Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Trump's Bay of Pigs?

You need only scroll down my Venezuela label to get a sense of what is going on, and it's the same old song and dance, my friends.

It's textbook Operation Ajax, but that's another campaign.

"Venezuela’s new assembly ousts attorney general" by Nicholas Casey New York Times   August 05, 2017

BOGOTA — Venezuela’s new governing assembly moved swiftly Saturday to consolidate power, removing the country’s dissident attorney general from her post and replacing her with a close ally of the president who was sanctioned by the United States for failing to protect protesters from human rights abuses.

For months, the dismissed official, Luisa Ortega, has been one of the most vocal critics of President Nicolás Maduro from within his own political party.

In March, she condemned an attempt by the courts to dissolve the country’s legislature, and she has since said that Maduro’s crackdown against protesters has gone too far this year, saying it could constitute crimes against humanity.

On July 30, Maduro held a contentious election to secure control over the country. In the vote, Venezuelans were asked to choose delegates from a list of allies in the governing party who would rewrite the constitution and rule the nation while they did so. Voters were not given the option of rejecting the plan.

All I can say is like it or not, when a government finds itself under attack from within and without by higher powers than themselves, what are they supposed to do? Just sit back and allow themselves to be infested into oblivion? Sell out like the European $ociali$ts?

Ortega had called the vote illegal and tried to use her office to block the assembly’s members from being seated. And after a software company that set up voting systems for the government said the tally had been manipulated by at least 1 million votes, Ortega said she was opening an investigation.

Ortega said the action against her should sound alarms in Venezuela and around the world over the lengths to which Maduro’s government is willing to go to carry out a ‘‘coup’’ against the constitution.

She called it ‘‘just a tiny example of what’s coming for everyone that dares to oppose this totalitarian form of ruling.’’

Saturday’s drama began in front of Ortega’s office as members of the National Guard carrying rifles and shields surrounded her headquarters in the capital, Caracas. She took to Twitter to call the events a “siege.”

Around midmorning, Ortega tried to enter the building but was blocked by members of the security forces. Video posted on social media sites showed the attorney general looking forlorn while retreating from the area.

“We must continue to fight for freedom and democracy in Venezuela,” she said at a news conference afterward. “This country has lost its freedom.”

Those buzz words just aren't getting it done for me anymore.

Cabello, speaking on state television on behalf of the new constituent assembly, said Ortega would be replaced by Tarek William Saab, a close deputy of Maduro’s who has served as the president’s top human rights official.

Saab has been criticized by members of the opposition for defending the government’s tough sentences for political prisoners.

Didn't they just release one of the leaders?

In the days before the vote, the US Treasury Department sanctioned Saab for failing to protect protesters from abuses by members of the security forces during demonstrations.

“As the ‘People’s Defender,’ it is ostensibly his role to stand up for human rights in Venezuela,” the Treasury statement said.

Only one problem: the hullabaloo is coming from a government that not only tells lies to gin up mass-murdering wars, but that also tortures. My problem is as a citizen, I'm now stripped of my ability to prattle on here about the "evil" Venezuelans (I guess that cheap heating oil that the Anglo-American companies wouldn't supply will be drying up).

But he and other government officials had been involved in the “undermining of democracy, as well as the government’s rampant violence against opposition protesters and its corruption,” the statement said.

Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha. 

Ha ha ha hay ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha......

The sanctions were imposed on 13 current or former senior Venezuelan officials.

Fine, as long as US warships aren't bombarding the coast and warplanes dropping bombs.

Maduro on Saturday accused Washington and its regional allies of a campaign of lies against his country in order to appropriate the world’s largest oil reserves, the Associated Press reported.

Well, it wouldn't be the first time.

‘‘They come walking down the middle of the street barking orders, treating rulers like their maids,’’ he said, suggesting that their ultimate goal is ‘‘our immense petroleum wealth.’’

The Empire is going to need it for the war machine as WWIII truly goes global.

Maduro’s comments appeared to be a response to President Trump’s threat to impose economic sanctions on Venezuela after the special assembly was installed Friday.

Maduro spoke in an interview with Radio Rebelde of Argentina, shortly before the assembly ordered the removal of Ortega.

For years, Oretega backed Maduro, including legal action against leading dissident Leopoldo Lopez, who was jailed in 2014. She broke with the government, however, after increasing human rights and democratic abuses. She has said that her daughter and grandson were kidnapped and held for three days in what she considered to be government pressure tactics.....

Some guys at Gitmo can never be let go.



"In 1813, during the Venezuelan War of Independence, forces led by Simon Bolivar recaptured Caracas."

Yeah, I thought Venezuela won its independence centuries ago, and they killed the 21st-century incarnation:

""A Quick Note On Venezuela" (Welsh). "Against Chavez, and all heroes and great men." The people of Venezuela are up against all the money and power in Venezuela (except the army and the people), all the money and power in the world, and still stumble on, yet are insufficiently pure in their 'socialism' for the blogging commentariat, who seem quite pleased with themselves for suggesting to the poorest of the poor that they should just starve to death so the 'real' socialism can emerge.  Anything short of the finest distillation of anarcho-socialist-syndicalist-bolshevik-leninism-maoism is doomed to fail, don't you know?  It's Pol Pot, or fuck it!  Why do these fools even try?  As usual, the enemy of literally staying alive is the ivory tower platonic perfection of left-wing political science." -- xymphora

"Hugo Chavez saw this big pile of oil money that the rich people would have normally just taken, naturally, as they do, and decided to give it to poor people.  Btw, these poor people are poor because they are discriminated against on racial grounds (being indigenous, not European).  Yeah, they could have been smarter on the central banking tricks, and some of their friends got rich in the way that happens when money is flying around, but the fact of the matter that they radically transformed the lives of millions of people.  There is a spirit coming up from below that must not be allowed to be quashed to set an example of what is impossible.  For armchair quarterbacks to criticize them for not being 'socialist' enough - when we're looking at one of the greatest real socialist events in human history! - is both bizarre and embarrassing for the critics.  Maduro just wants to keep this going, in the face of massive resistance, backed up by the CIA and the worst American oil thieves, from a group that resembles what you would get if you ground up Pinochet and all the Argentinian and Brazilian generals, added 90% horseshit, and formed them into lumps in the shape of human beings.  This isn't hard.  As I've said here before, you have to pick the right people as your friends, and stick by them." -- xymphora

I italicized them so you could give them a good read and reflection -- before the perceptions are proved correct:

"Military base attacked in Venezuela as group calls for rebellion" by Nicholas Casey New York Times  August 06, 2017

Straight from the lead war-promoter's mouth.

BOGOTA — Armed men in military uniforms and camouflage released a video early Sunday calling for Venezuelans to rebel against President Nicolás Maduro after his party established an all-powerful assembly meant to secure its grip over the country.

Around the same time, a military base was attacked in the state of Carabobo, near the capital, Caracas, an assault that the government said it had repelled, but not before some of the assailants made off with weapons.

Oh, no, this is bad. Couldn't get Maduro out through the "soft" power of economic hitmen so the attempt at overthrow has now proceeded to a second phase of destabilization, chaotic violence.

“We declare ourselves in legitimate rebellion, united more than ever with the valiant state of Venezuela, to disavow the murderous tyranny of Nicolás Maduro,” said a military man in the video, standing in front of about 20 men.

Local media reported the spokesman was Captain Juan Carlos Caguaripano, a dissident National Guard officer wanted by the government since 2014.

On July 30, Maduro held a contentious election to secure control over the country by establishing a new governing body, called the Constituent Assembly. In the vote, Venezuelans were asked to choose delegates from a list of party allies who would rewrite the constitution and rule the nation while they did so.

Voters were not given the option of rejecting the plan, and opposition parties boycotted the vote.

What we would call a non-binding vote up here, Americans.

On Sunday, local news media reported that explosions were heard at the Paramacay military base in Carabobo, an apparent attack by dissident security forces.

Diosdado Cabello, a powerful member of the ruling socialist party, said the base was “totally under control” and added that “various terrorists have been detained.”

The government released a video later Sunday morning showing the base appearing to be in their control as lines of soldiers stood at attention.

“We were the target of a terrorist, paramilitary, mercenary attack against peace,” said Major General Jesús Suárez Chourio, a military commander who was at the base. “But they found us as a single fist, like an oak tree, united for peace.”

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said in a statement that those captured had confessed to having been under contract from “extreme right-wing Venezuelan activists with connections to foreign governments.” Padrino said some of the assailants had made away with arms from the base’s weapons caches.

There really is no secret as to whom he means.

The military maintained its “unconditional support” for Maduro and the Constituent Assembly, López said.

It was not the first time this summer that the government had faced rebellious officers. On June 27, a rogue faction of the Venezuelan police attacked the country’s Supreme Court and the Interior Ministry. The group released a video where an officer named Oscar Pérez urged Venezuelans to “fight for their legitimate rights.”

No one was injured in the attack, but it made Pérez, who is also a part-time actor, a kind of folk hero among some of Maduro’s opponents. He has even appeared at an opposition rally.


I don't know whether to laugh or cry at such nonsense anymore.

The video Sunday used a similar format to that of Pérez, a single spokesman standing in front of a group of silent men. The man identified as Caguaripano said his men were not looking to stage a military coup, but rather a “civic and military action to reestablish constitutional order,” which would seek a “transitional government and free general elections.”

“The time has passed for secret pacts and deals between tyrants and traitors,” the man said.

He urged security forces to “display banners alluding to 350,” an apparent reference to Article 350 of the Venezuelan Constitution, which encourages people to “disown any regime, legislation, or authority that runs counter to democratic principles.” Pérez also flew a similar banner from his helicopter the day of his attack.


Caguaripano has called for rebellion before. In 2014, during another round of protests against the president, the military issued an arrest warrant against him and about 30 other soldiers and police for an alleged plot to overthrow Maduro.

In a video he released that year, Caguaripano said the “armed forces cannot and are not indifferent,” to “a Castro-communist system that now functions as the government of this country.”

It was unclear what the public reaction would be to the attack. Videos on social media showed small crowds gathered in Carabobo waving Venezuelan flags and banging pots and pans in a sign of support for the rebel security forces.

The idea of military intervention to solve the Venezuelan political crisis has been floated nationally. On July 16, opposition parties held a protest vote against the Constituent Assembly, two weeks before Maduro’s planned election, an unofficial poll they said drew more than 7 million people.

Among the three questions was a vaguely worded one asking whether Venezuela’s military should “defend” the current constitution and “back the decisions” of the National Assembly, what some interpreted as taking the temperature for support for military intervention.

The survey passed by a wide margin.

Who will be Venezuela's Pinochet?


Also seeDueling factions in Venezuela stake claim to powers

What's next, an incursion from the Ecuadoran forests, a Venezuelan Bay of Pigs?


Figured I could bag three birds with one post in order to stay current:

"Iran signs its biggest-ever car deal with France’s Renault" by Amir Vahdat and Aya Batrawy Associated Press  August 07, 2017

TEHRAN — Iran signed the country’s biggest-ever car deal on Monday to build tens of thousands of cars annually under a joint venture with French automobile manufacturer Groupe Renault just days after new US sanctions on Iran were signed by President Trump, who spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron over the weekend about ways to counter Iran’s influence in Mideast conflicts.

Okay, I know this is not going to make certain quarters happy, and the move is either a snub of Trump or a wink-and-a-nod okay. Or he has no influence at all like Obama and was forced to go along with it. Probably wants to anyway; he can keep up the hard rhetoric with Iran while saying he can't help it if the French want to build cars there.

In any event, building cars is a lot better than missiles destroying factories.

Asian and European companies have raced for a share of Iran’s sizable consumer market since international sanctions were lifted. Iran, with its population of 80 million people, sits atop the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves and the second-biggest reserves of natural gas. It also has well-established manufacturing and agricultural industries.

I believe Venezuela has the largest oil reserves!

Just last month, France Total SA and state-run China National Petroleum Corporation signed a $5 billion agreement with Iran to develop the country’s massive offshore natural gas field in the first such deal since the landmark nuclear deal was struck.


Also, Washington granted permission to Chicago-based Boeing and its European competitor Airbus to sell billions of dollars’ worth of aircraft to Iran in September 2016. 

That shows you the power of those corporate behemoths because they have enough clout to buck the Zioni$t lobby.

Renault and other European companies are looking to rebuild their presence in Iran after the lifting of international sanctions. The car deal is expected to create about 3,000 jobs for the two Iranian companies involved: the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran, and the privately-owned Negin Group, which imports Renault products to Iran.

Also last year, French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen reached a deal to open a plant producing 200,000 vehicles annually in Iran. Peugeot was a major player in Iran’s car market before international sanctions were imposed.

Iran produces about 1,350,000 vehicles a year, though authorities hope that number will reach 3 million annually by 2025. There are around 30 car manufacturers in Iran, most of which assemble Chinese and Korean cars in Iran.....

Those would be North Korea cars, right?

Iran will have to stick by them, if for no other reason than Islamic honor and politeness.


And I couldn't help but note this article in conjunction with the car deal:

"French resist official role for Macron’s wife" August 07, 2017

WASHINGTON — At first, the French were charmed by Brigitte Macron, the 64-year-old wife and former high school teacher of France’s new president, 23 years her junior.

There is only one thing I can think of that is worse, and they used to call that robbing the cradle.

But they are not sure they want her to have an official public role — complete with a title, an office, and a budget, all paid for by taxpayers.

By Monday, about 200,000 people had signed an online petition against Brigitte Macron being given an official role, a repeated desire of her husband. The petition is the latest blow to the president’s image, whose approval ratings have continued to fall over his dogged refusal to back down on budget cuts.

Soured on him already? Just last week the Globe was loving him!

Although elected in a landslide in May, only 36 percent of French people now approve of their president, according to recent polls.

He has been in office far less than Trump, is the supposed lead interlocutor and equal of him, and his approval is on the same par. One wonders how he won election -- unless one considers the possibility of a massive over-the-top rigging that would avoid a messy and close race that would have compelled a recount and such. Bankers got their boy in, and it took the French less than 90 days to see it.

During the presidential campaign this year, Emmanuel Macron frequently said that he wanted his wife to have an official, defined status as first lady, along with ‘‘a fully public role.’’

The spouses of presidents receive security guards, office space and a small staff — all of which is paid from the budget of the Elysee Palace. By contrast, creating any kind of official position for Brigitte Macron would require an additional and separate allotment of public funds.

The controversy has erupted in part because Macron has made ‘‘moralizing public life’’ such a central priority of his young administration..... 

I don't want Libertines moralizing to me, sorry.



"Only the Security Council has the authority to refer the conflict to the International Criminal Court. That is unlikely, as Russia, a permanent veto-wielding member of the Security Council, backs Assad’s government and has directly intervened in the war, as has the United States....." 

Their terrorist proxies and head-loppers have done way more and worse, and now that the war is over and Syria has been carved up the war crimes charges will start coming.


But that is a back-burner story right now; this is on high and up front:

"North Korea vows harsh retaliation against new sanctions" by Carol Morello Washington Post  August 07, 2017

MANILA — North Korea on Monday spurned overtures from South Korea and the United States, and instead issued a new inflammatory threat to retaliate against the United States over new UN sanctions punishing Pyongyang for its missile and nuclear tests.

In a speech at the ASEAN Regional Forum, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said that ‘‘under no circumstances’’ would it negotiate away its nuclear weapons, according to a transcript.

I guess you can't make it any clearer than that. Let's talk then.

In prepared remarks, Ri said that the entire US mainland is within firing range of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is North Korea’s official name.

It's bluster, and ironically enough my nation's intel also exaggerates.

He said Pyongyang would use nuclear weapons only against the United States or any other country that might join it in military action against North Korea. And he dismissed stiff UN Security Council sanctions passed Saturday as illegal.

Making clear the nature of the program is deterrence. Same, oddly enough, as the Soviet missiles in Cuba; otherwise, they would have been fired.

‘‘We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table,’’ he said. ‘‘Neither shall we flinch even an inch from the road to bolstering up the nuclear forces chosen by ourselves, unless the hostile policy and nuclear threat of the US against the DPRK are fundamentally eliminated.’’

To paint the United States as the global threat much of the world considers his own country to be, Ri pointedly mentioned the atomic bombs that the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, and cast North Korea’s nuclear program as self-defensive in nature.

WaPo got that one wrong. Polls consistently show the vast majority of the planet find the AmeriKan Empire to be the threat, but then again, this is the Empire's mouthpiece I'm reading.

‘‘Since the emergence of nuclear weapons in the world, it has been proved throughout history that nukes can deter war,’’ he declared.

Or at least an invasion (Iraq, Libya).

Ri’s remarks went unheard by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who left the conference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations early to attend a meeting with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

Tillerson and other diplomats attending the security conference in Manila have spent the last two days racing to find a way to tamp down a standoff that is growing more entrenched and dangerous by the day.

In a news conference earlier in the day, Tillerson said the United States is ready to talk with North Korea if it stops conducting tests of ballistic missiles, the latest ones considered capable of reaching the US mainland.

‘‘The best signal that North Korea could give us that they are prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,’’ Tillerson said at a news conference in Manila. But, he added, ‘‘this is not a ‘Give me 30 days and we are ready to talk.’ It’s not quite that simple. So, it is all about how we see their attitude toward approaching a dialogue with us.’’

Tillerson, who previously has said the United States does not seek regime change in Pyongyang, reiterated his hope that eventually the Korea Peninsula will rid itself of nuclear weapons.

You can excuse the North Koreans for grain of salting that.

‘‘We hope again that this ultimately will result in North Korea coming to a conclusion to choose a different pathway, and when the conditions are right that we can sit and have a dialogue around the future of North Korea so that they feel secure and prosper economically,’’ he told reporters.

If that means selling into the international central banking scheme, they may not want to do that either -- and strangely, North Korea and Iran are the only countries left whose banks are not under some form of western central control. 

It's all dovetailing, isn't it?

But North Korea is not in a conciliatory mood. In what was apparently a chance meeting at a gala dinner Sunday night, Ri spoke briefly with his counterpart from South Korea, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha. During their talk, Ri rebuffed the South’s recent proposal to resume negotiations, calling the offer ‘‘insincere.’’

A more direct warning was aimed at the United States in a government statement published by the state-run KCNA news agency. ‘‘There is no bigger mistake than the United States believing that its land is safe across the ocean,’’ it said.

North Korea, KCNA said, ‘‘will make the US pay dearly for all the heinous crimes it commits against the state and people of this country.’’

Does that mean the North Koreans will be false flagged as the originators of the mushroom cloud over Chicago?

North Korea rarely attends, or is even invited to, international forums like the ASEAN meeting. Ri tried to make the most of it, holding meetings with diplomats from China and Russia, two countries that voted in favor of the latest sanctions. The new measures to punish North Korea include a ban on coal and other exports worth over $1 billion. 

I'm interested in what the Russians and Chinese said to them, and whether the North Koreans were actually as bellicose and belligerent as this report suggest.

China alone is responsible for 90 percent of North Korea’s trade, and Russia like China employs North Koreans as contract workers, whose salaries mostly go directly to their government. 

So the sanctions were sort of a hit on them, a bite the bullet to avoid all out war kind of thing?

Moscow and Beijing both have proposed a ‘‘freeze for a freeze’’ approach, in which North Korea would suspend its missile and nuclear testing if the United States and its allies stop conducting joint military exercises in the region. Washington has rejected that, as a moral inequivalency.

SOUNDS GOOD TO ME, and Washington is the last one to be lecturing anyone regarding war games and testing of weaponry!

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said he told Ri that North Korea should abide by UN prohibitions against missile and nuclear testing.

But he also said that sanctions, while needed, ‘‘are not the final goal,’’ and called for dialogue. Wang urged the United States and South Korea, as well as the North, not to increase tensions.


But let's not go there, right?

"‘Don’t go there,’ Philippine president says on human rights" Associated Press  August 07, 2017

MANILA — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte met Monday with America’s top diplomat, where he voiced solidarity with the United States amid global concerns over North Korea’s nuclear program and angrily dismissed media questions about human rights abuses by his government. 

It's easy for him to do. He appeases the Americans while China does the heavy lifting.

Duterte and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met in Manila at a regional Asia gathering. It was the highest-level interaction to date between a member of President Trump’s administration and Duterte, accused by human rights groups of flagrant abuses in his bloody war against illegal drugs.


"More than 52,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2015 — the most ever."

He's trying to help decrease that in his own way.

If the two leaders discussed those or other US concerns about Duterte’s government, they didn’t do so in public. Instead, the two focused on the alliance between the two countries and on the North Korea issue as reporters were allowed in briefly for the start of their meeting.

Entering an ornate, wood-paneled hall in the Philippine leader’s palace, Tillerson was introduced to members of Duterte’s Cabinet, shaking hands with each. Duterte welcomed the American and said he said he knew the United States was concerned about Pyongyang’s missile program.

‘‘You come at a time when I think the world is not so good, especially in the Korean Peninsula,’’ Duterte said.

Earlier, as they shook hands, the two ignored a shouted question about whether they would discuss human rights. And at a news conference after their meeting, Duterte bristled but didn’t answer directly when asked whether human rights had come up.

Duterte said he shouldn’t be questioned about alleged violations, given the challenges he’s facing. ‘‘Policemen and soldiers have died on me. The war now in Marawi — what caused it but drugs? So human rights, don’t go there.’’

But ahead of the meeting, Duterte’s presidential spokesman, Ernesto Bella, said the topic would indeed come up, along with other pressing matters such as global terrorism threats, economic cooperation, and security in Marawi, the city that has been under siege by militants linked to the Islamic State for more than two months.

Human rights groups have questioned the Trump administration’s willingness to engage with Duterte.

How can they when they commit so many of their own, or absolve the crimes of their predecessors?

But Tillerson argued there’s no contradiction presented by the US decision to help his country fight the militants, whose insurgency in the Philippines has stoked global fears about the Islamic State exporting violence into Southeast Asia and beyond.

U.S.-created ISIS is a handy tool.


The Globe is still saying Tillerson is unqualified, meaning he must be one of the administration officials pumping the breaks on the Big War!

From down under:

"The body of an asylum seeker who was said to have been suffering depressive episodes was discovered Monday by schoolchildren in Papua New Guinea, near the site of an Australian transit center for refugees, and the police said they believed he had hanged himself. The Australian government has repeatedly said no refugees would be allowed to resettle in Australia, drawing condemnation from the United Nations and human rights groups. The discovery of the dead man, who was said to be from Iran, was confirmed by David Yapu, a Manus province police inspector....."


"The submerged wreckage of a US military aircraft was found on Monday, two days after it crashed into the sea off the east coast of Australia and left three US Marines presumed dead, Australia’s defense minister said....."

But they couldn't find Flight 370, huh?

Also seeMaine native among missing after MV-22 Osprey crash off Australia


Trump promises ‘fire and fury’ against N. Korea if it escalates threat

It's the Washington Post pushing him towards war again, and I'm taking the spewing narrative with a grain of salt. The Globe has gone so far as to say he will use a nuclear first strike.

I have to hand it to Trump and his political team. He is either an idiot savant (doubtful), or his team are some of the savviest and shrewdest tacticians to ever come down the pike.

The good thing is it has taken all the attention away from the Samsung trial.