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Venezuela: Guardian sparing neocon blushes

Kit Knightly

This website started as a way to air opinions that The Guardian would not allow in their comments section. Over time it evolved into fact-checking. Rarely has it been so simple. This is The Guardian’s latest story on the unfolding crisis in Venezuela, it is headlined:

Venezuela: Maduro accuses US of trying to ‘get hands on our oil’

That headline is technically true. Nicolas Maduro – the beseiged Venezuelan President and the MSM’s current “monster of the week” – did accuse the USA of wanting to control Venezuela’s vast crude oil deposits. He cited Iraq and Libya as recent examples of similar behaviour.

What The Guardian did NOT mention is that John Bolton, Donald Trump’s neocon National Security Advisor, admitted that Maduro was right. He told Fox Business that Venezuela’s oil was a big motivation for Trump’s admin:

We’re in conversation with major american companies now…I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here…it will make a BIG difference to the American economy if we could have American oil companies invest in, and produce, Venezuela’s oil capabilities.”

There you have it – straight from the Walrus’ mouth. The US is interested in Venezuela’s oil. He also refered to it as a “big business opportunity”. (Here is a second link to it, just in case Fox News decided to take the (embarrassing) admission off their website.)

This fact clashes with the false narrative The Guardian, and their co-conspirators in the media, are trying to push on their public. The state-sponsored narrative is that Maduro is lying or crazy. A paranoid dictator desperately clinging to power, and spinning fairy tales to defend himself.

John Bolton’s admission smashes that lie to pieces. So, of course, it is not mentioned.

The Guardian’s Latin America correspondent, Tom Phillips, an inveterate liar-by-omission, could easily have included this information. He chose not to, if paid propagandists can ever be said to have a choice in what they print.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

Filed under: latest, On Guardian, Venezuela

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Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

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USAma Bin Laden
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USAma Bin Laden

The Guardian: Mouthpiece for the liberal wing of British imperialism.

Of course, the USA wants to gain control of Venezuelan oil–note control does not mean merely accessto but more importantly control over the currency that this oil is sold in so as to maintain the American Empire’s Holiest of Holies: the American PetroDollar.

But then again, the Guardian would also have you believe that America and its (snicker) Free World allies are really fighting a War on Terrorism–even though they have been arming and sponsoring jihadist terrorism like the Libyan Islamic Fight Group (against Libya) and similar groups like Al-Nusra Front (the Al-Queda affiliate in Syria) for years.

So it’s not surprising that the Guardian would regurgitate American and Western regime war propaganda.

Gezzah Potts
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Gezzah Potts

USAma Bin Laden: and that’s exactly what the Guardian is for: disseminators of pro war, pro imperialist, pro humanitarian intervention…. To save the targeted countries from themselves. And install an Empire friendly puppet who will bend over for his/her master’s. Sheer coincidence that nearly every country that needs ‘saved’ also has large amounts of oil and gas.

vexarb
Reader
vexarb

Analyst Canthama agrees with Pepe (BTL SyrPer #286513):

The Saker has a nice article on Venezuela, few days old, but quite balanced on his analysis, people could disagree with one or two things but in general quite to the point on all fronts.

http://www.unz.com/tsaker/the-us-aggression-against-venezuela-as-a-diagnostic-tool/

Though Colombia and Brazil border Venezuela on its West and South, any sort of military invasion from those directions will first have to conquer nature.

So there are only two ways to remove Maduro:

1) US cruise missiles hitting hundreds of spots in Venezuela would be completely unacceptable for any Latina America population, a violence that would cause the US to lose support even its most vassal States.
In parallel, such violence would spark the return of the Colombian guerrilla, blowback will be very bad and wide spread. Thus military intervention is not likely.

2) The second option is assassination of Maduro, and this is where some of Venezuela’s allies are trying to help, either with security guards, intel and direct protection.

As in Syria, time is an ally for Venezuela, the Venezuela Government will become stronger and diplomacy will take shape, There is a real danger though for a false flag, and this is in fact what Bolton and Pompeo are preparing with Guaidó’s supporters knowledge [as in Syria].
Time is also important since the US regime and its dying fiat economy, 2019 will be a tough year for the G7, meaning theses regimes will either have to create another massive QE that will bring them down or start a big war, which the vast majority of their country citizens will never support, see France with yellow vest, many more countries would see the same — even the US.

So, time is good friend to the Venezuela, they must push it as long as they can, and things will be all right.

vexarb
Reader
vexarb

Pepe Escobar gives the global view; with Venezuela, Iran, Russia and China abandoning the mythical petrodollar, Uncle $cam’s fiat currency is heading for the dustbin of history:

https://thesaker.is/venezuela-lets-cut-to-the-chase/

vexarb
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vexarb
Frank Russell
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Frank Russell

Frank Russell
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Frank Russell
vexarb
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vexarb

UN rejects Venezuela’s Guaido, will only cooperate with recognized government of Maduro

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/02/01/587387/UN-reject-Guaido-cooperate-Maduro

Brupo
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Brupo

The Guardian is a shame!

DunGroanin
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DunGroanin

Tom Phillips in Caracas.

The banality of the Obssesive Grauniad reaches new depths.

Reporting mass protests that haven’t yet happened!

Fake ‘news’ and they don’t care who knows. Blatant and bare faced pretenders.

Narrative
Reader
Narrative

Nations should explore better system to break US hegemony

“The US dollar is used for the international oil and gas trade and a wide part of global trade. This gives the US an exorbitant privilege to sanction countries it opposes.
..
The latest sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company aim to cut off source of foreign currency of Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro’s government and eventually force him to step down.
..
A new mechanism should be devised to thwart such a vicious circle”

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1137847.shtml

vexarb
Reader
vexarb

Refusal to hand over Venezuelan gold means end of Britain as a financial center – Prof. Wolff

https://www.rt.com/business/450144-venezuela-gold-boe-wolff/

“That is a signal to every country that has or may have difficulties with the US, [that they had] better get their money out of England and out of London because it’s not the safe place as it once was,” he said.

“One of the few things left for Britain is to be the financial center that London has been for so long. And one of the ways you stay a financial center is if you don’t play games with other people’s money,” he said.

Lochearn
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Lochearn

Jimmy Dore, Abby Martin and others on Venezuela: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98pBLXe7Bmk

crank
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crank

Francis Lee; Big B,

OK I phrased that badly.
My question is really about those at the top of the power pyramid (those few hundred families who own the controling share of the wealth of the world) – those who position idiots like Bolton to do their work, do they comprehend ‘exergy’ decline ?
If we can, then can they not? I agree with Parenti that they are not ‘somnambulists’. They are strategists looking out for their own interests, and that means scrutinising trends in political movements, culture, technology and, well, just about everything. I find it hard, the idea that all these people- people who have seen their businesses shaped by resource discovery, exploitation and then depletion, have no firm grasp on the realities of dwindling returns on energy. The models were drawn up 47 years ago. I think that some of them at least, do understand that economic growth is coming to a halt, and have understood for decades. If true then they are planning that transition in their favour.

These hard to swallow facts about oil are still on the far fringes of any political conversation. The neoliberal cultists are deaf to them for obvious reasons; the socialist idealists believe that a ‘New Deal’ can lead us off the death train, but mostly ignore the intractable relationship between energy decline and financial problems; even the anarchists want their work free utopia run by robots and AI but stop short of asking whether solar panels and wind turbines can actually provide the power for all that tech. It’s the news that nobody wants to think about, but which they will be forced to thinking about in the very near future.

The Twitter feed ‘Limits to Growth’ has less than 800 followers (excellent though it is).

BigB
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BigB

Crank

I do not want to get into the mind of the Walrus of Death Bolton! I do not want to know what he does, as he does. But at lower levels of government, and corporatism, there is an awareness of surplus energy economics. And as Nafeez has also pointed out, the military (the Pentagon) are taking an interest. And though it could rapidly change, who really appreciates the nuances of EROEI? I’m guessing at less than a single percent of all populations? And how many include its effects in a integrated political sense?

Its appreciation is sporadic: ranging from tech-utopia hopium to a defeated fatalism of the inevitability of collapse. Unless and until people want to face the harshness of the reality that capitalism has created: we are going to be involved in a marginal analysis. There are very few people who have realised that capitalism is long dead. Dr Tim Morgan estimates that world capitalism has conservatively had $140tn in stimulus since 2008 – without stimulating anything or reviving it at all. In fact, that amounts to the greatest robbery in history – the theft of the future. Inasmuch as they can, those unrepayable debts – transferred to inflate the parasitic assets of capitalists – will be socialised. Except they cannot be. Not without surplus energy.

https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/2019/01/20/145-fire-and-ice-part-two/

Brexit, gilets jaunes, Venezuela, unending crises in MENA, China’s economic slowdown, etc – all linked by EROEI. It is a common socio-politico-economic energy nexus – but linked together by whom? And the emergent surplus energy-mind-environmental ecology nexus? All the information is available. The formation of a new political manifesto started in the 1960s with the New Left …but it seems to have been in stasis since. Perhaps this might stimulate the conversation. According to Nate Hagens: there is 4.5 years of human muscle power leveraged by each barrel of oil. We are all going to be working for a very long time to pay back the debts the possessing classes have built up for us – with absolutely no marginal utility for ourselves. We are subsidising our own voluntary slavery unless we develop an emergent ecosocialist and ecosophical alternative to carbon capitalism. We cannot expect paleoconservative carbon relics like Bolton – or anyone else – to do it for us. The current political landscape is dominated by a hierarchical, vested interest, carbon aristocracy. We can’t expect that to change for our benefit any time ever. Expect the opposite.

crank
Reader
crank

Listening to David Graeber in this interview there is no mention of declining energy surpluses in the discussion of the economic paradigm of the coming future. No consideration of the role of the labour of fossil fuels in the economy of the past two centuries. It’s amazing, the argument seems not to have reached them, such that it is doesn’t even get a look in. (Listen from 40 min mark, and you will hear a completely opposite view of what is to come – ” We are not going to have the problem of how to deploy scarce resources, given an only moderate level of productivity…”).
https://novaramedia.com/2019/02/01/david-graeber-bullshit-jobs-direct-democracy-the-end-of-capitalism/

Fittingly, there is a fascinating section (52.min 30 sec onwards) exploring Graeber’s new book project about how much of the enlightenment thinking of pre-revolutionary France was either a pilfering of, or a reaction to, the ideas of social organisation coming from pre-European Americans.

BigB
Reader
BigB

Graeber has a point, though. We could already have a post-scarcity, post-production society …but for the egregious maldistribution of resources and employment. Andre Gorz said as much 50 years ago (Critique of Economic Reason). Why do we organise around production: it makes no sense …but for the relations of production are, and remain, the relations of hierarchical rule. So long as we assign value to a human life on the basis of meritocratic productivity – we will have dehumanisation, marginalisation, and subjugation (haves and have nots). So why not organisation around care, freedom and play?

Such a solution would require the transversalistion of society and not-full-employment: so that no part of the system is subordinate, and no part is privileged. All systems and sub-ordinate (care) systems would be co-equal, of corresponding value and worth. So, without invoking EROEI, that would go a long way to solve our exergy, waste, pollution, and inequality problems. It is the profligate, unproductive superstructure: supporting rentier, surplus energy accumulating, profit-seeking suprasocieties – that squanders our excess energy and puts expansive spatio-temporal pressures on already stretched biophysical ecological systems that engenders potential collapse. It is their – the possessing classes – assets that are being inflated, at our environmental expense. When it comes to survivability, we cannot afford a parasitic globalised superstructure draining the host – the ecologically productive base. Without the over-accumulation, overconsumption, and wastage (the accursed share) associated with the superstructure of the advanced economies – and their cultural, credit, military imperialisms …I expect we could live quite well. Without the pressures of globalised transportation networks, and unnecessary military budgets – the pressure on oil is minimised. It could be used for the 1001 other uses it has, rather than fuelling Saudi Eurofighters bombing Yemeni schoolchildren, for instance. The surplus energy could be used to educate, clothe and feed them instead. That would be a better use of resources, for sure.

If we took stock of what we really have, and what we really are – a form of spiritual neo-self-sufficiency, augmented and extended into co-mutual care and freedom valorising ecologies …we wouldn’t need to chase the perceived loss all over the globe, killing everything that moves. The solutions are not hard, they are normative, once we are shocked out of this awful near-life trance state of separationism. Thanks for the link.

crank
Reader
crank

It seems to me that there are two parallel arguments going on.
One is about social organisation, attitudes towards and policies determining work, money, paid employment, technological development and the distribution of weath.
The other is fundamentally based on the laws of thermodynamics and concerns resource limits, energy surpluses, the role of ‘stored sunlight’ in producing things and doing work for each other, pollution and projections about these into the future.

I am surprised that Graeber (just as an example) seems to basically ignore the second of these even though he clearly is an incisive thinker and makes good points about the first. It is taken as a given that, theoretically at least, human civilisation could re-organise around a new ethic, transform the economy into a ‘caring economy’, re-structure money, government and do away with militarism. In terms of what to do now, as an individual, what choices to make, it is disconcerting to me when talk of these ideals seems to ignore those latter questions about overshoot.

I wonder if the egalitarian nature of much of indiginous North American society was inescapably bound with the realities of a low population density, low technology, intimate relationship with the natural world and a culture completely steeped in reverence for Mother Earth.
The talk I hear from Bastani or Graeber along the lines of ‘we could be flying around in jet packs on the moon, if only society was organised sensibly’ rings hollow to me.

BigB
Reader
BigB

Crank

Welcome to my world! Apart from as a managerial tool, systems thinking has yet to catch on in the wider population. According to reductive materialism: there are two unlinked arguments. According to Dynamic Systems Theory (DST) there is only one integrated argument – with two inter-connected correlative aspects. We can only organise around what we can energetically afford. Consequently, we cannot organise around what we cannot afford – that is, global industrialised production with a supervenient elitist superstructure.

Let’s face it : ethical arguments carry little weight against organisation around hierarchical rule. The current talk of an ethical capitalism – in mixed economies with ‘commons’ elements – is an appeasement. and distractional to the gathering and ineluctable reality.

The current (2012) EROI for the UK is 6.2:1 – barely above the ‘energy cliff’ of 5:1. The GDP ‘growth’ and bullshit jobs are funded by monetised debt (we borrow around £5 to make every £1 – from Tim Morgan’s SEEDS). From the Earth Overshoot Day website: the UK is in economic overshoot from May 8th onward.

These are indicators that we will not be “flying jetpacks on the moon”: even if we reorganise. Everyone, and I mean everyone, will have to make do with less. A lot less. Everything would have to be localised and sustainable. Production would be minimised, and not at all full. Two major systems of production – food (agroecology) and energy – would have to be sustainable and self-sovereign. And financialisation and the rentier, service economy? Now you can see why no one, not even Dave the crypto-anarchist, is talking about reality. Elitism, establishment and entitlement do not figure in an equitable future. We can’t afford it, energetically or ethically.

So when will the debate move on? Not any time the populace is bought into ideational deferred prosperity. All the time that EROEI is ignored as the fundamental concept governing dwindling prosperity – no one, and I mean no one, will be talking about a minimal surplus energy future. The magic realism is that the economic affordances of cheap oil (unsustainably mimicked by debt-funding) will return …sometime, somehow (the technocratic superfix). The aporia is that the longer the delay, the less surplus energy we will have available to utilise. Something like the Green New Deal – that has been proposed for around two decades now – may give us some quality of life to sustain. Pseudo-talk of a Customs Union, ‘clean’ coal, and nuclear power, will not.

An integrated reality – along the model of Guattari’s ‘Three Ecologies’ – of mind, economy, and environment is …well, we are not alone, but we are ahead of the curve. The other cultural aporia is that we need to implement such vision now. Actually, about thirty years ago …but let’s not get depressive!

We are going to need that cooperative organisation around care and freedom just to get through the coming century.

DunGroanin
Reader
DunGroanin

The Graun seems to have been anti-Chavez from the get go. With a set of ‘journalists’ who seem to jave made it their lifes work to reverse that democratic revolution. It is not easy to find their biogs.

Johan Meyer
Reader
Johan Meyer

This whole business of “recognizing a president” not yet in power has a precedent: Rwanda.

When the bUgandan army invaded Rwanda (with US, Canadian, British and Belgian backing) in 1990 (1 October), or in propaganda terms, the RPA started its “liberation,” the US moved its embassy to Mulindi, and sent the bUgandan chief of intelligence from his IMET junket at Fort Leavenworth, to take over in northern Rwanda. I refer to Paul Kagame.

International institutions also started to deal with Mulindi, rather than Kigali. Accusations of genocide within a year…

crank
Reader
crank

As mentioned elsewhere here, Venezualan oil deposits are not all that the hype cracks them up to be. They are mostly oil sands that produce little in the way of net energy gain after the lengthy process of extraction.The Venezuala drama is about the empire crushing democracy (i.e. socialism), not oil. [not that this detracts from Kit’s essential point in the article].
The Left (as well as the Right), by and large have not come to terms with the realities of the decline in net surplus energy that is unfolding around the world and driving the political changes that we see. So they still view geopolitics in terms of the oil economy of pre-2008.
The productive economies of Europe are falling apart (check Steve Keen’s latest on Max and Stacy – although even ihe doesn’t delve into the energy decline aspect).
The carbon density of the global economy has not changed in the 27 years since the founding of the UNFCCC.

The Peak Oil phenomenon was oversimplified, misrepresented and misunderstood as a simple turning point in overall oil production. In truth it was a turning point in energy surplus.
I predict that by the end of this or next year, everyone will be talking about ERoEI. Everyone will realise that there is no way out of this predicament. Maybe there are ways to lessen the catastrophe, but no way to avert it. This will change the conversation, and even change what ‘politics’ means (i.e. you cannot campaign on a ‘new start’ or a ‘better, brighter future’ if everyone knows that that physically cannot happen).
Everyone will understand that their civilisation is collapsing.
Does Bolton understand this?

I dunno.
https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/brexit-stage-one-in-europes-slow-burn-energy-collapse-1f520d7e2d89

Thomas Peterson
Reader
Thomas Peterson

That’s true, Venezuela’s ‘oil’ is mostly not oil.

BigB
Reader
BigB

Crank

If you were referring to my earlier comments about Venezuelan extra heavy crude: it’s still massively about the oil. The current carbon capitalist world system does not understand surplus energy or EROEI, as it is so fixated on maximal short term returns for shareholders. It can’t comprehend that their entire business model is unsustainable and self cannibalising. Which is bad for us: because carbon net-energy (exergy) economics it is foundational to all civilisation. The ignorance of it and subsequent environmental and social convergence crises threatens the systemic failure of our entire civilisation. The Venezuelan crisis affects us all: and is symptomatic of a decline in cheap oil due to rapidly falling EROEI.

I can’t find the EROEI specifically for Venezuelan heavy oil: but it is only slightly more viscous than bitumen – which has an EROEI of 3:1. Let’s call it 4:1: the same as other tight oils and shale. Anything less than 5:1 is more or less an energy sink: with virtually no net energy left for society. The minimum EROEI for societal needs is 11:1. Does Bolton understand this? Francis hit the nail on the head there.

Do any of our leaders? No. If they did, a transition to decentralisation would be well under way. Globalised supply chains are systemically threatened and fragile. A globalised economy is spectacularly vulnerable. Especially a debt-ridden one. Which way are our leaders trying to take us? At what point will humanity realise we are following clueless Pied Pipers off the Seneca Cliff – into globalised energy oblivion?

The rapid investment – not in a post-carbon transition – but in increased militarisation, and resource and market driven aggressive foreign intervention policies reveal the mindset of insanity. As people come to understand the energy basis of the world crisis: the fact of permanent austerity and increased pauperisation looms large. What will the outcome be when an armed nuclear madhouse becomes increasingly protectionsist of their dwindling share? Too alarmist, perhaps? Let’s play pretend that we can plant a few trees and captive breed a few rhinos …and it will all be fine. BAU?

The world runs on cheap oil: our socio-politico-economic expectations of progress depend on it. Which means that the modern human mind is, in effect, a thought-process predicated on cheap oil. Oleum ergo sum? Apart from the Middle East: we are already past the point where oil is a liability, not a viability. Debt funding its extraction, selling below the cost of production – both assume the continual expansion of global GDP. Oil is a highly subsidised – with our surplus socialisation capital – negative asset. We foot the bill. A bill that EROEI predicts will keep on rising. At what point do we realise this? Or do we live in hopium of a return to historical prosperity? Or hang on the every word of the populist magic realism demagogue who promises a future social utopia?

If it’s based on cheap oil, it ain’t happenin’.

wildtalents
Reader

Is it no longer considered a courtesy to the reader to spell out, and who knows maybe even explain, the abbreviations one uses?

BigB
Reader
BigB

wildtalents: Yes, I normally do. But the thread started from, and includes Crank’s link that explains it.

Jen
Reader
Jen

EROEI = Energy Returned on Energy Invested (also known as EROI = Energy Return on Investment)

EROEI refers to the amount of usable energy that can be extracted from a resource compared to the amount of energy (usually considered to come from the same resource) used to extract it. It’s calculated by dividing the amount of energy obtained from a source by the amount of energy needed to get it out.

An EROEI of 1:1 means that the amount of usable energy that a resource generates is the same as the amount of energy that went into getting it out. A resource with an EROEI of 1:1 or anything less isn’t considered a viable resource if it delivers the same or less energy than what was invested in it. A viable resource is one with an EROEI of at least 3:1.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested

The concept of EROEI assumes that the energy needed to get more energy out of a resource is the same as the extracted energy ie you need oil to extract oil or you need electricity to extract electricity. In real life, you often need another source of energy to extract energy eg in some countries, to extract electricity, you need to burn coal, and in other countries, to extract electricity you need to build dams on rivers. So comparing the EROEI of electricity extraction across different countries will be difficult because you have to consider how and where they’re generating electricity and factor in the opportunity costs involved (that is, what the coal or the water or other energy source – like solar or wind energy – could have been used for instead of electricity generation).

That is probably why EROEI is used mainly in the context of oil or natural gas extraction.

BigB
Reader
BigB

Erratum: less viscous than bitumen.

Francis Lee
Reader
Francis Lee

”Does Bolton Understand this/? I think this might qualify as a rhetorical question.

Glasshopper
Reader
Glasshopper

Loathsome though he is, Bolton is probably the only honest neocon around. In Iraq, while the likes of Blair were banging on about 45 minutes, human rights and democracy etc, Bolton always made it clear that is was simply a matter of US interests. AKA Oil. He has never pretended to represent anything but rapacious US self interest.

Fair play. At least you know what you’re getting with that tash.

Stonky
Reader
Stonky

Prior to being assigned to Latin America, Phillips was the Guardian’s China correspondent for five years or so. His task, which he diligently accomplished, was to produce a couple of articles a week on “Why China Is No Good”. I don’t think he ever once found anything positive to say about the place.

As an individual he’s a complete Jodrell, but there are few to compare with him in his ability to relentlessly toe the Washington neocon line. You couldn’t get a fag paper in between him and Luke Harding. I wonder if he’s paid for it, or whether it’s just that seductive sense of ‘belonging’ that comes from rubbing shoulders with really powerful people.

Antonym
Reader
Antonym

And therefore some bloggers reverse and think only X i- good, Xi – good. That’s what they thought about Stalin or Mao too at first…

Tim Jenkins
Reader
Tim Jenkins

Principally, the principles , better said the absence of statute & principle in Law, behind mass surveillance, was what Snowden was desperate to highlight and that the public’s principal concern of the Guardian’s hard drives, were the least of our problems, legally speaking , coz’ other copies existed already elsewhere, anyway 😉

OFFG could always ask Glen Greenwald to explain why he ceased to ‘copulate’ with the Guardian and maybe even ‘intercept’ an opinion or two from Snowden, whilst he’s at it 🙂 intercepting. Indeed , a few extra nails in the Guardian’s coffin , could be delivered quite speedily & succinctly , with some professional journalistic exchange of Question & Answer, with nail-gun loaded & mutual benefit would seem to be an all round obvious win-win debate on matters of principle, legal permissions & submissions.

Tim Jenkins
Reader
Tim Jenkins

sorry , that comment was directed @lundiel , so please scroll to the end for context.

Andy
Reader
Andy

Trump making Bolton look like the paragon of discretion re oil https://youtu.be/4huS-3-Gs74

Andy
Reader
Andy

In some ways it is refreshing to have these power hungry narcissists in charge of the US as they cannot seem to not blurt out their naked ambitions, which in this example ftom the ft basically shows kidnap is an agreeable part of trade negotiation.

‘Five days after a top executive of Huawei, the Chinese telecoms group, was arrested on a US request in Canada, President Donald Trump said he was willing to intervene — if it helped secure “the largest trade deal ever made”. The detention of Meng Wanzhou, one of China’s best known executives, was undoubtedly an incendiary step, escalating trade tensions with Beijing. But presidential interference in the case would send entirely the wrong message about the US justice system — and about how the administration conducts international affairs.

The US and western allies have legitimate concerns about China’s reputation for digital espionage and theft of intellectual property. They agree a more robust stance is needed towards Beijing. But arresting a star of Chinese business — Ms Meng has been called China’s Sheryl Sandberg — on a Canadian stopover en route to Mexico from Hong Kong is not the way to persuade Beijing to change its behaviour.

Even if the Huawei chief financial officer was held on unrelated charges of violating US sanctions on Iran, the move smacks of using individuals as pawns in negotiations. It is seen in Beijing as Washington rewriting the rules of engagement. Such waywardness and unpredictability from a country that used to portray itself as a pillar of the international rules-based order will tempt China to respond in kind, leading to a downward spiral of tit-for-tat behaviour. Indeed, the detention of a former Canadian diplomat, Michael Kovrig, in Beijing looks worryingly like retaliation.

It may be necessary to take at face value Mr Trump’s claims that he was unaware of the US extradition application, and of the detention itself — which occurred on the day he was holding talks on a trade truce with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires. Had he known, even Mr Trump seems unlikely to have been cynical enough not to mention the arrest to Mr Xi. Presidential ignorance, however, offers little reassurance.

That Mr Trump would not be notified of such a sensitive case by his justice department strengthens the impression of a dysfunctional administration, whose different arms pursue their agendas with little co-ordination, if not in open competition. It strains credibility that his recent presidential predecessors would have been left in the dark in similar situations. The Huawei incident comes in the same week that John Kelly’s departure as chief of staff seemed to confirm the extent to which the Trump White House defies conventional management.

The president’s offer to do “whatever’s good for this country” regarding Ms Meng’s case reflects a dealmaker’s desire to put his talks with Mr Xi back on track, while extracting whatever advantage he can. But it amounts, in effect, to saying he is holding the Huawei CFO hostage as a trade negotiating chip. The situation carries echoes of the White House’s reversal in July of a seven-year executive ban on ZTE, the Chinese telecoms equipment maker, on purchasing critical equipment from the US, in what appeared a tactical concession to Beijing.

Presidential interference in Ms Meng’s case would send a worse signal: that rule of law in the US is a function of the whim of the chief executive, or that illegal behaviour can be up for negotiation. It risks creating an impression that there is little difference between America’s judicial system and that of, say, Turkey — or indeed China. The Huawei executive’s detention was damaging. It is, however, not for the White House, but for independent courts in Canada and — if Ms Meng is extradited — the US to determine what happens next.’

lundiel
Reader

It all depends on your acceptance of “legality” of American sanctions on Iran. I don’t, therefore American action against Ms Meng imo is political and nothing to do with the rule of law. Mr Trump’s opinions are irrelevant.

Jen
Reader
Jen

President Trump’s comments and opinions as expressed on Twitter will become relevant in Sabrina Meng’s court case. Her legal defence could use Trump’s opinions as evidence that her arrest was politically motivated and therefore she should not be extradited.

Canadian PM Justin Bieber Trudeau sacked the Ambassador to China for saying this and expressing other opinions, among them Canada’s view as to whether the current (and new) US sanctions on Iran are binding on Canada.