaling back production and by exporting much-needed basic necessities to neighboring Colombia.

Despite its wealth and economic power, the Venezuelan opposition needs the support of the most powerful nation in the world because it cannot win at the ballot box. Since 1998, in election after election, Venezuelans have overwhelmingly supported presidents Chavez and Maduro at the polls. These elections have been monitored by international observers and have repeatedly been deemed free and fair. One famous election observer, former US President Jimmy Carter, stated:

As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”

The US mainstream media is playing its customary and crucial propaganda role with regard to Venezuela by ensuring that the public only hears the official Washington narrative. This narrative seeks to demonize the Venezuelan government and has repeatedly labeled Chavez and Maduro as “undemocratic,” “authoritarian” and, ludicrously, as “dictators.” The media has also focused attention on food shortages and a “humanitarian crisis” that is resulting in Venezuelans leaving the country rather than the incredible social achievements in poverty reduction, education, housing for the poor and participatory democracy.

Meanwhile, the fact that more than five million people in neighboring Colombia were forcibly displaced from their homes by violence over the past couple of decades barely registered a blip on the mainstream media radar. Nor has the fact that more than 4,000 indigenous Wayuu children have died from malnutrition in Northern Colombia over the past decade. We don’t hear about these humanitarian crises because the Colombian government is a friendly regime that serves US interests—as are many other authoritarian allies whose human rights violations are conveniently ignored by the mainstream media.

As mentioned earlier, Washington’s regime change strategy in Venezuela is nothing new. In fact, it is virtually a carbon copy of previous regime change efforts in Latin America. One classic example occurred in Chile after socialist candidate Salvador Allende was elected president in 1970. The Nixon administration’s National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger foreshadowed the arrogance that CIA director Tenet would exhibit decades later when he made his thoughts on the election clear:

I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

And so, the Nixon administration set about destabilizing the country with policies that sought to, as one cabinet member stated, “make the Chilean economy scream.”

For 18 months, the CIA clandestinely funded businesses, shop owners and truck drivers to shut down and go on strike, successfully making the “economy scream” by causing hardships for the Chilean people who had to endure mass shortages of basic necessities. Declassified documents reveal that the United States also provided funding and weapons to opposition groups in Chile while CIA operatives worked with Chilean military officers who were planning a coup to overthrow President Allende. By 1973, Chile had been destabilized sufficiently to justify a military coup. Once in power, the coup leader, General Augusto Pinochet, reversed many of Allende’s policies that had hurt the interests of the country’s elites and US corporations. He also ruled Chile as a dictator for the next 18 years with Washington’s backing as he turned the country into a human rights catastrophe.

A similar process unfolded in Haiti following the election of Catholic priest Jean Bertrand Aristide to the presidency in 2000. His political party Fanmi Lavalas was by far the most popular in Haiti and gained a significant majority in the country’s parliament. As the elected leader of the hemisphere’s most impoverished country, Aristide implemented policies that benefitted the poor in the areas of healthcare, education and low-cost housing. He also doubled the minimum wage, which infringed on the profits garnered by US, Canadian and French companies operating in the country.

Washington and its imperialist allies responded by imposing economic sanctions on Haiti while simultaneously funding opposition groups in the country. USAID managed much of the opposition funding and actively campaigned against the raising of the minimum wage. Aristide also faced a campaign of violence waged by paramilitary groups that were funded by France and Haiti’s economic elites. Declassified documents revealed that these armed groups also maintained a relationship with the United States.

In 2004, with the country reduced to chaos following three years of economic sanctions and paramilitary violence, the United States, Canada and France deployed troops to Haiti to overthrow the government. US Marines seized President Aristide and his wife in the presidential palace and transported them to the international airport, which had been secured by Canadian troops. The Haitian president was forced to resign from office and flown with his wife to Africa.

The United States then installed a Haitian businessman who lived in Miami as the new unelected president. With the country existing under foreign military occupation, the new president reversed most of the policies implemented by Aristide, imprisoned thousands of opponents and banned Fanmi Lavalas, the most popular political party in the country.

The current US foreign policy towards Venezuela clearly replicates policies implemented in past decades that successfully ousted governments in Latin America. From Washington’s perspective, it makes perfect sense to implement policies that undermine a democratically-elected government in order to achieve regime change when that government prioritizes the needs of its own people over those of the US economy and multinational corporations.

The strategy worked in Chile. It worked in Haiti. And it also worked in the other aforementioned Latin American countries. The United States has no qualms about undermining democracy and imposing economic hardships on Latin Americans yet again, this time with the Venezuelan people the target in order to achieve regime change in that country. After all, a country isn’t democratic unless its government has “the interests of the United States at heart.”

Garry Leech is an independent journalist and author of numerous books including Ghosts Within: Journeying Through PTSD (Roseway Publishing, Forthcoming, Spring 2019); Capitalism: A Structural Genocide (Zed Books, 2012); The FARC: The Longest Insurgency (Zed Books, 2011); and Beyond Bogotá: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia(Beacon Press, 2009). He also teaches international politics at Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia, Canada.

45 Comments

  1. Frankly Speaking says

    I wonder how many of the contributers here are truly working class, grafting hard for a living?

    My guess is that most here are well-intentioned, well-educated people, however, they probably do not struggle from day to day merely to survive.

    Theories and even revolutions are often welcome, but only if they actually feed all of the people, not impoverish them, nor send them, to an early grave as most, if not all, Marxist and similar experiments have managed so far.

    Indeed, the Marxists and Leninists and Stalinists are arguably as destructive for the “commoner “as the rapcious neoliberals at the other extreme of politics, possibly far worse. Well-intentioned Champaign Socialists are not the answer to the travails of our western societies.

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  2. Grafter says

    Why are we sitting here watching these American criminals destroying one country after another in the name of “national security” or “terrorist threats” ? Here in the UK we have the disgusting little Tory war mongering party with the odious creature May falling over themselves to support this American scum. Is it not now patently obvious what their game is, to support the deranged psychopaths in their quest for yet more wealth and power ? Their blatant theft, deceit and corruption is a dangerous cancer which by our indifference to past and recent events threatens our very existence on this small planet. We need to make sure their days are numbered.

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    • mark says

      Theresa “Je Suis Juif” May, Boris “I Am A Fervent Zionist” Johnson, Manny “Rothschild” Macron, Angela “Hope The CIA Isn’t Listening” Merkel, Justin “Pretty Boy” Trudeau, are all just pathetic, cringing satraps of their Washington handlers. None of these people are fit to be elected dog catcher. That they become political leaders at all tells you all you need to know about the systems they represent.

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  3. Frankly Speaking says

    The US will ensure a regime change in Venezuela, that’s for sure.

    Had Chavez still been alive today, this may not be happening. He was the Venezuelan Castro, perhaps even smarter.

    Marxism needs to be able to FEED all the people, all of the time, and keep them all in relative prosperity, otherwise the machinations of the fascists are made much easier.

    In the meantime, the ONLY alternative to rapacious neoliberal capitalism and which has been PROVEN to work successfully for numerous decades is the kind of mixed economies prevalent in Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and Austria.

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    • One of the main reasons Scandinavian mixed economies are possible, is because they haven’t been aggressively sabotaged from abroad. Any leader in the third world espousing the same mixed-economy policies that are implemented is Scandinavia, would end up dead in a ditch.

      One reason social democracy historically was tolerated in Scandinavia, has to do with the Cold War and the need to counter the Soviet Union, where the Scandinavian Social Democrats were the most ruthless and effective anti-communists.

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      • Frankly Speaking says

        You are disingenuous towards the highly civilised Scandinavian peoples. You give them no credit for what they have achieved. Scandinavian societies have the community at their heart. Their winters are harsh, their geography unforgiving, they’ve learned to coooperate. They are extremely egalitarian societies. I’d go as far as saying that they are the true communists in the original meaning of communal cooperation.

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        • There are plenty of egalitarian and cooperative societies all around the world that would be fully able to create great places to live – with long winters or without long winters.

          I am simplifying, but the Scandinavian social democrats made a deal with the devil, an option which is not open for people who want to reform capitalism similarly in the third world.

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    • Makropulos says

      “rapacious neoliberal capitalism” is another term for capitalism. These “mixed economies” are intolerable to the constant drive for maximising profit which is the essence of capitalism. That is why all such “mixed economies” are only a stop-gap strategy to stave off revolution and such economies are only possible in the occasions when there is a booming economy of the kind that happened when 50s America was leading the world economically. Those days are now gone, the drive for profit of course continues and there will be no “nice capitalists” to propose mixing anything.

      Meanwhile feel free to push as many capitalized letters as you need to convince yourself that you know THE TRUTH.

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      • Frankly Speaking says

        Makro, your dislike for social democracy and your eagerness for revolution come across strongly. Revolutions only favour the revolutionaries. Extremism of the right and left create a win-lose situation rather than a win-win.

        You are also disingenuous towards the highly civilised Scandinavian peoples. You give them no credit for what they have achieved and you seem to dismiss it as an aberration, a temporary fleeting moment. Scandinavian societies have the community at their heart. Their winters are harsh, their geography unforgiving, they’ve learned to coooperate. They are extremely egalitarian societies.

        I’d go as far as saying that they are the true communists and they have also learnt that capitalism that’s regulated, kept on a tight leash, and taxed highly, is a great mechanism for redistributing wealth and benefiting everyone in their society. It’s a win.

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        • Constantine says

          First, neoliberal policies are slowly being implemented in Scandinavia. Not that they will be transformed overnight, but it is certainly telling that for no good reason a ”socialist” fraud or a social-democrat Prime Minister, if you prefer, initiated the process of bringing private shareholders in Norway’s state-owned oil company. He also backed the destruction of Libya and Syria. That would be Jens Stoltenberg who has been rewarded with the post of the General Secretary of NATO.

          Further, you must understand that if/when Latin American politicians with the best intentions attempt to implement Scandinavian socialist policies (as these stood in the 70s-80s), the US reaction is predictably hostile. And that is the case of Venezuela and Nicaragua.

          Whatever faults said governments may have, they don’t justify the massive destabilization and social degradation of the countries involved. This has to do with the unending subterfuge they suffer from US agencies and their local compradores. So stop repeating the Scandinavian paradigm as if this would save the victims of Washington’s rapacious aggression in other countries.

        • Makropulos says

          Constantine has made the point that even in supposedly more egalitarian societies like this Scandinavian model that you keep harping on about are themselves under assault from global capitalism.

          My “dislike for social democracy” comes from the fact that I have lived – as we all have – under this label for my entire life and I see it now as a fraud. Oh yes it would be truly marvellous if we could carry on with this dream of a fair and balanced society where we can just avoid this extreme and that – but this was clearly never the case. Capitalism by its very nature generates constant change, instability, a ferocious appetite to conquer more and more. The only way that this lovely little illusion of “social democracy “ was possible at all was due to a never-to-be-repeated fortuitous situation pertaining to the West after WW2. And in any case this “social democracy” was only ever about getting to vote every now and then for parties who become increasingly indistinguishable from each other because the ones with the real power are the ones who hold the money. Who cares what rights you have when you can’t get a job and the social safety net finally collapses?

          The dream is over. The nightmare begins. And while you and your little “heartland socialists” are telling us not to be “extreme”, the ground is moving under us all the time.

  4. mark says

    There may be well over 30 million undocumented illegal immigrants in the US, around 10% of the population. This is no alt-right fantasy, but a realistic and possibly conservative figure. Most of these are South American “beaners” and “wetbacks.” Trump’s “Beaner Wall” (if it is ever built) isn’t going to keep them out.

    The gringos are finally getting their come uppance. The US fought a particularly smelly war of aggression against Mexico in the 1840s, enabling it to steal vast territories in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and elsewhere having already stolen Texas a decade previously. This accounts for something approaching half the land area of the US.

    Over 100 years of wars, interventions, coups, economic warfare and exploitation, destabilisation campaigns, subversion and support for dictatorships have reduced South America to its current state. Hundreds of thousands of Central American peasants were slaughtered by US trained and orchestrated death squads in Guatemala, El Salvador and elsewhere. Those countries were destroyed beyond repair. A genocidal proxy terrorist campaign was waged against Nicaragua for many years. Millions of those people have sought refuge in the belly of the beast that destroyed their countries, just as Europe is now experiencing a similar brown tidal wave from the destroyed countries of the Middle East, with by products like Brexit, Le Pen, Wilders, AFD, Santini and Orban.

    Southern California is already de facto part of Mexico. Florida, Texas, and much of the southern border very soon will be. Brown America, Spanish America, The Reconquista. This already has a Central American character, speak Spanish please, no gringos needed, welcome to the Third World. Pigeons coming home to roost. The price that has to be paid for the original sins of aggression and exploitation.

    What goes around, comes around. Couldn’t happen to nicer people.

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    • Frankly Speaking says

      Great post Mark.
      I believe we can extend your argument to Britain and our payback time due for all the pillaging of our colonies.

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      • mark says

        I don’t believe in breast beating for its own sake, and I think people like Blair apologising for slavery just display their own megalomania. What’s done is done and you can’t expect today’s Mongolians to go around apologising for the bloodthirsty antics of Genghis Khan or today’s Turks for the Ottoman Empire.

        But it is true that whoever happens to come out on top (western countries over the past 500 years) tend to have a lot of blood on their hands. In Belgium you see a lot of old public buildings Leopold built with the loot from his Belgian Congo Heart of Darkness, with 10 million dead, about half the population of Central Africa, from 1890-1910. Likewise most of the UK’s National Trust country houses that we visit at weekends, were built on the back of slavery. Something well over 100 million Native Americans were slaughtered in North and South America by the Spaniards, Portuguese, French, Dutch, British, and the newly independent USA. The French in Algeria, the Italians in Libya, the Germans in Tanzania and Namibia, all committed genocides, and there are many other examples. In Australia, aborigines were hunted for sport by the colonists, with women organising picnics to watch all the fun.

        That’s the main problem I have with the holocaust. The only reason there are holocaust museums in every street and every other day is a holocaust remembrance day is that the victims were white. How many Hollywood extravaganzas have been produced about the Congo Holocaust or the Libya Holocaust or the Algeria Holocaust or the Armenia Holocaust?

    • DunGroanin says

      America is a country originated in slavery, conquest and explotation – that is all it has ever been. That is their dream and modus. It is even written into their constitution.

      They have never stopped importing slaves, willing and unwilling and in modernity who have nowhere else to go.
      They are encouraged by glitz, war and poverty. That is how to get rich!

      Nobody leaves their ancestral home unless they are forced to.

      Nothing is coming home to roost. The poor are kept poor and fighting between themselves. Oppression is rife as are ghettos and summary judicial killing and imprisonment.

      That is what 200 years of unfettered American brutality has set forth with its military might, out of it’s once beautiful and unspoilt continent, into the whole planet to feed it’s rapacious greed.

      The population is blinded and disenfranchised. Unregistered slave workers don’t get the vote! Why would the bossman ever want to change that?

      When they drop dead there will always be more.

    • Frankly Speaking says

      True, but thankfully there still exist a few tens of millions of extremely decent Americans who are painfully aware of the corruption and pillaging of both the Republicans and Democrats.

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  5. But not business as usual for The Man from Uncle in Turkey:

    The George Soros Open Society Institute announced on Monday that the foundation is halting its operations inside Turkey, the Reuters News Agency reported. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the billionaire George Soros of attempting to cause strife in his country and destroy other nations.

    The Soros Foundation called Erdogan’s allegations “baseless claims” [like the “baseless claims” of Viktor Orban who closed down the Open Society in Hungary?]

    • Frankly Speaking says

      Is Soros relocating those funds to Ukraine I wonder?

  6. summitflyer says

    “Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez “probably doesn’t have the interests of the United States at heart.””
    Washington can say this with a straight face ???
    I would have thought it glaringly obvious that Venezuela’s interest lie with the country of Venezuela .These guys have been smoking some bad $hit .
    Also they must be pumping a lot of dollars into Ecuador right ,greasing palms etc. ,now in order to get there grubby hands on Assange.
    So criminally responsible for strangling the Venezuelan economy but yet point the finger at the Venezuelan government for not providing essential goods to the citizens .I doesn’t get much more criminal than that .

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    • mark says

      It’s like the way they shed oceans of tears about the hardships and sufferings of North Koreans and Iranians under those evil regimes who don’t have the interests of Wall Street at heart. Or how they want to bring freedom and democracy and all things bright and beautiful to the people of Iraq, by strangling the economy so that 500,000 children under 5 die from sanctions, 1991-2003, “a price worth paying.” Or Tilllerson gloating how sanctions are forcing DPRK fishermen to take risks to feed their people with a lot of them drowning. Or the repulsive and reptilian Pompeo telling the Iranians they have to follow Washington’s orders if they don’t want to starve.

      I’m sure that many Americans are decent people, but this will only finally come to and end when they have to watch their own children starve and die in front of them for lack of basic medicine, and they finally realise what they have inflicted on so many hundreds of millions of people for so long. Like the Germans starving and freezing in the rubble of their ruined cities in 1945. That is what it will take. But it may be coming sooner than anyone expects.

      You can’t export war, terrorism, mayhem, misery and destitution a la Bush/ Blair/ Cameron/ Sarkozy/ Obama/ Trump and expect to remain immune to it yourself. You end up with Mad Max failed states like Libya on your doorstep with its marauding warlords and slave markets. No Trump Wall or coastguard can keep them out. We see the results now, Terrorism, real and fabricated, and the mass surveillance of a national security state. You can argue about how much these policies have contributed to Brexit, Trump’s election, and the growth of populist parties across the length and breadth of Europe. We don’t know yet what their final results will finally be, like ripples in a pond.

  7. And in Syria likewise, it’s business as usual by the Man (and Woman) from Uncle:

    4 Days ago SyrPer editorial reported that French President Emmanuel (“God help U$) Macron’s Micro-Military so-called Intelligence service had sent a team of French terrorist so-called “experts” in Chemical Weapons to Idlib in Syria to modify the warheads of NATZO-supplied missiles possessed mostly the Hay`at Tahreer Al-Shaam criminal organization. And sure enough, yesterday NATZO & The Jihadis rained Chlorine onto Northern Aleppo.

    If the photo below is valid, it seems to have been a combined ops with French military “advising” the locals and Germany supplying the poison gas (like The Man from Uncle & Soddem Hussein did against Iran, only that time it was Sarin and this time it is Chlorine). As the Germans say, Gaskrieg ‘R Uns. The Germans even signed their cylinders: Merck[el].
    Photo courtesy of Veterans Today

    https://i0.wp.com/www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/ScreenHunter-568.jpg?resize=663%2C369&ssl=1

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    • Recent Chemical Bombing Of Aleppo City does not outrage the Tightly Controlled Western Democracies:

  8. Molloy says

    .

    Excellent piece.

    Where is a competent public lawyer when you need one?

    “A crime of aggression, under which politicians and military leaders can be held individually responsible for invasions and other major attacks, comes into force at the international criminal court, reviving global legal powers last exercised at the Nuremburg and Tokyo war crimes trials of the 1940s.”

    Claims alleging that armed force has been used against the “sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence” of another state can, from Tuesday, be taken to the tribunal in The Hague.
    . . . . would also (jurisprudence obvs) include duress/coercion/blackmail. (They use proxies to inflict physical violence and killing.)

    Sláinte

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  9. I’m waiting for Corbyn to denounce the illegal western sanctions against the Venezuelan people – I just won’t hold my breath.

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    • DunGroanin says

      Wait till he is PM.

      Can’t make a blind bit of difference about anything until he is.

      In the meantime it is our choice, to make it a issue in the media, most people on the MSM teat have no idea what the fuck the issue is, as long as the eyecandy and serious white (mostly) guys and girls on the news are not making it one.

      I don’t mean here, but with colleagues, friends, social groups. As informed banter not as some swivel eyed commie terrorist loving loon obviously. 👹

  10. wardropper says

    Like so many articles here, this is an excellent summary of what is wrong.
    But we’ve reached a point where this is all pretty obvious to anyone who is awake.
    Sadly, how few of us are awake today…
    The only important question remaining is, how can we take serious steps to awaken our fellow human being?
    All the tools which were once available to us have been commandeered by the enemy, an enemy who has the presumption to call himself our “representative” in government…

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    • wardropper says

      I’m thinking here of “The House of What Used to be Representatives”, for example…

    • Frankly Speaking says

      As I’ve pointed out elsewhere on OG, our natural tendency is to over-correct, and then we end up with extremism on the opposite end of the political spectrum. That’s not the answer because, well, so far, it’s been proven to fail at every attempt, sooner or later. Humans on both far right and far left of the political spectrum end up abusing their powers and quickly become corrupt, it’s a human trait.

      Marxism does not work, despite it being a great concept. The ONLY alternative to rapacious neoliberal capitalism, and which has been PROVEN to work successfully for numerous decades, are the kind of mixed economies prevalent in Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and Austria. Private enterprise is encourages withpout it being overly exploitative whilst relatively high taxation redistributes wealth to those less capable of looking after themselves.

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      • Socialism is a proven success. That’s why the capitalists set out to destroy any example of it.

        • Frankly Speaking says

          I am a socialist of the traditional Labour heartland variety, working class, got the scars on my hands and back. Marxists would get “kicked out of town” because they would be seen as either remote and aloof academics or else as rabble rousing trouble-makers.

          We knew/know that free enterprise is also needed in the economy. The Scandinavian model is proven to work and provides a win-win whereas neoliberalism and Marxism result in an unstable big win-big lose situation.

        • Frankly Speaking says

          Jag, there’s a difference between Social Democrats and Marxists. Social democracy is proven to work, Marxism isn’t.

          • I don’t have a clue of what you mean when you refer to ‘Marxism’ . Old Karls major work was to critique capitalism.

            Usually when people use the social democrat label, they mean the bastard Keynesianism of the post war settlement.

            You seem very keen to tie discussions up in meaningless semantics.

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            • Frankly Speaking says

              “meaningless semantics”
              Not really, I think I’ve evolved from remote Ivory Tower utopia in my days as a student, onwards to the tough realities of life, of trying to survive and provide for a family. Marxism is nice thinking, but at the moment it will not place bread, milk and fish fingers on my family dining table!

              • Makropulos says

                I can’t think of anything more utopian and “Ivory Tower” than the “pure” economics of capitalism. As the late Samir Amin said:

                ““Pure” economics is not a theory of the real world, of really existing capitalism, but of an imaginary capitalism . It is not even a rigorous theory of the latter. The bases and developments of the arguments do not deserve to be qualified as coherent. It is only a para-science, closer in fact to sorcery than to the natural sciences that it pretend to imitate.”

                • That’s a fairly stupid generalisation. There are many schools of economics. Only a fool would ignore it.

      • Makropulos says

        No FS, private enterprise becomes ever more powerful and pressurises governments more and more to privatise further leading to ever larger concentrations of wealth and increasing impoverishment for a greater and greater number. That is how capitalism “works”.

        Hey – but let’s not talk about that. Let’s spout psychobabble about how “we” tend to go to extremes. And better still let’s keep CAPITALIZING!

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        • Frankly Speaking says

          I’ve lived and worked for many years in those countries I’ve listed and speak from personal experience. I don’t recognise what you say as applying to those countries. You’re rightly pointing out the failure of neoliberalism and corporatism, i don’t disagree, but other models and countries exist.

          • Makropulos says

            I’m sure that “other models and countries exist” but let’s talk about the actual countries we are living in. In the US and UK there has been a “mixed economy” for the duration of our lives – well, certainly for the duration of mine. This “mixed economy” was the product of a long hard struggle and it depended on concessions e.g. the welfare state – which was indispensible for creating the image of capitalism “with a friendly face”. But this “fair and balanced” society is clearly on the way out. You may blame “neoliberalism” but the question remains: how to restore a “fair” society – assuming of course that we had one.

            I’m afraid that that frightfully intemperate Marxist Leon Trotksy had a point when he said that the ruling class has never yielded as much as an inch unless it was being held by the throat. It was precisely such “extreme” methods that granted the existence of such “mixed societies”. Let’s face it: it is they who are holding us by the throat now. And I think it is going to take more than socialism “of the traditional Labour heartland variety” to put things right.

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  11. James Connolly says

    As ever, these unprovoked crimes against democratic sovereign states occur in plain sight without a whisper of condemnation from liberal western media and politicians. As Harold Pinter said in his nobel acceptance speech in 2005, so far as mainstream media and politicians are concerned, there have never been any such crimes. Even as they were happening they weren’t happening.

    https://youtu.be/PH96tuRA3L0

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  12. Thomas Turk says

    As the Chinoise and Russkies get more involved in Ven.. as of right now.. the Mad Murikans will find it much more difficult/impossible to steal the oil fields and gold mines.

    • wardropper says

      An amazing thought, that the criminals currently running Washminster might actually end up unemployed, and have to take up something useful, like violin playing, instead…
      AFTER they have served their time, of course.

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