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Barr Ends All Conspiracy Theories Forever By Saying Epstein Died Via A Series Of Coincidences

By Caitlin Johnstone – Medium – November 22, 2019

In an interview with Associated Press, US Attorney General William Barr put all conspiracy theories to rest once and for all by assuring the world that alleged sex trafficker and alleged billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s death was simply the result of a very, very, very long series of unfortunate coincidences.

“I can understand people who immediately, whose minds went to sort of the worst-case scenario because it was a perfect storm of screw-ups,” Barr told AP on Thursday.

This perfect storm of unlucky oopsies include Epstein being taken off suicide watch not long after a previous suicide attempt and shortly before his successful suicide, suggestions that the first attempt may have actually been an assault via attempted strangulation inflicted by someone else, two security guards simultaneously falling asleep on the job when they were supposed to be checking on Epstein, one of those guards not even being an actual security guard, security footage of two cameras outside Epstein’s cell being unusable due to a mysterious technical glitch, at least eight Bureau of Prisons officials knowing Epstein wasn’t meant to be left alone in his cell and leaving him alone in his cell anyway, Epstein’s cellmate being transferred out of their shared space the day before Epstein’s death, Epstein signing a will two days before his death, unexplained injuries on Epstein’s wrists and shoulder reported by his family after the autopsy, and a forensic expert who examined Epstein’s body claiming that his injuries were more consistent with homicide than suicide.

“The attorney general also sought to dampen conspiracy theories by people who have questioned whether Epstein really took his own life, saying the evidence proves Epstein killed himself,” AP reports. “He added that he personally reviewed security footage that confirmed that no one entered the area where Epstein was housed on the night he died.”

Well if reporting that he’s reviewed footage which we were previously told didn’t exist isn’t enough to dampen those kooky conspiracy theories, I don’t know what is.

So there you have it. The US government says that an intelligence asset with damning information on many powerful individuals did in fact kill himself due to an admittedly bizarre and wildly unlikely series of strange coincidences. I for one have no more questions. Checkmate, conspiracy theorists.

“Mr. Epstein’s death in August at a federal detention center in Manhattan set off a rash of unfounded conspiracy theories on social media that were picked up and repeated by high-profile figures, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. No matter their ideology, the refrain of the theories was the same: Something did not add up,” says The New York Times in its report Barr’s statements.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s a completely unfounded conspiracy theory to believe that someone with ties to powerful institutions and individuals might be murdered in a way that was made to look like a suicide. We don’t live in a world where opaque organizations do evil things in secret, we live in a world where the government is always our friend and the TV would never lie to us. I’m glad these comments made by Barr (whose father in another strange coincidence gave Epstein his first job) have at long last struck a fatal blow to anyone who would doubt the beneficent hand of our beloved institutions.

It’s hard to imagine what more the US government and its allied political/media class could possibly do to quell conspiracy theories that now have Hollywood celebrities clamoring for government internet censorship. I guess if they really, really wanted to dampen conspiracy theories, there are a few more extremely drastic steps that could be taken. Steps like not lying all the time. And maybe not hiding immense amounts of information about what the most powerful institutions in the world are doing behind thick walls of government opacity. And maybe cease promoting conspiracies themselves, as with Russiagate. And maybe stop secretly doing depraved things. And maybe stop engaging in conspiracies.

Pretty sure Barr’s assurances will be enough to do the trick, though.

November 23, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | | 9 Comments

The Pitfalls of a Pit Bull Russophobe

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | November 22, 2019

Fiona Hill’s “Russian-expert” testimony Thursday and her deposition on Oct. 14 to the impeachment inquiry showed that her antennae are acutely tuned to what Russian intelligence services may be up to but, sadly, also displayed a striking naiveté about the machinations of US intelligence.

Hill’s education on Russia came at the knee of the late Professor Richard Pipes, her Harvard mentor and archdeacon of Russophobia. I do not dispute her sincerity in attributing all manner of evil to what President Ronald Reagan called the “Evil Empire.” But, like so many other glib “Russia experts” with access to Establishment media, she seems three decades out of date.

I have been studying the USS.R. and Russia for twice as long as Hill, was chief of CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch during the 1970s, and watched the “Evil Empire” fall apart. She seems to have missed the falling apart part.

Selective Suspicion

Are the Russian intelligence services still very active? Of course. But there is no evidence — other than Hill’s bias — for her extraordinary claim that they were behind the infamous “Steele Dossier,” for example, or that they were the prime mover of Ukraine-gate in an attempt to shift the blame for Russian “meddling” in the 2016 US election onto Ukraine. In recent weeks US intelligence officials were spreading this same tale, lapped up and faithfully reported Friday by The New York Times.

Hill has been conditioned to believe Russian President Vladimir Putin and especially his security services are capable of anything, and thus sees a Russian under every rock — as we used to say of smart know-nothings like former CIA Director William Casey and the malleable “Soviet experts” who bubbled up to the top during his reign (1981 – 1987). Recall that at the very first meeting of Reagan’s cabinet, Casey openly told the president and other cabinet officials: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” Were Casey still alive, he would be very pleased and proud of Hill’s performance.

Beyond Dispute?

On Thursday Hill testified:

The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipartisan Congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified. [Emphasis added.]

Ah, yes. “The public conclusion of our intelligence agencies”: the same ones who reported that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would never surrender power peaceably; the same ones who told Secretary of State Colin Powell he could assure the UN Security Council that the WMD evidence given him by our intelligence agencies was “irrefutable and undeniable.” Only Richard-Pipeline-type Russophobia can account for the blinders on someone as smart as Hill and prompt her to take as gospel “the public conclusions of our intelligence agencies.”

A modicum of intellectual curiosity and rudimentary due diligence would have prompted her to look into who was in charge of preparing the (misnomered) “Intelligence Community Assessment” published on Jan. 6, 2017, which provided the lusted-after fodder for the “mainstream” media and others wanting to blame Hillary Clinton’s defeat on the Russians.

Jim, Do a Job on the Russians

President Barack Obama gave the task to his National Intelligence Director James Clapper, whom he had allowed to stay in that job for three and a half years after he had to apologize to Congress for what he later admitted was a “clearly erroneous” response, under oath, to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on NSA surveillance of US citizens. And when Clapper published his memoir last year, Hill would have learned that, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s handpicked appointee to run satellite imagery analysis, Clapper places the blame for the consequential “failure” to find the (non-existent) WMD “where it belongs — squarely on the shoulders of the administration members who were pushing a narrative of a rogue WMD program in Iraq and on the intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help that we found what wasn’t really there.” [Emphasis added.]

But for Hill, Clapper was a kindred soul: Just eight weeks after she joined the National Security Council staff, Clapper, during an NBC interview on May 28, 2017, recalled “the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique.” Later he added, “It’s in their DNA.” Clapper has claimed that “what the Russians did had a profound impact on the outcome of the election.”

As for the “Intelligence Community Assessment,” the banner headline atop The New York Times on Jan. 7, 2017 set the tone for the next couple of years: “Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says.” During my career as a CIA analyst, as deputy national intelligence officer chairing National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), and working on the Intelligence Production Review Board, I had not seen so shabby a piece of faux analysis as the ICA. The writers themselves seemed to be holding their noses. They saw fit to embed in the ICA itself this derriere-covering note: “High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.”

Not a Problem

With the help of the Establishment media, Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan, were able to pretend that the ICA had been approved by “all 17 intelligence agencies” (as first claimed by Clinton, with Rep. Jim Himes, D-CT, repeating that canard Thursday, alas “without objection).” Himes, too should do his homework. The bogus “all 17 intelligence agencies” claim lasted only a few months before Clapper decided to fess up. With striking naiveté, Clapper asserted that ICA preparers were “handpicked analysts” from only the FBI, CIA and NSA. The criteria Clapper et al. used are not hard to divine. In government as in industry, when you can handpick the analysts, you can handpick the conclusions.

Maybe a Problem After All

“According to several current and former intelligence officers who must remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue,” as the Times says when it prints made-up stuff, there were only two “handpicked analysts.” Clapper picked Brennan; and Brennan picked Clapper. That would help explain the grossly subpar quality of the ICA.

If US Attorney John Durham is allowed to do his job probing the origins of Russiagate, and succeeds in getting access to the “handpicked analysts” — whether there were just two, or more — Hill’s faith in “our intelligence agencies,” may well be dented if not altogether shattered.

November 23, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

Bolivia’s Coup Government Targets Alternative Media as Crackdown Turns Increasingly Violent

By Alan Macleod | MintPress News | November 22, 2019

Facing increased resistance to its rule, the new “transition” government of Jeanine Añez in Bolivia has begun to purge and censor potential threats to its authority, including in the media. TeleSUR, an international media network that began as a collaboration between left-wing Latin American nations, including deposed President Evo Morales’ Bolivia and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and which espouses an openly leftist and anti-imperialist outlook, received confirmation that it would be taken off the airwaves as part of what the government calls a “reorganization” of the airwaves. TeleSUR openly opposed the U.S.-backed military coup d’état that installed Añez as head of state earlier this month.

New Communications Minister Roxana Lizárraga announced that this was part of the “dismantling of the propaganda apparatus of the dictatorial regime of Evo Morales,” claiming that Morales’ “militants who misused the state media system” are being “withdrawn.”

TeleSUR was originally conceived as a counterweight to the Western-dominated media system and attempted to bring the voices of working-class Latin Americans to the fore. It also offers an alternative to local mainstream media, overwhelmingly owned and controlled by Latin American elites who have been particularly hostile to progressive governments such as Morales.’

This is the latest episode in a general assault on the media, as the Añez administration attempts to gain control over Bolivia’s means of communication. Multiple journalists have been shot, while Al-Jazeera correspondent Teresa Bo was tear-gassed in the face live on air at point-blank range by riot police as she stood alone, away from the protests, talking to the camera. Last week Lizárraga appeared on television announcing she would persecute any journalists involved in what she called “sedition,” noting that she already had a list of “troublesome” individuals and outlets. Bolivia TV was also taken off the air earlier this week.

In its efforts to neutralize dissent, the Añez administration has found a keen and enthusiastic ally in the local mainstream press. In a shocking moment captured on film, local media harassed an independent journalist, detaining him and handing him over to the armed forces. The local press has largely endorsed the events and celebrated Morales’ demise, presenting the situation as a democratic transition rather than as a coup.

The crackdown extends beyond media, as the new government has effectively declared the deposed Movement to Socialism (MAS) party illegal, arresting MAS officials and forcing others into hiding or exile in what new government minister Arturo Murillo called a “hunting” down of political opponents. “They’re drowning the Bolivian people in blood,” declared deposed Vice-President Álvaro García Linera from Mexico, where he was granted asylum.

Añez has granted security forces immunity from all crimes committed during the “re-establishment of order.” Those same forces reportedly carried out massacres in the city of Cochabamba and the town of Senkata, just south of the country’s capital, La Paz.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators, many carrying the Wiphala flag, a symbol of indigenous identity, marched to La Paz alongside the coffins carrying the victims of the Senkata massacre, demanding the resignation of Añez and an end to the bloodshed. The march stretched out for miles. MintPress News cameras captured the events.

Once the march came into contact with security forces in the capital, it was met with a barrage of tear gas, and downtown La Paz was engulfed in smoke as tens of thousands of Bolivians were gassed during rush hour. Mourners were forced to abandon the coffins of their loved ones in the street as fumes overcame them.

“La Paz, 5:30 pm. They’re gassing commuters and protesters alike. Can only imagine how many people will wander into the path of the police & military with the Bolivian media’s under-reporting. I saw mothers with infants gassed, they were not part of the procession,” reported one TeleSUR journalist on the scene.

From exile in Mexico, former President Morales denounced the attack on the funeral procession. “The de facto government of Añez does not respect the dead in their coffins, nor forgive their relatives, women and children marching peacefully in support of life and democracy”, he said. “We condemn the violence against our brothers and sisters.”

Morales won an unprecedented third term in office on October 20, gaining 47% of the vote in the presidential elections. However, opposition parties cried foul, claiming that there were election irregularities, an accusation repeated by the Organization of American States and the U.S. government. On November 10, military generals appeared on television and demanded Morales resign. As he fled to Mexico, the military selected Jeanine Añez – whose right-wing Democrat Social Movement Party received 4% of the vote – as President. Añez, a strongly conservative Christian, declared that Bolivia’s indigenous majority was “satanic” and promised to bring Christianity back to the government. The White House strongly supported the events, “applauding” what it saw as a significant and positive moment for democracy. On the other hand, Democratic Presidential candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard have condemned it.

MintPress News is covering the events in Bolivia extensively. Full coverage can be found here and on Twitter.

Alan MacLeod is a MintPress Staff Writer as well as an academic and writer for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting was published in April.

November 23, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Russia dials back peace talks with Japan

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | November 23, 2019

Russia-Japan territorial disputes surged at a meeting of foreign ministers of the two countries, Toshimitsu Motegi and Sergey Lavrov, at Nagoya, Japan, on November 22 on the sidelines of a G20 foreign ministers’ gathering.

Lavrov publicly threw cold water on the Japanese spin that Tokyo is engaged in “persistent talks” with Russia on a peace treaty bringing the two countries’ World War 2 hostility to a formal ending.

Lavrov emphatically stated that any forward movement on a peace treaty will have to be within the ambit of the Russia-Japan 1956 joint declaration, which, as he put it, “clearly states that first Russia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over all our lands, including those territories, are recognised, thus recognising the results of World War II, and then everything else will possibly be discussed.”

In plain terms, according to Lavrov, Moscow may consider discussing a peace treaty only after Tokyo unequivocally recognises Russian sovereignty over Kuril islands and territories that came under Russian control in the Far East during World War 2.

Japan’s stance, on the contrary, can never converge on that point. Wouldn’t Moscow have known it already? Of course, Lavrov has only reiterated a consistent Russian stance.

Tokyo has been baiting Moscow with the proposition that a peace treaty will open the door to large-scale investments by Japanese companies for the development of the Russian Far East (which is a national priority for the Kremlin.)

Tokyo has also been smart, projecting Russian President Vladimir Putin as a strong but pragmatic statesman who is willing to make territorial concessions to attract Japanese investments.

But it takes two to tango and up to a point Moscow acquiesced with the Japanese enthusiasm that the two countries could be settling the Kuril issue — although making territorial concessions will be a highly emotive issue for the Russian public opinion.

Moscow probably pinned hopes that a relaxed climate of relations might wean Tokyo away from the US strategic orbit — although the likelihood of Japan shaking off the US security umbrella will remain zero for the conceivable future.   

At any rate, that tango has ended and realism prevails, with the regional security climate in the Far East visibly darkening with the recent US cruise missile tests and the Pentagon’s plan to deploy new missiles in Japan following its exit from the INF Treaty (which had banned the  intermediate-range missiles previously.)

Moscow is alert to the emergent threats to its strategic assets in the Russian Far East due to the US deployment. Importantly, Tokyo appears to be open to the proposed US missile deployments, which would further cement the US-Japan military alliance.

Unsurprisingly, Moscow has linked the regional security scenario to its territorial disputes with Japan. To quote Lavrov, “The military alliance with the US, of course, represents a problem when it comes to taking Russian-Japanese relations to another level. I will remind you that when the 1956 declaration was being coordinated, the USSR said back then that everything may be implemented, and this declaration may be fully implemented only in the context of discontinued US military presence on Japan’s territory.”

Lavrov added, “Japanese colleagues have received a list of Russia’s specific security concerns which emerge because of the increasing and strengthening Japanese-US military-political alliance. So our Japanese colleagues promised to react to those concerns. We will wait for their response and continue discussions.”

Lavrov also chose the G20 FMs’ forum at Nagoya to present Russian concerns over the security climate in the Far East. He said, “As for the US behaviour in the world, including in the Asia-Pacific region, in its relations with Japan, the United States does not hesitate to publicly acknowledge that Russia and China are the main threat to it and that all its military alliances with Japan, Australia and the Republic of Korea will be built proceeding from these threats and challenges.

“But, of course, we pointed out at a meeting with the Japanese foreign minister that this ran counter to the assurances, which Japan gives us that the Japanese-US military and political alliance is not aimed against the Russian Federation.” (TASS

Meanwhile, Russia is speeding up the construction of military dormitories on the Southern Kuril Islands. A spokesman for Russia’s Eastern Military District said this week that military personnel would settle into the dormitories on Iturup and Kunashir by the end of 2018 and that more dormitories would be built and commissioned in 2019.

The Eastern Military District, which was formed in 2010 under a presidential decree, is headquartered at Khabarovsk in Siberia near the Chinese border and is one of the four operational strategic commands of the Russian Armed Forces.

The new US missile deployments in the Far East are of common concern to Russia and China. In August, Russia and China sought a meeting of the UN Security Council over “statements by US officials on their plans to develop and deploy medium-range missiles”.

Last month, Putin disclosed that Moscow is helping China build a system to warn of ballistic missile launches. Putin said “this is a very serious thing that will radically enhance China’s defence capability”. Since the cold war, only the US and Russia have had such systems, which involve an array of ground-based radars and space satellites. The systems allow for early spotting of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

China will find Lavrov’s remarks at Nogaya to be very reassuring. It is a safe bet that the Russia-Japan normalisation will be an excruciatingly slow process, which in turn works fine for China in geopolitical terms. Lavrov also had a meeting with Wang Yi, Chinese Councilor and Foreign Minister, at Nogaya.

November 23, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

US Federal Court Orders Tehran to Pay $180M to Washington Post Journalist – WaPo

Sputnik – 23.11.2019

Jason Rezaian, 43, the chief of The Washington Post’s Tehran bureau, was detained for over 18 months in Iran. along with his wife, who was released after two months of detention.

Washington DC federal Judge Richard Leon has ordered the government of Iran to pay Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian and his family “compensatory damages” in the amount of $180 million, according to The Washington Post.

“Holding a man hostage and torturing him to gain leverage in negotiations with the United States is outrageous, deserving of punishment, and surely in need of deterrence”, the judge wrote in a 30-page ruling.

The federal judge distributed the amount between Rezaian and his family members as $23.8 million to the journalist in compensatory damages for pain, suffering, and economic losses; $2.7 million to his brother, Ali; $2.7 million to his mother, Mary; and $150 million for the whole family in punitive damages, according to WaPo.

Rezaian’s then-newlywed wife, fellow journalist and Iranian citizen Yeganeh Salehi, was not a plaintiff in the lawsuit against Iran, although she was detained together with her husband before being released after two months.

Rezaian, who served as The Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief, was arrested on 22 July 2014 and was charged with espionage and three other security-related crimes, including “collaborating with hostile governments” and “propaganda against the establishment”. The administration of US President Barack Obama  urged Tehran many times to free the journalist, accusing Iran of violating international law.

In 2015, Rezaian was sentenced to several years in jail after being indicted on all four charges, including espionage and propaganda against the establishment.

Rezaian, along with three other Americans, was released in January 2016 under a prisoner-swap deal with the United States, in exchange for seven Iranian-US nationals serving jail time in the US.

The swap agreement also envisaged that the international criminal police group Interpol would cease prosecuting 14 other Iranian nationals.

Following the prisoner swap exchange, The Wall Street Journal alleged that the US had paid a ransom for the US nationals, allegations that were denied by the Obama administration.

November 23, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 6 Comments

What Does PDVSA Have to Do with the Crisis in Haiti?

By Clodovaldo Hernandez – Supuesto Negado – November 7, 2019

Haiti has been on fire for weeks, without the so-called ‘international community’ or its associated press paying any attention.

Fuel shortages have plunged the Caribbean country back into social turmoil which borders on civil war. There are many causes behind this dramatic panorama, which has been exasperated by the decrease in production by Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA, corruption scandals in the Caribbean country and relentless US pressure on Venezuela, which have all damaged the PetroCaribe crude oil supply programme, which Haiti was reliant on.

PDVSA’s internal collapse, coupled with the labyrinth of obstacles placed by the US’ unilateral coercive measures (sanctions) against Venezuela, has forced the dismantling of what was one of Commander Hugo Chavez’s most powerful initiatives.

The project is a regional mechanism for selling oil at preferential prices with financing for the residents of the Antillean Basin. Local opposition groups and the Washington-led international coalition have, however, always branded the programme as a way for Venezuela to ensure support in the international arena based on the so-called ‘petro-chequebook.’

Internal corruption

Before the programme was damaged by PDSVA’s fall in production and the blockade [against Venezuela], there were already revelations of financial irregularities by unscrupulous Haitian civil servants and entrepreneurs who took advantage of Venezuelan aid to line their own pockets.

In Haiti, these crimes are particularly outrageous because the programme was conceived as a way of providing financial assistance to the government to address serious internal problems, exacerbated by the 2010 earthquake and five major hurricanes, including Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Under the programme, PetroCaribe delivered crude oil to a state agency called the Monetisation Bureau of Development Aid Programmes, which proceeded to sell it to private Haitian companies. The resulting funds should have been used to rebuild infrastructure, especially in the areas of health, education, housing and roadways, however around US $2 billion is estimated to have been stolen.

The responsibility of Venezuelan officials in this and other Petro Caribe- related corruption cases remains to be seen.

The issue of corruption is so important in the Haitian political debate that in addition to demanding the resignation of pro-US President Jovenel Moise, the opposition and Haitian grassroots movements, which have led the wave of demonstrations in recent months, also demand the prosecution of those involved in irregularities that distorted the initial objectives of the programme. Opposition Deputies Youri Latortue, Moise Jean Charles and Shiller Louidor have been the flag-bearers of these demands.

The political reasons

In parallel, and in accordance with Washington’s instructions, the Haitian government of businessman Jovenel Moise, which is propped up by the US, has preferred to sever its relationship with PetroCaribe, supposedly to distance itself from the influence that revolutionary Venezuela exerted on previous Haitian presidents, such as René Preval and Michel Martelly.

Moise (whose name also appears amongst the list of alleged benefactors from the theft of PetroCaribe funds) was snared with promises that the US would supply the oil that Venezuela would no longer deliver. But that obviously hasn’t happened.

As the country ran out of fuel, what has been described as Haiti’s worst political crisis has erupted. The nation has lived in perennial instability due to, among other reasons, the continued interference of the US in its internal affairs.

Apart from Haiti, the PetroCaribe programme favoured Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Guatemala, Guyana, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Suriname. Guatemala and Belize abandoned the agreement in 2014 and 2017 respectively, and in June 2018 Venezuela announced that it was suspending shipments to all these nations due to a drop in production, with the notable exception of Cuba.

Denouncements of irregularities [in the programme’s funds] were well exploited by Venezuela’s opponents to discredit the project between 2016 and 2018. Simultaneously, the US toured the Caribbean offering to supply US oil extracted through fracking in exchange for support for its aggressive political moves against the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro. Of course, in the US’ case, we aren’t talking about a social programme but rather winning the Caribbean market for its oil corporations, while continuing to strangle Venezuela economically.

In 2018, a Caribbean Energy Security Summit was held in Washington, which mentioned adopting sustainable renewable energy systems for the region. The political purpose, the true one, was later expressed by a spokesman for the US State Department: “That the Caribbean doesn’t increase its debt to the only energy supplier which has attended the region to date.”

PDVSA’s inability to continue honouring the programme, in addition to corruption scandals in countries like Haiti, allowed this goal to be achieved just as the US wished.

Now, the entire Caribbean region once again depends on the savage capitalism’s suppliers , and Haiti’s social protests are one of the first symptoms of this return to the harsh reality.

Clodovaldo Hernández is a Venezuelan journalist who has written for left leaning news sites Supuesto Negado and Aporrea.

Translation by Paul Dobson for Venezuelanalysis.

November 23, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Ukrainegate 13,000 Times Worse Than You Think

By Joe Giambrone | Dissident Voice | November 22, 2019

Did you know that Donald Trump had the State Department, USAID, NED, and the CIA fund and train Neo-Nazi, fascist militias to overthrow the government of Ukraine? These riot mobs, primarily Svoboda and Right Sector, stormed the capital, firebombed and shot the police, and destroyed democracy inside Ukraine. When the legitimately elected president was forced out by the rioters, the population which had supported him in the east seceded from the country, tearing the entire nation into pieces and sparking a civil war. The Ukraine civil war has cost the lives of over 13,000 Ukrainians. There is so much blood on Donald Trump’s hands.

Oh, wait a minute! That was Barack Obama. Change that paragraph, please.

Since 2014, it’s been glaringly obvious to astute (and honest) observers that the Administration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden supported the most vicious street mobs in Europe, people who considered themselves proud fascists. Western media routinely censored this part of the story. Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, made deals with their leaders and was caught on an open phone line handpicking the next unelected leader of Ukraine, someone they could sell to the US public: “Yats is the guy.”

Representative Dennis Kucinich expressed outrage on Bill O’Reilly’s TV show that the Obama Administration had aided this bloody, illegitimate coup. The head of the CIA-linked STRATFOR called Ukraine “the most blatant coup in history.

America’s proxy terrorists burned Kiev, seized power violently, and through the power of the purse strings, Obama’s Administration installed friendly-faced fascists, who immediately set about attacking their countrymen in the east, with a policy of mass murder and indiscriminate bombings. Eastern provinces of Crimea and Donetsk, which notably had supported the ousted president, held referenda. The people there voted overwhelmingly to secede from the illegitimate, unelected, foreign-sponsored coup regime in Kiev.

The above is most certainly not the reason cited this week for Impeachment hearings.

Aiding and abetting fascist militias to violently siege a foreign capital is not considered a crime in Washington DC, at all. Conversely, it is business as usual, as Bolivians and Venezuelans can attest to.

Woody Allen directed a film entitled “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” That pretty much sums up the DC circus unfolding in Congress. Everything above is completely true, and yet Barack Obama is heralded as someone in the neighborhood of saints and superheroes. To the belligerent American empire, Obama was a star quarterback. Let’s not even delve into Barack’s support for Al Qaeda in Syria, and another half-million dead there, or we’ll be here all day.

Donald Trump made a phone call. In his phone call, he is said to have bullied the President of Ukraine a little. He may have even delayed some weapons transfers to that country, which was engaged in a proxy war with nuclear-armed Russia and its separatist allies in the east of Ukraine.

That’s a crime? A real crime? In light of over thirteen thousand slaughtered and an illegal coup in broad daylight? Trump’s telephone call is the real crime?

Other Presidents haven’t bullied other client-state puppet leaders, ever?

And why exactly is the President of the United States of America required to send lethal weapons to foreign fascists at all? Has anyone located that section of the Constitution?

This farce is so laughable on its face and so irrelevant to the American people’s interests, that it’s difficult to overstate the insanity—and outrageous hypocrisy—of the Democrats’ contrived “Ukrainegate” case. This impeachment charge has nothing whatsoever to do with right and wrong.

In 2014, Barack Obama’s White House, “refused to include weapons in an aid package… for embattled Ukraine despite an impassioned plea by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for more military assistance.” Obama didn’t send any weapons at all, which would have provoked Russia to an even greater degree, after overthrowing their legitimately elected next-door ally and tearing Ukraine apart. It was obvious that Russia wasn’t “invading” Ukraine, as propaganda memes claimed, but simply responding to these international crimes and to the dangerous destabilization on its border. The US had already done quite enough damage, and they didn’t need to escalate a proxy war against Russia toward nuclear Armageddon.

Which brings us now to Donald Trump, who became interested in Joe Biden’s obvious corruption inside Ukraine, installing his own son on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma. Hunter Biden knew absolutely nothing about Ukraine or the natural gas industry. The nepotism was glaring. This was clear graft, payback, kickback, corruption, parasites descending after the violent seizure of the state. Biden the elder was in charge of US Ukraine policy, and specifically the big money spigot, after the illegal, US-supported coup there.

Then—as Joe will be Joe—Biden bragged publicly about getting Ukraine’s top prosecutor fired to the strains of Washington insider laughter. The Ukrainian prosecutor had been investigating that same company which Biden had arranged his son Hunter onto the board of. Biden’s conflict of interest was so obvious that Trump certainly believed he was onto something. Joe Biden, and media sympathetic to his claims, has predictably tried to cloud the issue, but the corruption is too obvious not to notice. This should, and may, have ended Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential bid.

What happened in Ukraine was old-timey Smash & Grab, a reckless attack right on Russia’s western border. Joe Biden arrived to grab as much loot from Ukraine’s gas sector as he possibly could through a cut-out, his son. Biden used his leverage over Ukraine’s international “loan guarantees” (which is money the coup leaders receive but don’t have to pay back) to finance their new illegitimate junta.

Biden’s own quid pro quo, in his own words: “I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.” This is exactly the type of crime they now accuse Trump of perpetrating with his telephone. The hypocrisy is comical.

The Obama Administration’s corruption, along with a bloody war and thirteen-thousand corpses, is what a real crime looks like. Hold onto that picture.

Democrats were allegedly the good guys vis a vis Ukraine?

Weren’t these international war crimes breaching the UN Charter, which demands exclusively peaceful actions between states, Article II?

All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

— United Nations Charter, a ratified Treaty, and the “Supreme Law of the Land”

Launching a proxy war on nuclear-armed Russia was a sane foreign policy? Sending even more arms to escalate that conflict was allegedly such a glorious idea that any delay in weapons shipments becomes an impeachable offense?

This unserious charge leveled against Donald Trump distracts from all of his obvious corruption. Trump’s Emoluments violations have been impeachable for years, but the Democrats weren’t interested. Do Democrats long to cash in on the Office of the Presidency next time?

Multiple deaths of refugee children in US federal custody at the southern border could be considered murders linked directly to official policies of harsh treatment and deliberate neglect. Are Democrats afraid of exposing Obama’s own caging of immigrant children?

This current Ukrainegate impeachment charade appears to be motivated only by blind partisanship and the desire to insulate corrupt insiders like Joe Biden from any scrutiny of their actions. The farce has gone so over-the-top that even as Democratic partisan media heralded the testimony of Trump’s Ukraine Ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, Donald Trump’s allies have already used portions of her testimony as a video advertisement for his reelection!

Yovanovitch blatantly lied in her introductory remarks and was caught admitting that Obama’s own State Department had groomed her to answer uncomfortable questions about Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and his appointment inside Ukraine’s gas sector. This gift to Trump now undermines the entire endeavor.

Are Democrats trying to hurt or to help Trump’s reelection?

Joe Giambrone’s fabulous new novel is DEMIGODS.

November 23, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , | 3 Comments

Fueling Iran’s Protests

Ron Paul Institute | November 23, 2019

What’s behind the most recent violent protests in Iran? Is it really all about a gasoline price increase? Why is US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo so enthusiastic about the protests, telling them that the US stands with them against their government? What’s the role of the CIA and the notorious “Ayatollah Mike” in fanning the flames? RPI’s Daniel McAdams joins PressTV’s Debate program to discuss Iran unrest:

November 23, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Demands are Changing’: Iraqi Protesters Continue to Die as Demonstrations Lose Focus

Sputnik – November 23, 2019

At least seven protesters were killed and more than 50 people injured during anti-government demonstrations in Baghdad on Thursday. Despite previous concessions by the Iraqi government, an anticipated end to the protests seems further away than ever before as the protesters’ messaging now appears more and more fractured, an expert told Sputnik.

In the last few weeks, waves of protests in Iraq has seen the deaths of some 325 individuals and injuries to thousands more. Citing police and hospital sources, Reuters reported that police have killed protesters using live ammunition and also fatally fired tear gas canisters at people’s heads.

According to Al Jazeera, another three individuals were killed on Friday and at least 27 were injured.

Massoud Shadjareh, founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Friday to provide his thoughts on why demonstrations are taking a turn for the worse.

Shadjareh told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that while there appeared to be hope and room for demonstrators voices to be heard by the government in the beginning of the protests, “demands are changing” and “the whole nature of the demonstrations [is] changing.”

Initially, demonstrators were rallying around the common goal of ridding the Iraqi government of “corruption,” highlighting officials’ “failure [to] look after everyone” and creating “an infrastructure that was supportive of the people,” he explained.

In addition to protestors having a common goal, strides were made to change the Iraqi government earlier this month when Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi pledged to step down after his successor was named.

Shadjareh pointed out that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s head Shia cleric, also recently expressed support for the protesters as said that “new faces” were necessary to restore the public’s trust in the government.

“If those in power think they can evade dealing with real reform by procrastination, they are mistaken,” the Shia leader said on November 15, as reported by Al Jazeera. “What comes after the protests is not the same as before, so be careful.”

This formerly cohesive message has now become skewed, and according to Shadjareh, larger, more complex issues such as sectarianism are being pushed as primary issues by select groups of demonstrators.

“We need to recognize that there are interests in Iraq,” Shadjareh asserted. “Those interests are going to be … pushed on the back of these genuine concerns of the Iraqis, and there will be manipulation.”

However, he argued, it is essential to remember that the problem with Iraq, in addition to Daesh and the lack of military assistance, “was the invasion” by the US in 2003. “The whole of the infrastructure of Iraq was shattered,” Shadjareh said. “Iraq had to rebuild” with the help of Iran, and now, Tehran’s positive relationship with Baghdad is being reframed by “colonial powers” as a malign influence.

November 23, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment