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Italy to Strengthen Control Over Gold Reserves Amid Venezuela’s Problems With UK

Sputnik – 23.02.2019

Soon after the incident involving the Bank of England withholding Venezuelan gold reserves, an Italian lawmaker suggested clearly defining the state’s ownership over its gold reserves in a new law. His move was supported by Italian representative in the EU parliament Marco Zanni, whom Sputnik Italia has asked to comment on the proposed law.

Marco Zanni, an EU lawmaker from the Lega party, told Sputnik that the law, recently proposed by member of Italian Chamber of Deputies Claudio Borghi is aimed at defining the ownership status of gold reserves kept in the Bank of Italy. The latter currently holds 2,400 tonnes of the precious metal, which is roughly equals to 90-100 billion euros, in Italian reserves.

Zanni points out that Italy and its citizens must secure their ownership over reserves that are kept in de-facto private banks. The EU lawmaker also added that he had called for the European Central Bank to confirm that member states’ gold reserves are only stored in its system, and not owned by the ECB or any other bank.

The European parliamentarian stressed that no law defines the rights of an entity holding Italian gold reserves right now. Zanni indicated that most of the Italian precious metal is kept in the US and in the Bank of England. The Bank of Italy only annually receives a certificate from these banks, confirming that the gold remains intact. The lawmaker points out that Italy “doesn’t even have the capability of sending an inspection team” that could verify if the gold is indeed still there.

Zanni believes that such practices must be changed and the state must obtain direct control over its gold reserves, especially considering the recent problems that Venezuela encountered when trying to repatriate its gold reserves from the UK.

“We have Venezuela as an example, which requested to repatriate a small part of its gold reserves and is now facing difficulties because the state that holds them [the UK] is coming up with various pretexts to avoid returning that gold”, he said.

London has distanced itself from the Bank of England’s decision to refuse Venezuela’s request to repatriate its gold, noting that the bank is an independent body. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro expressed hope in an interview with the BBC that the UK is not robbing his country “of the gold that legally belongs to the central bank of Venezuela”.

The freezing of the Venezuelan gold took place amid US efforts to block Maduro’s access to the country’s foreign assets, including money and a foreign subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil producer PDVSA — CITGO.

February 24, 2019 Posted by | Economics | | 2 Comments

US-backed opposition caught on VIDEO throwing Molotov cocktails at aid truck on Venezuela border

RT | February 24, 2019

As Washington and Caracas blame each other for torching a truck carrying what the US called vital ‘humanitarian supplies’ from Colombia to Venezuela, a video has emerged, finally shedding some light on the incident.

The truck caught fire and burned down during a failed attempt on Saturday by US-backed opposition activists to breach the closed Colombia-Venezuela border crossing at the Francisco de Paula Santander Bridge, near the Venezuelan city of Urena. The Venezuelan government refuses to let the American cargo in, calling these ‘humanitarian’ convoys a propaganda stunt and a precursor to a military invasion.

Photos of the incident were immediately used by US officials to double down on their outrage and calls for regime change in Caracas. But footage that has surfaced on social media tells a strikingly different story, pinning the blame on ‘activists’ in the crowd.

One clip appears to have caught the moment a man on the Colombian side of the border pelted a Molotov cocktail at the truck, while another video from the scene showed the opposition activists openly preparing the incendiary devices. Border security guards can be seen patiently holding their line at a distance, casting further doubts on claims that the truck was seized and torched after it had crossed into Venezuela. … Videos

February 24, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , | Leave a comment

In Face of Yellow-Vest Critics, France Moves to Criminalize Anti-Zionism

Alain Finkielkraut being confronted by yellow-vest protesters.
By Guillaume Durocher • Unz Review • February 24, 2019

The French Jewish intellectual Alain Finkielkraut was recently profusely insulted by yellow-vests on the margins of a demonstration. This attack has been widely-portrayed as anti-Semitic, even though the yellow-vests in question explicitly attacked Finkielkraut as a Zionist. As Damien Viguier, the anti-Zionist intellectual Alain Soral’s lawyer, observed:

Alain Finkielkraut was called “a dirty Zionist shit (a Zionist two times again and “shit” perhaps three times more), a “fascist,” a “racist (two times), and “hateful.” He was asked to leave the demonstration in direct times: “get out of here” (twice), “piss off,” “go back home to Israel!” I can see in all this insults, or defamatory comments, I would even grant a light violence, but I find no trace of a discriminatory motivation. This shows well that the words “anti-Semite” and “anti-Semitic” are used in an absolutely arbitrary manner.

It is true that “Zionist” is often used as a euphemism for “Jew.” But it is also true that many anti-Zionists are happy to befriend genuinely anti-Zionist Jews such as Gilad Atzmon (himself an associate of Soral’s). Finkielkraut was likely attacked for his values rather than his ethnicity.

This subtlety did not prevent the incident from triggering a veritable pro-Semitic moral panic across the entire politico-media class. The media lamented the “anti-Semitic” attack on Finkielkraut and he was comforted by politicians from across the political spectrum, from the far-left to the far-right, including the bulk of prominent nationalist and identitarian figures.

Much of the foreign press (the London Times, The Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Telegraph Agency . . .) misrepresented things further, claiming that Finkielkraut had been called a “dirty Jew.” This is a genuine example of fake news.

Then a Jewish cemetery in the Alsatian village of Quatzenheim was desecrated, with over 90 tombstones being sprayed with with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans. One tombstone was sprayed with the words: “Elsassisches Schwarzen Wolfe,” meaning “Alsatian Black Wolves,” an Alsatian nationalist group which has been inactive since 1981 . . . Of course, a hate hoax cannot be excluded: one thinks of the recent Jussie Smollett debacle or the Israeli-American who instigated 2000 supposed anti-Semitic bomb and shooter threats over the years.

For those whom anecdotal evidence was not sufficient, the regime also trotted out the usual “statistics” about, seemingly released every year of every decade, showing a massive increase in “anti-Semitic” acts. I will only say that such statistics are dubious in general, repetitive, and obviously ethnically and politically convenient. Grand old man Jean-Marie Le Pen commented:

There is no anti-Semitism in France which would justify a mobilization of public opinion. . . . Incidentally, we’re given a figure of a 74% increase in [anti-Semitic] attacks. Compared to what? I ask that we have the list of all these attacks committed against the Jews, in such a way that we can actually tell the difference between a graffiti, a murder, a telephone call, or a schoolyard scuffle. It is true that radical Islamism is extrapolating in a sense the Israeli-Arab conflict into France. It is much more a matter of anti-Zionism than anti-Semitism.

Regardless of whether the Quatzenheim incident is authentic, and it could well be, this event immediately prompted a solemn visit by the President of the Republic himself, Emmanuel Macron. This was followed by a national call to demonstrate against anti-Semitism, initiated by the Socialist Party but with virtually the entire political class following suite.

The response of both of the indigenous French people and the Africans/Muslims was lackluster however. According to the official media, some 20,000 people demonstrated in Paris and negligible amounts in the rest of the country. Actually, as the 20,000 figure was provided by the Socialist Party itself, we can be sure that this is an overstatement.

Serge Klarsfeld, one of the leading lights of the highly-profitable local holocaust industry, could not conceal his disappointment, telling the top journalist Jean-Pierre Elkabbach (a fellow Jew[1]) on television:

The masses were not there. The crowd was not there. The French on the whole were not there. There were demonstrations, but I was there, I was there with my entire family and I saw a lot of familiar faces. But the crowd did not come, and which is indignant, should have come. . . . In Lyon there were 1500 or 2000 people. That is not a lot for a big city like Lyon. The crowd was absent and those who were not Jewish were generally absent!

This is in stark contrast with the similar 1990 Carpentras Affair, during which a Jewish cemetery was also desecrated. The pro-Semitic demonstrators following this incident numbered over 200,000 in Paris alone. The event was skillfully exploited by the Socialist President François Mitterrand and by the politico-media class in general by abusively linking this event to Jean-Marie Le Pen’s rapidly-rising Front National (FN). This contributed to making the FN unhandshakeworthy and to preventing any alliance between Le Pen’s nationalists and the mainstream conservatives, which would have spelled doom for the Left. It was later shown that the FN had nothing to do with the incident, which had apparently been instigated by a handful of neonazis with no links to the party.

People should generally speculate less about the authenticity of an event (e.g. 9/11, the Reichstag Fire), which is often difficult to prove one way or the other, than on whether the event has been used as a pretext by the ruling elite to do something questionable or disproportionate (often something which it had been hankering to do for a long time), which is typically quite easy to demonstrate.

This time, as Klarsfeld complains, the gentiles were not so interested in these theatrics. However, the event is having significant political and legal effects. The Macron regime is exploiting the incident to implement measures which have long been demanded by the CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France), the country’s powerful official Jewish lobby. Macron himself appeared before the (very conveniently-timed, as it happens) CRIF annual dinner, where the crème de la crème of the French political class regularly appear, in a solemn ritual of solidarity and genuflection before the Lobby-That-Doesn’t-Exist.

French President Emmanuel Macron with CRIF President Francis Khalifat (himself the successor to the long-time present Roger Cuckierman, you can’t make some things up).

Macron made a number of promises to the CRIF:

  • Three small “anti-Semitic” nationalist groups would be banned (Bastion Social, Blood & Honor Hexagone, and Combat 18).
  • A new law strengthening the state’s already considerable ability to censor anything it deems to be “hate speech” on social media (the French government is among the world leaders in demanding and obtaining the suppression of content on Twitter, behind only Turkey and Russia).
  • Most significantly, France would adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s “working definition of anti-Semitism,” which ludicrously includes anti-Zionism as an integral part of anti-Semitism. Thus, Jewish organizations and the French government are moving to outright criminalize opposition to Jewish ethno-nationalism (the definition of Zionism) all the while criminalizing all Western ethno-nationalisms as being discriminatory, hateful, xenophobic, etc.

This was quickly followed by the European Union me-too-ers in Brussels making their own proposals for an “anti-Semitism pact,” notably aimed at punishing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s campaign raising awareness around international financial speculator George Soros’ multi-million dollar efforts to flood Europe with migrants and undermine traditional European culture and ethnic identity.

Surprisingly, Soral’s anti-Zionist and civic nationalist association Égalité & Réconciliation actually hailed Macron for resisting the CRIF’s demands, bowing to them only reticently, and in some cases only symbolically. After all E&R itself, the most prominent anti-Zionist organization in France, will not be banned. The social-media censorship legislation will only be presented in parliament in May. And, apparently, France’s redefinition of anti-Semitism to include anti-Zionism will not be legally-binding, but will be used to educate policemen and judges (go figure). All this, E&R surmises, left the CRIF’s audience underwhelmed. And, E&R notes that the CRIF’s demands are “extremely anti-popular and legally untenable . . . unless there is a complete shift to a communitarian [ethnic] dictatorship.”

Let us return to the original “victim” of all this, Alain Finkielkraut. Following the incident, an immediate “investigation” was launched of the various “perpetrators,” showing the absurd judicialization of French life. Finkielkraut, recently appointed as one of the forty “Immortals” of the Académie française, has been known to the younger generation primarily as an anti-racist Jew turned neoconservative once he realized Islamic immigration to France was bad for the Jews. He has become a popular Internet meme for his numerous televised hysterical outbursts: “Shut up! Shut up!

Personally I haven’t followed Finkielkraut very closely and whenever I listen to him his discourse sounds like over-complicated pilpul. That said, he has objectively voiced a number of French identitarian concerns over the years. In 2005 he correctly and controversially told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “People say that the French national [football] team is admired because it is black-blanc-beur [black, white, Arab]. In reality, the national team is today black-black-black, which makes it the laughingstock of Europe.” There was clearly an element of rivalry in claiming the status of top ethnic victim. Finkielkraut also told Haaretz:

I was born in Paris and am the son of Polish immigrants, my father was deported from France, his parents were deported and murdered at Auschwitz, my father returned from Auschwitz to France. This country deserves our hatred. And what it did to my parents was far more brutal than what it did to the Africans. And what did it do to the Africans? Nothing but good. My father was forced to endure hell for five years. And I was never taught hatred. Today the blacks’ hatred is even stronger than the Arabs’.

In 2017, upon the death of the French rock singer Johnny Hallyday, Finkielkraut told the right-wing journalist Élisabeth Lévy (another fellow Jew, at once moderately anti-Muslim and hysterical on anti-Semitism): “the little people, the little whites went in to the streets to say adieu to Johnny. […] The non-natives[2] shone by their absence.”

Alain Finkelkraut’s biased & red-pilled critics

In the footage of his “assault” by the yellow-vests, Finkielkraut however played his role to perfection, bearing his grotesque attackers’ insults with calmness and dignity. He then appeared on the radio to discuss the incident and emphasized that the attackers were probably of Islamic origin:

When one hears this slogan, “France is ours” [pronounced by one of the yellow-vests], one could thinks this is a variant of “France for the French” of classical fascism. But in fact no: he is saying “France is ours, it belongs to us Islamists.” He therefore is a believer in the theory of the Great Replacement. I do not say this Great Replacement is taking place, but for him it should take place. And for him, the Jews should be the first to be kicked out.

One will appreciate the utter tartuffery of claiming an opponent is promoting the Great Replacement while denying that it is taking place.

I will take this opportunity to emphasize again the Soviet-style absurdity of the French politico-media class’s denial of the Great Replacement. The replacement of the indigenous French population by both European and non-European (overwhelmingly African/Muslim) allogenes is visible in every major French city and, increasingly, in towns and villages across the country. And yet, our treacherous ruling elite, media, and even Wikipedia claim that all talk of a Great Replacement is a mere “conspiracy theory.” I’m not sure even Pravda’s claims concerning the workers’ paradise were so bold.

As it happens, Finkielkraut’s attackers seem to have been Muslims and one, “Benjamin W.,” appears to be an indigenous French convert. It seems quite likely that they were indeed influenced by Soral or at least the multiracial “patriotic” anti-Zionist culture he has created.

All in all, these events are illustrative of the French and Franco-Jewish elites manias for anti-Semitism and the growing indifference of the French and Afro-Islamic populations to such theatrics. The Lobby-That-Doesn’t-Exist – denounced by French leaders as varied as Charles de Gaulle, Raymond Barre, and François Mitterrand – continues to play the victim. But their power is weakening; and they know it. Macron himself, a convinced high-globalist, is only moderately interested in these matters. Many leading Jews, Bernard-Henri Lévy and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, have been extraordinarily alarmed by the uncontrolled and populist nature of the yellow-vest movement. Time will tell if this movement will participate in France’s liberation from globalism and the lobby’s distorting influence.

Notes

[1] Soral has observed that while Jews make up only 1% of the French population many French talk shows resemble “a little Jewish theater.” This disparate outcome and ethnic privilege should be noted.

[2] Actually, the non-souchiens, the non-French-by-blood. Souchien is a term coined by “anti-colonial” Arab-Berber racial activists. It is a homophone for sous-chien, “sub-dog.”

February 24, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Fake Humanitarianism Fails its Big Test in Venezuela

By Maximilian C. Forte | Zero Anthropology | February 24, 2019

There it is: Saturday, February 23, 2019, has now come and gone—and it’s not to say that “nothing has changed”. In fact, some important changes did occur, none of which were the ones hoped for by either the self-declared “president” of Venezuela, Juán Guaidó, nor the ones commanded by the President of the US, Donald “Can I have my Nobel Peace Prize now?!” Trump. US options have thus narrowed, as we enter a protracted and potentially more dangerous phase where possible US military intervention draws closer. So let’s quickly review some of the changes introduced by yesterday’s events.

First, the unelected, self-declared “president” of Venezuela is no longer even in Venezuela. He used the opportunity of the US AID stunt to spirit himself across the border to Colombia, with the apparent well-wishes of ushers in the Venezuelan military (he should have been suspicious, unless he really intended to flee), and Guaidó now finds himself as a tourist in Colombia. Second, the military which Guaidó presumed to order, completely ignored him and remained loyal to the established government, the only legal and legitimate one. Indeed, the third point is that in failing the credibility test, Guaidó also failed the legitimacy test: how can he be viewed as a legitimate leader, without anything to lead, and with none of the state machinery following him? That is not a leader; at best, Guaidó can be defined an aspirant to power. He is a legitimate aspirant. Some in the opposition are already speaking of an alternative deal with the Maduro government. Having failed the credibility and legitimacy tests, a frustrated Guaidó had no option other than to invite foreign military intervention—if his own military won’t listen to him, surely other nations’ militaries will? And what about Richard Branson’s much vaunted aid concert? That takes us to the fourth point: that concert was drowned out, not just by a competing concert on the Venezuelan side of the border, and not just because it failed to draw any major international acts (perhaps thanks to Roger Waters), but the events of the day itself meant that not even a word was mentioned about the concert. It was like it had never happened. The fifth development is probably the most significant: US AID via Colombia, and similar “aid” intrusions from Brazil and Puerto Rico, were a resounding failure. The frustration that had been building up for days about the lack of a viable plan, was well warranted, as was Maduro’s optimism. Not well warranted were the raised expectations.

(Note, while the headline in the The New York Times claims that aid came in via Brazil, its source on the ground instead said, “The whole thing has failed” and the trucks “remained stranded on the border”. The story is misleadingly playing on a technicality: the aid left the Brazilian side of the border, but did not pass the Venezuelan checkpoint.)

What’s Next?

This takes us back to the central question of the previous article: what is the US’ next move? Simply insulting the Venezuelan armed forces, in what some called an “irresponsible speech,” by suggesting they are guilty of dereliction of duty, then insulting them further by saying Cuba directly controls the Venezuelan military, and then insulting them yet again by assuming that they should instead take their orders directly from Washington—will not work, and that much has been proven. Threats to the safety of Venezuelan soldiers only augment the offense. The US, speaking the language of “democracy promotion,” has been openly hoping for a palace coup—no such movement is in evidence however. All we know is that Vice President Mike Pence (who is likely leading the Venezuela intervention to shield Trump from any illegalities likely to be committed) will be meeting with aspirant Guaidó at his new lodgings in Colombia. That, and more sanctions, as if Venezuela’s government expected anything else.

Clearly the obese billionaire in the Oval Office relished the prospect of one day (soon) boasting that he had toppled a “regime” by just throwing some scraps of dog food at the feet of “desperate and starving” Venezuelans. (They just have to be desperate and starving, because their place in the natural order of things is that they are citizens of a “shit hole country”.) It would have pleased him immensely, he would have smiled slyly, to know that a well fed American can dangle a MRE pack in front of “hungry” eyes, and then sit back and listen to them scamper and scuffle. Such images enforce the evolutionist paradigm of progress, development, and global dictatorship. Trump would have told his friends: “You should have seen what happened, I just sent in crap like TV dinners to that shit hole country, and those pathetic losers fell all over themselves to get it, and the regime collapsed. Poof! Beautiful. Then I took their oil”. (The last point is important, because Trump has the ethics of a looter, and his foreign policy is a projection of his business practice: theft, scams, and all sorts of other wrongdoing enough to warrant hiding many years of tax returns behind some old yarn about an audit that is apparently eternal.)

Particularly important about the day’s events was the fact that two partners in an intended coup each failed their respective tests. The US and its regional allies showed that they could not even spirit in some boxes of junk “aid” and that they held no sway over the Venezuelan military. Guaidó failed to show that he commanded any support that mattered. He didn’t even have a few miserable boxes of US aid to selectively hand out to build up a patron-client network. Having auditioned for the role of CIA tool, he only demonstrated he was not worthy of the investment. He then fled. Then the government shut down his rumoured base of operations in Caracas: the Colombian embassy. The US could not have achieved less had it picked up any random person off the streets of Caracas.

Regime Survival Got a Boost

The unintended by-product of the US’ inability to command change, is a recipe for regime survival: everything that Venezuelans suffer from now on can be appropriately and rightly blamed on US intervention; opponents of President Nicolás Maduro can be labelled traitors, CIA proxies, and puppets of Washington, with considerable justification—thanks to US intervention; Venezuela will adapt and survive US sanctions like multiple other states have done; US oil refineries, shipping companies, insurance firms and banks—the other side of Venezuelan exports of oil to the US—will now suffer irreversible loss, and the US thus also loses its chokehold on Venezuela. Rather than American hegemony, it’s multipolarity that is advancing, with Venezuela moving closer into the orbits of Russia, China, and India. (India itself is completely unafraid of US sanctions, according to Indian analysts.) The US, especially under Trump, has responded to almost everything and everyone with either sanctions or their twin, tariffs, to the extent that there is virtually not a nation left on earth that is not subject to some sort of tariff or sanction from the US. The US is sanctioning itself into irrelevance, as the rest of the world devises ways of learning to live without it.

What Did We Not See?

What was strangely absent from the day, in all the live television footage and numerous photographs of the events, were at least two things: one was that however many showed up to back Guaidó, it certainly was not the 700,000 to a million people he had promised. The other was the bizarre absence of any Venezuelan soldiers from virtually all of the photographs and live television coverage. How they could maintain a forceful presence, yet remain invisible to the media, is quite an achievement—one that denies the media any coup-worthy moments of manufactured, orchestrated outrage. Of course what was also absent—and we knew this would be—was any evidence of these supposedly starving Venezuelans. Having grown up in a society saturated with media images of the now classic “starving Ethiopian,” emaciated bodies with distended bellies, it’s noteworthy that the coup media cannot pull off such a display with Venezuela—that would be the same Venezuela with the supermarkets stuffed with goods.

Beware of Alternative “Fake News”

These postscripts are intended as memoranda to RT, CNN, and others: please check your sources for the claim that former US Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams was involved in actually smuggling in weapons in the guise of humanitarian aid. However appealing that image may be, it is a dorky and corny tale that arouses suspicion. It generally does not pass the smell test—check the last two links for further insight, and also see the Wikipedia page. Abrams was, after all, a State Department official, and not a field operative. In addition, he is being blamed for the operations that were conducted by Lt. Col. Oliver North and the CIA. The “humanitarian aid” disguise was aimed at the US Congress: Congress appropriated funds for humanitarian aid, and some of the funds were misused to arm the Contras illegally. It was no secret that the US was arming the Contras either—they were backed by the US, and they were armed. Most of that aid went to US bases in El Salvador and Honduras (US allies), where there was no need to “disguise” the aid, and it went to the Contras, a military force—again no need to disguise the aid. It’s not like Abrams called Contra leaders and surprised them: “We’re sending you some bags of rice. Or are we? Wink, wink”. They certainly were not fooling Nicaragua’s government, nor did Nicaragua allow in any such “aid” only to somehow find out it was not real humanitarian aid at all—that never happened. Nicaraguan authorities did capture a US pilot, after an illegal flight resulted in a crash inside Nicaragua, revealing the contents of what the US was sending the Contras: weapons, when Congress had banned military aid to the Contras. Abrams was just one figure among many in the story, and not the most directly involved.

The “Trojan Horse” charge is thus being misinterpreted and turned into something laughable. No serious person thinks the US was trying to smuggle in weapons in US AID boxes, in front of thousands of cameras in the plain light of day. That’s why not-so-secret flights exist instead. The “Trojan Horse” idea instead seems to be a little too complicated for the media which prefers a cartoonish rendition. The serious argument is that the aid was intended to shore up Guaidó’s power, since the aid was going directly to the opposition; and, the aid expressly bypassed the legal and legitimate government authorities of Venezuela, and was thus meant to undermine their authority. Furthermore, Guaidó spoke of the “aid” effort as being one that would create a “humanitarian corridor”—echoing terminology used by the US in Syria—and which would have meant wresting territory from the hands of the Venezuelan state, thus allowing the US free passage in and out at will. In addition, the hoped-for clash (which did not materialize to the extent that was feared) could have served as a pretext for warming up international opinion in favour of a US military “rescue”. That’s the extent of the Trojan Horse in this case—it’s not about grenades inside bags of rice. Otherwise President Nicolás Maduro did not “reject” any so-called “aid” from the US, because none had been given to him. The only thing the Venezuelan government did was to block its borders from being used for illegal purposes by foreign powers—its sovereign right. It did so, and it won.

Also tenuous is the story, repeated on RT several times now, that seems to take great joy in upbraiding rivals like CNN for reporting that Venezuelan authorities had “closed” the Tienditas bridge, built in 2016 and supposedly never opened (a bridge to nowhere?). Venezuelan authorities did in fact move containers to block that bridge, and were recorded doing so by Colombian authorities on February 5, of this year. Moreover, and this is the more important point: Maduro repeatedly said any attempt to move the aid into Venezuela would be blocked. There was never even the slightest hint that Maduro would just stand aside and let it pass. It seems that some foreign journalists are divided by their partisan loyalties and create the appearance of wanting to have their cake and eat it too: the humanitarian aid is not for humanitarian purposes, and has been denounced by several of the leading international humanitarian aid agencies, but it’s not like Venezuela shut down a bridge to prevent aid from reaching suffering masses—this seems to be their odd narrative, designed to satisfy multiple competing constituencies. The events of February 23 will hopefully clarify any lingering misinterpretations, on any side.

February 24, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 5 Comments

The Hunt for Konstantin Kilimnik

By Deena Stryker – New Eastern Outlook – 24.02.2019

Since 2014, the US has been accusing Russia of having ‘invaded’ Ukraine. Yet the latest story being repeated by the news media transforms an interesting proposal by a Ukrainian national to bring peace to that country into a devious attempt to have sanctions on Russia removed!

It was months ago that Rachel Maddow first mentioned the name of Konstantin Kilimnik, without mentioning why, specifically, that he had a plan to bring back Ukraine’s ousted President Yanukovich to head the Donbas. Merely quoting Kilimnik as saying ‘This is about my country’ Maddow implied he was a Russian, in what was to become a long series of misinterpretations and obfuscations.

A youngish Ukrainian who worked for Paul Manafort’s PR firm, Konstantin Kilimnik figured the Russian-speaking Donbas’s refusal to recognize the Kiev government could be ended by installing the country’s former pro-Russian President, whom the US deposed, in the breakaway province, the Minsk Agreements (I and II) laboriously crafted by the West having failed to heal the rift.

If he were an American, Kilimnik would be referred to as a patriot, but instead his only moniker is ‘having ties to the GRU’, that is being assumed because of the fact that he received language training in Russia’s Military University of the Ministry of Defense. Having become proficient in English, Kilimnik got a job working with the American Paul Manafort, who was trying to teach that President, Viktor Yanukovich to become a public figure. When, in 2014, Hillary Clinton, as Obama’s Secretary of State replaced Yanukovich with a government that relies on virulent anti-Russian fascist militias (among other things, they burned 200 opponents live), the Russian-speaking Donbas refused to recognize the new government and President Putin looked the other way when ‘volunteers’ crossed the border to help them repulse Kiev’s attacks.

(This policy is consistently referred to by the US media as Russia ‘invading’ Ukraine, hence US sanctions…). When Donald Trump ran for President, Kilimnik’s boss, Manafort, became the head of his campaign, and managed to scotch a Republican Party plan to deliver arms to Kiev for use against the Donbas.)

While the press endlessly details accusations against Manafort (known as a high-flyer wearing exotic clothes), it never mentions his protege’s goal: to secure American backing for a plan that would bring peace to Ukraine. Recently, for the first time, the BBC’s Katy Kay mentioned that plan on MSNBC. But without spelling it out, she allowed her colleagues to remark that it could result in the sanctions the US imposed on Russia being lifted. The US is not interested in bringing peace to Ukraine after five years of strife, but only in pursuing its goal of replacing Vladimir Putin with a more compliant Russian President, among other things, via sanctions for its ‘behavior’ vis a vis Ukraine.

When President Trump rightly points out that the majority Russian-speaking population of Crimea voted by 90% to rejoin Russia in a referendum, the media comments that he knows nothing about foreign affairs. Five years after the events, the American public is unlikely to remember — if it ever knew — that 90% of Crimeans are Russian. Not one in a hundred thousand knows that Catherine the Great wrested Crimea from the Ottoman Turks in the eighteenth century, building a big naval base in Sebastopol to give Russia a warm water port. (In the US it would be an impeachable offense if the president were to allow a hostile government to lay its hands on such a crucial asset.)

The latest chapter in the federal case against Manafort involves the ‘revelation’ that he met with Kilimnik in a New York bar during the campaign, providing him with polling data about the up-coming election, Trump having probably indicated to Russians in or around the government that he would be open to relaxing the sanctions imposed by Obama.

The laudable desire to bring peace to Ukraine has been turned into a crime in order to prove that Trump is appeasing Russia — either in return for money-laundering facilities or a future tower in Moscow. Washington cares not a whit that Ukraine — whose Western aspirations it supposedly backs — will continue in a state of low-level civil war for the foreseeable future.

P.S. Just in: Ukraine’s US installed president Petro Poroshenko just had an article added to the constitution stating that it is the duty of the government to ensure that Ukraine simultaneously enters the EU and NATO, so that NATO can not only camp on Russia’s European border, but in neighboring Ukraine as well.

February 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Venezuela Coverage Takes Us Back to Golden Age of Lying About Latin America

By Mark Cook | FAIR | February 22, 2019

I was sitting in my apartment in Caracas, Venezuela, reading the online edition of Time magazine (5/19/16), which carried a report that there was not even something as basic as aspirin to be found anywhere in Venezuela: “Basic medicines like aspirin are nowhere to be found.”

I walked out of the apartment to the nearest pharmacy, four blocks away, where I found plenty of aspirin, as well as acetaminophen (generic Tylenol) and ibuprofen (generic Advil), in a well-stocked pharmacy with a knowledgeable professional staff that would be the envy of any US drugstore.

A few days after the Time story, CNBC (6/22/16) carried a claim that there was no acetaminophen to be found anywhere, either: “Basic things like Tylenol aren’t even available.” That must have taken the Pfizer Corporation by surprise, since it was their Venezuelan subsidiary, Pfizer Venezuela SA, which produced the acetaminophen I purchased. (Neither Time writer Ian Bremer nor CNBC commentator Richard Washington was in Venezuela, and there was no evidence offered that either of them had ever been there.)

I purchased all three products, plus cough syrup and other over-the-counter medications, because I doubted that anyone in the United States would believe me if I couldn’t produce the medications in their packages.

Unrelenting drumbeat of lies

In fact, I myself wouldn’t have believed anyone who made such claims without being able to produce the proof, so intense and unrelenting has been the drumbeat of lies. When the Youth Orchestra of Venezuela gave a concert in New York in early 2016, before I moved to Caracas, I went there thinking, “Gee, I hope that the members of the orchestra are all well-dressed and well-fed.” Yes, of course they were all well-dressed and well-fed!

When I mentioned this in a talk at the University of Vermont, a student told me that he’d had the same feeling when he was following the Pan American soccer championship. He wondered if the Venezuelan players would be able to play, because they’d be so weakened from lack of food. In fact, he said, the Venezuelan team played superbly, and went much further in the competition than expected, since Venezuela has historically been a baseball country, unlike its soccer-obsessed neighbors Brazil and Colombia.

Hard as it may be for followers of the US media to believe, Venezuela is a country where people play sports, go to work, go to classes, go to the beach, go to restaurants and attend concerts. They publish and read newspapers of all political stripes, from right to center-right, to center, to center-left, to left. They produce and watch programs on television, on TV channels that are also of all political stripes.

CNN was ridiculed recently (Redacted Tonight, 2/1/19) when it carried a report on Venezuela, “in the socialist utopia that now leaves virtually every stomach empty,” followed immediately with a cut to a demonstration by the right-wing opposition, where everybody appeared to be quite well-fed.

But surely that’s because most of the anti-government demonstrators were upper-middle class, a viewer might think. The proletarians at pro-government demonstrations must be suffering severe hunger.

Not if one consults photos of the massive pro-government demonstration on February 2, where people seemed to be doing pretty well. This is in spite of the Trump administration’s extreme economic squeeze on the country, reminiscent of the “make the economy scream” strategy used by the Nixon administration and the CIA against the democratic government of President Salvador Allende in Chile, as well as many other democratically elected governments.

Rival demonstrations

That demonstration showed considerable support for the government of President Nicolás Maduro and widespread rejection of Donald Trump’s choice for president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó.

Guaidó, who proclaimed himself to be president of the country and was recognized minutes later by Trump, even though a public opinion poll showed that 81 percent of Venezuelans had never heard of him, comes from the ultra-right faction in Venezuelan politics.

The pro-Maduro demonstration suggested, not surprisingly, that Guaidó had failed to win much popular support outside the wealthy and upper-middle class. But Guaidó couldn’t even win support from many of them. The day before rival rallies February 2, Henrique Capriles, the leader of a less extreme right-wing faction, gave an interview to the AFP that appeared in Últimas Noticias (2/1/19), the most widely read newspaper in Venezuela. In it, Capriles said that most of the opposition had not supported Guaidó’s self-proclamation as president. That may explain the surprisingly weak turnout at Guaidó’s demonstration, held in the wealthiest district of Caracas, and obviously outshone by the pro-government demonstration on the city’s main boulevard.

The New York Times did not show pictures of that pro-government demonstration, limiting itself to a claim by unnamed “experts” (2/2/19) that the pro-government demonstration was smaller than the anti-government one.

Readers can look at the photos of the rival demonstrations and judge for themselves. Both groups did their best to pull out their faithful, knowing how much is riding on a show of popular support. The stridently right-wing opposition paper El Nacional (2/3/19) carried a photo of the right-wing opposition demonstration:

If that was the best photo it could find, it was remarkably unimpressive compared to the photos in the left-wing papers CCS (2/2/19)….

… and Correo del Orinoco (2/3/19), which were only too happy to publish pictures of the pro-government event:

Unlikely humanitarian

A huge anti-government demonstration was supposed to make possible a coup d’état, a maneuver the CIA has used repeatedly—in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Brazil in 1964 and many more, straight through to Honduras in 2009 and Ukraine in 2015. The turnout at the Trump administration’s demonstration was disappointing, and the coup d’état never occurred. The result is that Trump has expressed a sudden interest in getting food and medicine to Venezuelans (FAIR.org, 2/9/19).

Trump, who let thousands die in Puerto Rico and put small children in cages on the Mexican border, seems to be an unlikely champion of humanitarian aid to Latin Americans, but the corporate media have straight-facedly pretended to believe it.

Most have suppressed reports that the Red Cross and the UN are providing aid to Venezuela in cooperation with the Venezuelan government, and have protested against US “aid” that is obviously a political and military ploy.

The corporate media have continued to peddle the Trump-as-humanitarian-champion line, even after it was revealed that a US plane was caught smuggling weapons into Venezuela, and even after Trump named Iran/Contra criminal Elliott Abrams to head up Venezuelan operations. Abrams was in charge of the State Department Human Rights Office during the 1980s, when weapons to US-backed terrorists in Nicaragua were shipped in US planes disguised as “humanitarian” relief.

Canada’s CBC (2/15/19) at least had the honesty to acknowledge that it had been had in swallowing a lie from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the Venezuelan government had blockaded a bridge between Colombia and Venezuela to prevent aid shipments. The newly built bridge has not yet been opened: it has never been open, apparently because of hostile relations between the two countries, but the non-opening long predates the US government’s alleged food and medicine shipments.

The absurdity of $20 million of US food and medicine aid to a country of 30 million, when US authorities have stolen $30 billion from Venezuela in oil revenue, and take $30 million every day, needs no comment.

‘Failed state’

The campaign of disinformation and outright lies about Venezuela was kicked off in 2016 by the Financial Times. Ironically, it chose the 14th anniversary of the 2002 failed coup d’etat against President Hugo Chávez—April 11, 2016—to claim that Venezuela was in “chaos” and “civil war,” and that Venezuela was a “failed state.” As with the Time and CNBC reports, the Financial Times reporter was not in Venezuela, and there was no evidence in the report that he had ever been there.

I asked right-wing friends in Venezuela whether they agreed with the Financial Times claims. “Well, no, of course not,” said one, stating the obvious, “there is no chaos and no civil war. But Venezuela is a failed state, since it has not been able to provide for all the medical needs of the population.” By that standard, every country in Latin America is a failed state, and obviously the United States too.

The New York Times has run stories (5/15/16, 10/1/16) claiming that conditions in Venezuelan hospitals are horrendous. The reports enraged Colombians in New York, who have noted that a patient can die on the doorstep of a Colombian public hospital if the patient has no insurance. In Venezuela, in contrast, patients are treated for free.

One Colombian resident in New York said that his mother had recently returned to Bogotá after several years in the United States, and had not had time to obtain medical insurance. She fell ill, and went to a public hospital. The hospital left her in the waiting room for four hours, then sent her to a second hospital. The second hospital did the same, leaving her for four hours and then sending her to a third hospital. The third hospital was preparing to send her to a fourth when she protested that she was bleeding internally and was feeling weak.

“I’m sorry, Señora, if you don’t have medical insurance, no public hospital in this country will look at you,” said the woman at the desk. “Your only hope is to go to a private hospital, but be prepared to pay a great deal of money up front.” Luckily, she had a wealthy friend, who took her to a private hospital, and paid a great deal of money up front.

Such conditions in Colombia and other neoliberal states go unmentioned in the US corporate media, which have treated the Colombian government, long a right-wing murder-squad regime, as a US ally (Extra!, 2/09).

Well, OK, but are the reports of conditions in Venezuelan hospitals true or grossly exaggerated? “They are much better than they were ten years ago,” said a friend who works in a Caracas hospital. In fact, he said, ten years before, the hospital where he worked did not exist, and new hospitals are now being opened. One was dedicated recently in the town of El Furrial, and another was opened in El Vigia, as reported by the centrist newspaper Últimas Noticias (3/3/17, 4/27/18). The government has also greatly expanded others, like a burn center in Caracas and three new operating rooms at the hospital in Villa Cura.

Meanwhile, the government is inaugurating a new high-speed train line, The Dream of Hugo Chávez, in March (Correo del Orinoco, 2/6/19). Since the US media have never allowed reporting on any accomplishments in the years since  Chávez took office in 1999, but only any alleged, exaggerated or, as noted, completely invented shortcomings, readers have to consult an alternative history. Here is one offered by a Venezuelan on YouTube (3/31/11): “Por Culpa de Chávez” (“It’s Chávez’s Fault”). Depicting new hospitals, transit lines, housing, factories and so on built under Chavismo, it might help many understand why the Maduro government continues to enjoy such strong backing from so many people.

Economic warfare

This is not to minimize Venezuela’s problems. The country was hit, like other oil-producing countries, and as it was in the 1980s and ’90s, by the collapse of oil prices. That failed to bring down the government, so now the Trump administration has created an artificial crisis by using extreme economic warfare to deprive the country of foreign exchange needed to import basic necessities. The Trump measures seem designed to prevent any economic recovery.

Like any country at war (and the Trump administration has placed Venezuela under wartime conditions, and is threatening immediate invasion), there have been shortages, and products that can mostly be found on the black market. This should surprise no one: During World War II in the US, a cornucopia of a country not seriously threatened with invasion, there was strict rationing of products like sugar, coffee and rubber.

The Venezuelan government has made food, medicine and pharmaceuticals available at extremely low prices, but much of the merchandise has made its way to the black market, or over the border to Colombia, depriving Venezuelans of supplies and ruining Colombian producers. The government recently abandoned some of the heavy price subsidies, which resulted initially in higher prices. Over the past few weeks, prices have been coming down as supplies stayed in Venezuela, especially as the government gained greater control over the Colombian border to prevent smuggling.

There has never been a serious discussion of any of this in the US corporate media, much less any discussion of the campaign of lies or the Trump administration warfare. There has been no comparison with conditions in the 1980s and ’90s, when Venezuela’s neoliberal government imposed IMF economic recipes, resulting in a popular rebellion, the bloody 1989 Caracazo, when wholesale government repression took the lives of hundreds (according to the government at the time) or thousands (according to government critics), and martial law took the lives of many more.

Efforts by the right-wing opposition to provoke a similar uprising, and another Caracazo that could justify a foreign “humanitarian intervention,” have failed repeatedly. So the US administration and corporate media simply resort to the most extreme lying about Latin America that has been seen since the Reagan administration wars of the 1980s.

February 24, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting Rid of Omar: Neoconservatives Dig Deep to Remove a Critic of Israel

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | February 24, 2019

It has been observed that the neoconservatives are a lot like the legendary bird the Phoenix, which burns to death and then, miraculously, rises from the ashes in new plumage. The neocons first rose to prominence under President Ronald Reagan, when they took over key offices in the Pentagon. They were subsequently somewhat ostracized under George H.W. Bush who did not like them, but they got their revenge by joining in the chorus that brought the incumbent elder Bush down and replaced him with Bill Clinton, who, in fact, pursued an interventionist foreign policy much more to their taste. Again dominant in the Pentagon and White House under George W. Bush, the neocons went into exile under President Barack Obama, though they were at the same time infiltrating the foreign policy establishment of the Democratic Party. This transformation produced Hillary the Hawk and the Democrats have now become the party of war just as enthusiastically as the Republicans, with both favoring what might be described as a neocon foreign policy.

The emergence of Donald Trump was a shock to the neocon ascendancy. Most neoconservatives condemned his candidacy because of his critique of useless Middle Eastern wars and his stated intention to mend relations with Russia. While some neocons have crept back into the White House, most notably John Bolton and Elliot Abrams, some have continued to rail against Trump. Under the banner of the “Never Trump Resistance” neocon leaders like Bill Kristol have continued the struggle to replace Trump with a more to their taste Mitt Romney or Lindsay Graham, leaders who are fully prepared to crush the Mullahs in Iran and to wage perpetual war against Godless communism.

Kristol nevertheless paid a personal price for his obstinacy. The neocon flagship publication The Weekly Standard, long Kristol’s mouthpiece, ceased publication in December, partly over its waning popularity due to its hostile attitude towards Trump. But in today’s America, mendacity is nearly always rewarded and, in early January, a new webzine publication headed by Kristol emerged under the banner of The Bulwark, which was at least somewhat intended to take the place of the old Weekly Standard. The publication’s launch promoted the enterprise as the center of the “Never Trump Resistance.”

Given that pedigree, one might well have expected a barrage of articles condemning Donald Trump and all his works, which, indeed, are part of its still miniscule archive, but the first article on The Bulwark that has popped up somewhat into the mainstream is, predictably, all about Israel. It is entitled “How the Democrats Can Get Rid of Ilhan Omar: It’s going to take a primary opponent, but not just any primary opponent.”

Yes, the freshman congresswoman from Minnesota who dared to suggest that Jewish money just might be influencing congressional subservience to the state of Israel has now been elevated to public enemy number one in the eyes of the neoconservatives. “Never Trump” has been replaced by “Get Rid of Omar.” The Bulwark article refers to Ilhan Omar’s thinly veiled anti-Semitism and observes how she had resisted being properly schooled in the Israeli viewpoint on what is occurring in the Middle East so as to avoid inappropriate references to the Jewish state and its legion of diaspora supporters.

Ilhan Omar’s education in the realities of Jewish power has apparently been ongoing for the past year, since before she was elected to Congress. Minnesota media reports describe how “fellow Minnesotan U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, a Jew representing a neighboring district, engaged her in a type of educational discussion following what he called an “impassioned face-to-face conversation with Omar.” And last year, leaders of the Minneapolis Jewish community came together for what might be described as an “anti-Semitic intervention of Omar.” It was organized by state Senator Ron Latz, who invited Omar to his house, where a number of Jewish leaders had gathered. “We wanted to reach out to her. We were a bit troubled about several things she had said.” Among their concerns was a 2012 tweet in which Omar wrote: “Israel has hypnotized the world…” Subsequently, Latz would not describe in any detail what was discussed but he personally commented that the problem wasn’t in the policy dispute over Israel, but the “diction and tone.”

It should be noted that Omar has spoken and tweeted about Israel but has never denigrated American Jews either as a religion or ethnicity. Nevertheless, at the same time, it is clear that some American Jews have determined that nearly any criticism of Israel equals criticism of Jews which is equal to anti-Semitism, so one has to wonder about the standard that is being applied to the congresswoman even given Latz’s denial that it is a question of foreign policy.

The Bulwark article, which pointedly seeks to get rid of the freshman congresswoman for her anti-Israeli views, goes on to lament that “Omar’s district is solidly Democratic. No Republican will ever win it. So is America just stuck with a prominent, very vocal, publicity-seeking anti-Semite in Congress for an indefinite period? Is there anything Omar’s critics can do? They need to beat her in a primary. But that must be done carefully… with the right primary opponent, she could be vulnerable in 2020.”

The Bulwark advises that beating Omar requires a perfect candidate and they have just such a person in mind: Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins. Jenkins is a progressive dream candidate. She is the first transgender African-American woman elected to office in America. Enabling a generously funded and media-friendly campaign are child’s play for the Israel Lobby and the article notes that it would be impossible for Omar to depict herself as the victim of anti-Muslim bigotry in a race against Jenkins.

The Bulwark’s website features the subheading “Conservatism conserved.” Its article concludes that “Omar and her boosters had better hope that she stops alienating so many people so fast that her opponents could recruit, run, and vote for literally a tree trunk to replace her…” but the interesting point of the story is that while Bill Kristol and company paint themselves as principled America-first conservatives, they are anything but. They are prepared to do what it takes to get rid of a virtually powerless freshman congresswoman who suggested in a tweet that money fuels the congressional bias in favor of Israel, the protection of which is, of course, ever the neocons’ first priority. It is particularly ironic that Omar’s comment is something that everyone in politics and the media knows to be true about Jewish power in America but is afraid to talk about because of the intimidation coming from people like Kristol. And Kristol and his friends are proposing to get rid of the relatively minor nuisance represented by Omar by running a black transgender “woman” against her to undercut her support on the political left. Politics make for strange bedfellows, but perhaps it is time for the neoconservatives to cut the conservative part out of their own defining label while also removing it from top of the website of The Bulwark.

February 24, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Venezuela Denounces 2nd False Flag Operation at Colombia Border

teleSUR | February 23, 2019

A new episode in the false flag operation being waged against the Venezuelan government to justify a foreign intervention, happened on the Francisco de Paula Santander International Bridge that links Venezuela and Colombia.

Two out of the four trucks with alleged “humanitarian aid” from USAID, which were trying to illegally enter Venezuela, were burned at the border between the two countries. The burning trucks were on the Colombian side of the Francisco de Paula Santander Bridge where Venezuelan opposition leaders have been leading protests.

According to witnesses, violent right-wing opposition members torched the trucks with Molotov cocktails and then tried to incriminate the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) and the Bolivarian National Police (PNB). teleSUR’s Madelein Garcia, reported that the trucks were supposedly trying to enter Venezuela, but were then burned on the part of the bridge that belongs to Colombia.

The version of events saying that the trucks burned due to a “teargas bomb”, which are not incendiary devices, has been circulating on Colombian and international media networks and on social media.

In addition, some people were trying to illegally enter Venezuela using Red Cross jackets, despite not being affiliated with the international medical organization. The Red Cross has already officially rejected these attempts by the U.S. to deliver politicized “humanitarian aid.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has stated on its certified Twitter account that they have noticed “some people not affiliated with Red Cross Colombia and Red Cross Venezuela wearing Red Cross emblems at the Colombia-Venezuela and Brazil-Venezuela border.”

The International organization has urged these people ” to stop doing this. They might mean well but they risk jeopardizing our neutrality, impartiality & independence.”

Also Saturday morning another false flag operation was denounced by the Venezuelan government. A group of low-level soldiers of the Venezuelan National Guard Saturday took over multiple armored vehicles that belong to the Venezuelan army and rammed them into border barriers at the Venezuelan-Colombian border in a staged operation ordered by right-wing opposition members in Colombia.

During a massive demonstration in favor of peace and democracy in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro declared the coup d’etat defeated because of the unity of civil society with the military.

February 24, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | 1 Comment