Category Archives: US Politics

The Coming War on Lebanon: Israel, Saudi Arabia, and U.S. Prepare Long-Planned Middle East War

Great article from Global Research. I am not sure if this war is actually going to happen. Israel’s apparent causus belli for the war is because they say that Iran has built a missile factory in Lebanon. Iran has indeed built a missile factory in Lebanon. I am not sure where it is and why Israel cannot take it out. Maybe it is underground. I would guess that it is in the Bekaa Valley.

The missile count for Hezbollah is not correct. Hezbollah actually 150,000 missiles aimed at Israel. There are reports that only six of those are precision-guided, but that is not correct. I don’t know how many precision-guided missiles they have, but they have a lot more than six.

The Lebanese Army is not very good. The effective army of Lebanon is Hezbollah. That is why they had 85% support in a recent poll in Lebanon. A recent move by Hezbollah to consolidate power among itself and its allies in the Parliament actually had the support of 47% of Lebanese Christians. Hezbollah is in an alliance with, among others, General Aoun’s Christian faction. As you can see, Lebanon is a lot more complex than Christians versus Muslims. 

The real enemies of Hezbollah are the Lebanese Sunnis around President Hariri. Recently he went to Saudi Arabia, and the Saudis, with a go-ahead from the US, actually kidnapped him and forced him to stay in Arabia. They also demanded that he resign from the Presidency. He resigned so they would let him go, but when he got back to Lebanon, he withdrew his resignation and once again assumed his position.

The Saudis think that Lebanon is their bitch, but they are wrong. The Hariri faction does not have wide support in Lebanon – maybe 20-25% support. The Saudis were trying to provoke a crisis in Lebanon by having Hariri resign. This might set off internal conflict in Lebanon, which the Saudis want, or it might have been to cause a crisis as an excuse to attack Lebanon. “Hariri Resigns, Calls Lebanon a Hezbollah Dictatorship” would be the headlines, and then the US, Israel or Arabia would use that as a go-ahead to be humanitarian bombers and attack Lebanon “to restore democracy.”

Make no mistake about it, the Saudis want Hezbollah gone. They also want Iran dead and gone. Neither is going anywhere soon.

Iran, Hezbollah (Lebanon), and Syria form the Axis of Resistance. These are the only three official state enemies that Israel has left. They’ve taken out Libya and Iraq. If the Houthis win in Yemen, they might join the Axis of Resistance also. The Gulf states are not friendly to Israel, but Israel does not regard them as enemy states. They even have a long term alliance with the Saudis. Israel has a peace treaty with Jordan and Egypt. However, popular opinion in both countries is dead set against Israel, but both are dictatorships that do not represent popular will.

The Israel-hostile Muslim Brotherhood was replaced by a secular dictator supported by the US, Israel, and the Saudis. The Saudis hate the Muslim Brotherhood because they see them as rivals who want to rule Saudi Arabia. Doctrinally, there is not much difference between the two. I believe Qatar dislikes the MB also for the same reason. The MB is huge in Jordan and occupies many seats in  Parliament. Hamas is the MB of  Palestine, but they never talk about that because Palestine is quite secular, and the MB is not popular there for that reason. The MB is big among Sunnis in Northern Lebanon. Of course they have always been huge in Egypt – their birthplace. Hassan al-Banna created the MB in Egypt in 1928.

Lebanon as a state absolutely hates Israel. They have no relations with them, and the two are officially still at war, as Israel never signed an armistice with Lebanon in 1949. Libya has been neutralized as a state and is no threat to Israel. The new government of Tunisia is saying that they want diplomatic relations with Israel, and this is setting off huge demonstrations in Tunisia. Algeria is not friendly with Israel, but they are no threat either. The same is true in Morocco.

Turkey is also unfriendly, but they are no threat either, and they have been working closely with the Israelis in Syria. Israeli and Turkish intelligence were embedded in Al Qaeda in Syria, along with US, Saudi, and UAE intelligence. If you recall back when Aleppo was finally being liberated, there were intense negotiations going on at the end because there were some allied intelligence officers who had taken refuge in the last holdouts of the city. This included 10-12 US intelligence agents who were embedded in Syrian Al Qaeda.

A lot of people in the region are playing a very dirty game these days!

This previously published article (December 2017) on Global Research reveals the well-calculated plan of the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia on inciting a “civil war” in Lebanon to defeat Hezbollah. 

Israel – seemingly leading the squad with the green signal from Washington – has just fabricated yet another grounds for war. 

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Washington’s plan to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has ultimately failed. Now Lebanon seems to be in the cross-hairs with tensions between Israel and Hezbollah on the same level that led to the 2006 Lebanon war. There is also the possibility that a new offensive against Syria that might take place as Washington maintains its troop levels in the devastated country caused by ISIS and other terrorists groups they supported. Various reports suggests that the Pentagon may reveal that there are close to 2,000 U.S. troops stationed in Syria even though ISIS has been defeated. So why is Washington staying in Syria? Will there be another attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the near future? Most likely, yes. Adding the Trump administration’s continued hostilities towards Iran, the drumbeats of a new war in the Middle East is loud and clear.

Israel, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have one main objective at the moment and that is to destabilize Lebanon and attempt to defeat Hezbollah before they prepare for another offensive in Syria to remove Assad from power. Before they declare an all-out war on Iran, they must neutralize their allies, Hezbollah and Syria, which is by far an extremely difficult task to accomplish.

The Israeli government knows that it cannot defeat Hezbollah without sacrificing both its military and civilian populations. Israel needs the U.S. military for added support if their objective is to somewhat succeed. Israel and the U.S. can continue its support of ISIS and other terrorist groups to create a new civil war in Lebanon through false-flag terror operations which in a strategic sense, can lead to an internal civil war.

Can Hezbollah and the Lebanese military prevent terrorist groups from entering its territory? So far they have been successful in defeating ISIS on the Lebanon-Syria border and will most likely be successful in preventing a new U.S.-supported terrorist haven in Lebanon. Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri who originally resigned from his post while visiting the Saudi Kingdom and then suspended his resignation is a sign that a political crisis has been set in motion. So what happens next?

The Curse: Lebanon’s Natural Resources and the Greater Israel Project

In the case of a devastating war on Lebanon, with a civil war intact, Israel would surely attempt to take control over Lebanon’s natural resources. Since Trump got in the White House, Israel has expanded its Jewish settlements through land seizures throughout Palestine at unprecedented levels and with the occupation of the Golan Heights (a Syrian territory), they already control a portion of oil, gas, and vital water supplies. Lebanon would be a huge bonus.

In 2013, Lebanese Energy Minister Gebran Bassil estimated that Lebanon has around 96 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and 865 million barrels of oil offshore. With Lebanon’s political chaos and Israel preparing for a long-term war with Hezbollah, all of this leads to Israel Shahak’s The Zionist Plan for the Middle East which states the intended goal for the fragmentation of Lebanon and other adversaries in the Middle East:

3) This is not a new idea, nor does it surface for the first time in Zionist strategic thinking. Indeed, fragmenting all Arab states into smaller units has been a recurrent theme. This theme has been documented on a very modest scale in the AAUG publication Israel’s Sacred Terrorism (1980), by Livia Rokach. Based on the memoirs of Moshe Sharett, former Prime Minister of Israel, Rokach’s study documents, in convincing detail, the Zionist plan as it applies to Lebanon and as it was prepared in the mid-fifties.

4) The first massive Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1978 bore this plan out to the minutest detail. The second and more barbaric and encompassing Israeli invasion of Lebanon on June 6, 1982, aims to effect certain parts of this plan which hopes to see not only Lebanon but Syria and Jordan as well in fragments. 

This ought to make mockery of Israeli public claims regarding their desire for a strong and independent Lebanese central government. More accurately, they want a Lebanese central government that sanctions their regional imperialist designs by signing a peace treaty with them. They also seek acquiescence in their designs by the Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian, and other Arab governments as well as by the Palestinian people. What they want and what they are planning for is not an Arab world, but a world of Arab fragments that is ready to succumb to Israeli hegemony. Hence, Oded Yinon in his essay, “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980’s,” talks about “far-reaching opportunities for the first time since 1967” that are created by the “very stormy situation [that] surrounds Israel. 

Israel is gearing up for a long and devastating war against Hezbollah, an Iranian-ally which is based in Lebanon’s southern region to deter Israel’s expansionist ideas. As Saudi Arabia (Israel’s closest ally in the region) continues its immoral and devastating war on Yemen, it is raising tensions with Iran. According to Thomas L. Friedman’s article Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, At Last praising who he calls “M.B.S.” or Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, for his reformist policies. According to Friedman: 

“Iran’s “supreme leader is the new Hitler of the Middle East,” said M.B.S. “But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East.”

The Trump administration’s continued support of the Saudi Monarchy which negotiated an arms deal worth billions has only emboldened the Saudi government to take an aggressive stand towards its adversaries in the Middle East namely, Iran.

Lebanon Prepares for Another War

On November 21st, Reuters published an article titled Lebanon army chief warns of Israel threat amid political crisis based on Lebanon’s Army Chief warning his troops to be on high alert concerning Israel’s aggressive behavior along the southern border. It was reported: 

“Lebanon’s army chief told his soldiers on Tuesday to be extra vigilant to prevent unrest during political turmoil after the prime minister quit, and accused Israel of “aggressive” intentions across the southern frontier” despite Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s return to Lebanon and decision to put his resignation on hold.

The army’s Twitter account quoted the Lebanese Army’s Commander General Joseph Aoun who said:

“Troops should be ready to “thwart any attempt to exploit the current circumstances for stirring strife” and that “the exceptional political situation that Lebanon is going through requires you to exercise the highest levels of awareness.”

Israel understands that a defeat against Hezbollah and the Lebanese military will be absolutely difficult to accomplish, therefore preparations to engage Hezbollah this time will be an effort to create as much damage as possible and reduce their military capabilities, maybe in time for U.S. troops to enter the war through Syria and coordinate targets with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). As I mentioned earlier, and may I add with an interesting choice of words, a report published by Reuters on November 24th suggests that the Pentagon might announce how many troops they have in Syria:

Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon could as early as Monday publicly announce that there are slightly more than 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria. They said there was always a possibility that last minute changes in schedules could delay an announcement. That is not an increase in troop numbers, just a more accurate count, as the numbers often fluctuate.

A War That No One Will Win 

The Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), an establishment think-tank based in New York City published an article on July 30th of this year by neocon warmonger Eliot Abrams who was a deputy assistant and deputy national security adviser for President George W. Bush titled The Next Israel-Hezbollah Conflict admits that “the next war is a war that will not be “won” by Israel or Hezbollah.”

Abrams said that “Israel’s realistic war aims will not match the damage it will suffer—and the damage it will necessarily inflict” in reference to a strategic assessment by a report by Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies titled Political and Military Contours of the Next Conflict with Hezbollah by Gideon Sa’ar, an Israeli politician and a former Likud member of the Knesset, and Ron Tira, a strategist, Israeli Air Force officer and pilot, highlights what Israel’s realistic goals should be:

Israel’s objectives in a future conflict will be derived first and foremost from what it wants to achieve in the distinct context (such as, for example, preventing Hezbollah’s buildup of certain qualitative edge capabilities or preventing deployment of high quality Iranian weapon systems in Syria).

But a review of the fundamental data reveals a few “generic” objectives that could be applicable in many contexts: postponing the following conflict, shaping the rules for the routine times that will follow the conflict, increasing deterrence with respect to Hezbollah and third parties, undermining the attractiveness of Hezbollah’s war paradigm (use of rockets and missiles hidden among the civilian population), preserving Israel’s relations with its allies, and creating the conditions to reduce Iranian involvement in the post-war reconstruction of Lebanon, as well as imposing new and enforceable restrictions on the freedom of access of the Iran-Alawite-Hezbollah axis.

The strategic assessment mentioned what realistic goals Israel can achieve when the conflict takes place according to the assessment:

There is only a limited range of “positive” and achievable objectives that Israel can hope to attain from Hezbollah and from Lebanon. While the purpose of an armed conflict is always political, in many contexts it is hard to find a political objective that is both meaningful and achievable at a reasonable cost, and that is the reason for the basic lack of value that can be found in an Israel- Hezbollah military conflict. 

The reason that an Israeli defeat over Hezbollah is impossible according to Mr. Abrams’s conclusion is because of Russia’s presence in the region:

That’s because Russia cannot be expelled, Lebanon will remain roughly half-Shia, and Hezbollah will survive—as will its relationship with Iran. After the war, the best assumption would be that Hezbollah will rebuild as it did after 2006. But Hezbollah would achieve nothing positive in such a conflict, suffering immense damage and bringing immense destruction upon Lebanon. Its only possible “gain” is the damage it would inflict on Israel. In a way this is the only “good news.”

Israel’s Economy During Wartime

David Rosenberg’s opinion piece Israel’s Next War: We Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet on the 2014 Israel-Gaza Conflict in the Israel-based news source Haaretz explains the consequences of war and how it effects Israel’s economy. Rosenberg said that:

 In 2014, the missile war wasn’t a threat so much as a spectacle, as Israelis watched Iron Dome missiles bring down Qassam rockets, to applause. Score one for the home team.

However, Rosenberg claims that the next war with Hezbollah will be different, in fact it will effect Israel’s economy in several ways:

The next war isn’t going to look like that. The round figure everyone uses for Hezbollah’s missile arsenal is 100,000. That is a suspiciously round figure and is probably wrong, but no one disputes that the Shiite militia is well-armed, and more importantly, many of its missiles carry much more powerful warheads and are much more accurate than they were in 2006. Hezbollah’s arsenal includes attack drones and coast-to-sea missiles, too. For its part, Israel is also better prepared. Iron Dome, which is designed to bring down short-range rockets, has been complemented by the introduction of the David’s Sling and Arrow systems, designed to intercept long-range rockets and ballistic missiles, respectively. 

But against an onslaught of thousands of missiles, no Domes, Slings or Arrows will be able to provide the kind of defense Israelis have grown used to. Israel’s infrastructure and economic activity are vulnerable to even a limited missile attack from Hezbollah. Geographically, Israel is a small country with no hinterland, which means facilities for electric power and water are concentrated in small areas. More than a quarter of electric power is generated at just two sites. Natural gas is produced at a single offshore field and delivered via a single pipeline. A large portion of our exports derive from a single industrial plant. A prolonged missile war will almost certainly bring business to a halt.

Israel’s economy will shrink within a short-time period, according to Rosenberg:

In the worst-case scenario, a post-war Israel would no longer be seen by global investors and businesses as a safe place to put their money and do deals. Imagine Startup Nation without the constant flow of cross-border capital and mergers and acquisitions. The fantasy land of the last 11 years would disappear in a matter of days or weeks.

Rosenberg is correct. For example, during the 2014 Israel-Gaza Conflict, Israel was faced with economic uncertainties. The Times of Israel published an article during the conflict with an appropriate title War depresses people, economy; strong shekel harmful clarified what experts said on how the economy would be effected during a “drawn-out” conflict:

Experts temper the pessimism by noting that in the past, the Israeli economy has been resilient. If the current conflict is resolved quickly, there may be little cause for concern. On the other hand, a drawn out conflict in Gaza may cause investors to worry about the country’s stability and could cause long term damage to Israel’s reputation and position as a key player in the global economy. 

“Our key concerns are the openness of the Israeli economy and our ability to be a key player in the global markets,” Zvi Eckstein, former deputy governor of the Bank of Israel and dean of the School of Economics at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC). Herzliya noted in an interview with The Times of Israel. “It’s really still a key uncertainty how the conflict will end up,” said Eckstein. “Most people predict we will get back to the same relatively stable geopolitical situation as we were in early July, and if so, I would say the economy would rebound back later next year. But if not, the threat to Israel’s economy would be quite devastating.”

That conflict was against a weaker adversary, Hamas. For starters, a war with Hezbollah, Lebanon, and Syria however would have a negative impact on Israel’s tourism industry where it receives more than 3 million tourists (mainly from the U.S. and Europe) per year. Israel’s level of production will also take a hit. The Street published an interesting article How Is Israel’s Economy Affected by the Current War? explaining what happened to Israel’s economy during the 2014 Israel-Gaza Conflict:

The Israeli economy suffers directly from reductions in productivity every time missile alert sirens send the country’s residents into bomb shelters. The economic costs of the war are estimated upwards of $2.9 billion, and already the war has soaked up 1.2% of the GDP. In the event that quiet prevails after a ceasefire is reached, the Israeli economy is resilient enough to withstand the costs of this operation.

History reflects that the Israeli economy surged at a rate of 6% prior to the 2006 Lebanon war and then slowed down to 2.9% prior to this current conflict. The tourism sector is going to be particularly hard hit, and if a third Intifada ensues, the economic costs for Israel could be crippling. Since a big chunk of Israel’s workforce is enlisted in the IDF, productivity declines are widespread and costs are mounting. The IMA (Israel Manufacturers Association) has already listed a figure of $240 million in losses as a result of the war effort.

Another War, Another Tragedy

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Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. want to permanently eliminate the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance, and to achieve that goal, Lebanon will have to become another Libya, causing more chaos in an already volatile situation. The only beneficiaries in this coming war are Israel and the U.S., if of course, they are victorious. The U.S. and their allies would re-establish themselves as the hegemonic power in the Middle East with absolute control over the natural resources including oil, gas, and water. Israel would also expand and conquer more territory for Greater Israel. Saudi Arabia would remain a vassal state with more political leverage over its neighbors.

And if Saudi Arabia foolishly decided to go to war with Iran, the House of Saud will inevitably collapse, since Iran is much more stronger, militarily speaking. Washington plans to keep its military presence in Syria are a signal that removing Assad from power is still on the agenda. Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Trump administration (decertifying the Iran Nuclear Deal with the intention to eventually kill the deal) is a recipe for a planned long-term conflict. Israel’s economy would suffer a major setback if they were to launch an attack against Hezbollah.

Besides, the fact that a war against Hezbollah would mean that missiles would constantly strike within Israel creating a massive amount of stress on Israeli citizens and a downturn of the economy would only add another dimension to the wide-reaching full-scale war. Israel hopes that Hezbollah will be temporally neutralized until the U.S. Congress and the Trump Administration jointly approve another military and economic aid package worth billions in time to continue its wars. Then there is the possibility of a joint U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israeli orchestrated attack on Syria to remove Assad from power to ultimately isolate Iran, but with Russia and China backing Iran, it would be a no-win situation.  The biggest loser in all of its foreign policy blunders is the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

Israel’s plan to launch more aggressive wars against its neighbors to further an expansionist objective would come at a great cost to Israeli citizens, as their economy sinks into the rabbit hole, and the threat of incoming missiles from southern Lebanon makes it that much more worst. Lebanon and to an extent Israel will be once again devastated by a new war. For both sides of the border, it is a formula for disastrous consequences.

This article was originally published by Silent Crow News.

Featured image is from the author.

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Regime Change Fails: Is a Military Coup or Invasion of Venezuela Next?

Great article from Global Research on US machinations against Venezuela. I am not sure if the US would invade Venezuela, but under Trump, all bets are off. The man is a lunatic and so is his insane political party and he and they are capable of anything. However, if we invaded Venezuela, it would set off a big war because a lot of Venezuelans would fight back.

Chavez has distributed guns and all sorts of arms to his supporters in the barrios and rural areas. These Chavista militias train all the time.

The Venezuelan Military would not surrender. Chavez purged the ranks of all of the rightwingers and he stacked the officer corps with his supporters. This was after the first coup when the officer corps supported the coup but the rank and file soldiers did not. That and countless armed masses marching on government buildings reversed the coup quite quickly.

Speaking at his alma mater, the University of Texas, on February 1, Secretary of State Tillerson suggested a potential military coup in VenezuelaTillerson then visited allied Latin American countries urging regime change and more economic sanctions on Venezuela. Tillerson is considering banning the processing or sale of Venezuelan oil in the United States and is discouraging other countries from buying Venezuelan oil. Further, the US is laying the groundwork for war against Venezuela.

In a series of tweets, Senator Marco Rubio, the Republican from Florida, where many Venezuelan oligarchs live, called for a military coup in Venezuela.

How absurd — remove an elected president with a military coup to restore democracy? Does that pass the straight face test? This refrain of Rubio and Tillerson seems to be the nonsensical public position of US policy.

The US has been seeking regime change in Venezuela since Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998. Trump joined Presidents Obama and Bush before him in continuing efforts to change the government and put in place a US-friendly oligarch government.

They came closest in 2002 when a military coup removed Chavez. The Commander-in-Chief of the Venezuelan military announced Chavez had resigned and Pedro Carmona, of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, became interim president. Carmona dissolved the National Assembly and Supreme Court and declared the Constitution void. The people surrounded the presidential palace and seized television stations, and Carmona resigned and fled to Colombia. Within 47 hours, civilians and the military restored Chavez to the presidency. The coup was a turning point that strengthened the Bolivarian Revolution and showed people could defeat a coup and exposed the US and oligarchs.

US Regime Change Tactics Have Failed In Venezuela

The US and oligarchs continue their efforts to reverse the Bolivarian Revolution. The US has a long history of regime change around the world and has tried all of its regime change tools in Venezuela. So far they have failed.

Economic War

Destroying the Venezuelan economy has been an ongoing campaign by the US and oligarchs. It is reminiscent of the US coup in Chile which ended the presidency of Salvador Allende. To create the environment for the Chilean coup, President Nixon ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream.”

Henry Kissinger devised the coup, noting a billion dollars of investment were at stake. He also feared the “the insidious model effect” of the example of Chile leading to other countries breaking from the United States and capitalism. Kissinger’s top deputy at the National Security Council, Viron Vaky, opposed the coup, saying,

“What we propose is patently a violation of our own principles and policy tenets .… If these principles have any meaning, we normally depart from them only to meet the gravest threat . . . our survival.”

These objections hold true regarding recent US coups, including in Venezuela and Honduras, Ukraine, and Brazil, among others. Allende died in the coup and wrote his last words to the people of Chile, especially the workers, “Long live the people! Long live the workers!” He was replaced by Augusto Pinocheta brutal and violent dictator.

For decades the US has been fighting an economic war, “making the economy scream,” in Venezuela. Wealthy Venezuelans have been conducting economic sabotage aided by the US with sanctions and other tactics. This includes hoarding food, supplies and other necessities in warehouses or in Colombia, while Venezuelan markets are bare. The scarcity is used to fuel protests, e.g. “The March of the Empty Pots,” a carbon copy of marches in Chile before the September 11, 1973 coup. Economic warfare has escalated through Obama and under Trump, with Tillerson now urging economic sanctions on oil.

President Maduro recognized the economic hardship but also said sanctions open up the opportunity for a new era of independence and “begin the stage of post-domination by the United States, with Venezuela again at the center of this struggle for dignity and liberation.” The second-in-command of the Socialist Party, Diosdado Cabello, said,

 “[if they] apply sanctions, we will apply elections.”

Opposition Protests

Another common US regime change tool is supporting opposition protests. The Trump administration renewed regime change operations in Venezuela, and the anti-Maduro protests which began under Obama grew more violent. The opposition protests included barricades, snipers, and murders, as well as widespread injuries. When police arrested those using violence, the US claimed Venezuela opposed free speech and protests.

The opposition tried to use the crackdown against violence to achieve the US tactic of  dividing the military. The US and Western media ignored opposition violence and blamed the Venezuelan government instead. Violence became so extreme it looked like the opposition was pushing Venezuela into a Syrian-type civil war. Instead, opposition violence backfired on them.

Violent protests are part of US regime change repertoire. This was demonstrated in the US coup in Ukraine, where the US spent $5 billion to organize government opposition, including the US and EU funding violent protesters. This tactic was used in early US coups like the 1953 Iran coup of Prime Minister Mossadegh. The US has admitted organizing this coup that ended Iran’s brief experience with democracy. Like Venezuela, a key reason for the Iran coup was control of the nation’s oil.

Funding Opposition

There has been massive US investment in creating opposition to the Venezuelan government. Tens of millions of dollars have been openly spent through USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy, and other related US regime change agencies. It is unknown how much the CIA has spent from its secret budget, but the CIA has definitely been involved in Venezuela. Current CIA director, Mike Pompeo, said he is “hopeful there can be a transition in Venezuela.”

The United States has also educated leaders of opposition movements, e.g. Leopoldo López, was educated at private schools in the US, including CIA-associated Kenyon College. He was groomed at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and made repeated visits to the regime change agency, the National Republican Institute.

Elections

While the US calls Venezuela a dictatorship, it is in fact a strong democracy with an excellent voting system. Election observers monitor every election.

In 2016, the economic crisis led to the opposition winning a majority in the National Assembly. One of their first acts was to pass an amnesty law. The law described 17 years of crimes including violent felonies and terrorism committed by the opposition. It was an admission of crimes back to the 2002 coup and through 2016. The law demonstrated violent treason against Venezuela. One month later, the Supreme Court of Venezuela ruled the amnesty law was unconstitutional. US media, regime change advocates and anti-Venezuela human rights groups attacked the Supreme Court decision, showing their alliance with the admitted criminals.

Years of violent protests and regime change attempts and then admitting their crimes in an amnesty bill have caused those opposed to the Bolivarian Revolution to lose power and become unpopular.  In three recent elections Maduro’s party won regional, local and the Constituent Assembly elections.

The electoral commission announced the presidential election will be held on April 22. Maduro will run for re-election with the United Socialist Party. Opposition leaders such as Henry Ramos and Henri Falcon have expressed interest in running, but the opposition has not decided whether to participate. Henrique Capriles, who narrowly lost to Maduro in the last election, was banned from running for office because of irregularities in his campaign, including taking foreign donations. Capriles has been a leader of the violent protests. When his ban was announced he called for protests to remove Maduro from office. Also banned was Leopoldo Lopez, another leader of the violent protests who is under house arrest serving a thirteen year sentence for inciting violence.

Now the United States says it will not recognize the presidential election and urges a military coup. For two years, the opposition demanded presidential elections, but now it is unclear whether they will participate. They know they are unpopular, and Maduro is likely to be re-elected.

Is War Against Venezuela Coming?

A military coup faces challenges in Venezuela, as the people, including the military, are well educated about US imperialism. Tillerson openly urging a military coup makes it more difficult.

The government and opposition recently negotiated a peace settlement entitled “Democratic Coexistence Agreement for Venezuela.” They agreed on all of the issues including ending economic sanctions, scheduling elections, and more. They agreed on the date of the next presidential election. It was originally planned for March, but in a concession to the opposition, it was  rescheduled for the end of April. Maduro signed the agreement even though the opposition did not attend the signing ceremony. They backed out after Colombian President Santos, who was meeting with Secretary Tillerson, called and told them not to sign. Maduro will now make the agreement a public issue by allowing the people of Venezuela to sign it.

Not recognizing elections and urging a military coup are bad enough, but more disconcerting is that Admiral Kurt Tidd, head of Southcom, held a closed door meeting in Colombia after Tillerson’s visit. The topic was “regional destabilization,” and Venezuela was a focus.

A military attack on Venezuela from its Colombian and Brazilian borders is not far fetched. In January, the NY Times asked, “Should the US military invade Venezuela?” President Trump said the US is considering US military force against Venezuela. His chief of staff, John Kelly, was formerly the general in charge of Southcom. Tidd has claimed the crisis, created in large part by the economic war against Venezuela, requires military action for humanitarian reasons.

War preparations are already underway in Colombia, which plays the role of Israel for the US in Latin America. The coup government in Brazil increased its military budget 36 percent and participated in Operation: America United, the largest joint military exercise in Latin American history. It was one of four military exercises by the US with Brazil, Colombia, and Peru in Latin America in 2017. The US Congress ordered the Pentagon to develop military contingencies for Venezuela in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

While there is opposition to US military bases, James Patrick Jordan explains, on our radio show, the US has military bases in Colombia and the Caribbean and military agreements with countries in the region; and therefore, Venezuela is already surrounded.

The United States is targeting Venezuela because the Bolivarian Revolution provides an example against US imperialism. An invasion of Venezuela will become another war-quagmire that kills innocent Venezuelans, US soldiers, and others over control of oil. People in the United States who support the self-determination of countries should show solidarity with Venezuelans, expose the US agenda, and publicly denounce regime change. We need to educate people about what is really happening in Venezuela to overcome the false media coverage.

Share this article and the interview we did on Clearing The FOG about Venezuela and the US’ role in Latin America.  The fate of Venezuela is critical for millions of Latin Americans struggling under the domination of US Empire.

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are co-directors of Popular Resistance where this article was originally published.

If you enjoy the hard work that goes into this website, please consider a contribution to support the continuation of the site. Donations are the only thing that keep the site operating.

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Idiocracy in Power: America, 2018

Donald Trump Is an Idiot, as in Not Real Smart

Headline: Trump’s former Wharton professor: “Donald Trump Was the Dumbest Goddamn Student I Ever Had.

Professor Kelley told me 100 times over three decades that “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” I remember his emphasis and inflection — it went like this — “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.”

Another biographer, Gwenda Blair, wrote in 2001 that Trump was admitted to Wharton on a special favor from a “friendly” admissions officer.

Idiocracy in Power

We talk about how Trump is illiterate,  and in fact he is: Trump literally cannot read or only reads at a 4th Grade level. But this illiteracy is what his base wanted, right? They hate technocrats and experts, people who read, weigh facts, and make proposals based on evidence, preferring lowbrow, shoot-from-the-hip, unreflective living. Trump is their anti-intellectual hero, exactly what they voted for. This is what happens when an entire political party disdains education, intellect, learning, scholarship, etc. We are on the road to Idiocracy. From Dan Quayle to George W. Bush to Sarah Palin and now Trump, it’s been a free fall decline on a rollercoaster of fashionable and comfortable stupidity.

Heaven help us.

New Yorkers on Trump: They Knew Him Too Well

Actual quotes from New Yorkers:

  • Nobody actually liked Donald Trump. Even then. He was obnoxious, if colorful. My (Old School Conservative, WWII vet) junior high teachers (I went to school in a fairly conservative area) cited Donald as evidence of crass 1980’s materialism and of how far this “younger generation” of 80’s yuppies had strayed from their generation’s principals of decency. Donald Trump was always a predictable turd…

  • I am/was a yuppie, and I and my yuppie NYC buddies all loathed Trump, not only because of his crassness but because we knew that he was a lying grifter and an unmeritorious opportunist.

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US Foreign Policy Has Always Been Far More Rightwing Than US Domestic Policy

Jason Y writes: Possibly the Democrats in the US need the US NAM’s for votes, but they don’t need NAM’s in other countries.

US foreign policy has always been far more reactionary than US domestic policy. This contrast is especially stark when looking at the Democratic Party.

The Cold War made this so much worse. The Republicans said any leader who liked labor unions or raised the minimum wage was a Soviet-supporting Communist who needed to be killed or removed via a coup. And many were killed and especially removed via coups.

At the same time, the Republicans spent most of the Cold War screaming at the Democrats for being Communists or at the very least Communist sympathizers or fellow travelers. The Democrats ran scared all through the Cold War, always terrified of being called “soft on Communism.” So they tried to out-Cold War the Republicans and bent to try to out-hate the USSR.

Hence, the Democrats went along with Jonathan Foster Dulles reactionary Containment Project he initiated in the late 1940’s. Foster Dulles was a very rich man who came from old East Coast money. He was also a very rightwing government official. US foreign policy followed Dulles dictum from the 1940’s on, so our foreign policy was molded on a template created by a reactionary from the ruling class.

When Reagan came in, he updated Containment with actual Rollback, and we got Contras, wars in Mozambique and Angola, etc. The Reaganites kept accusing the Democrats of being soft on Communism, and once again, the Democrats ran scared. The horrific Central American projects of the 1980’s, where the US government set up and helped run rightwing death squads that raged across the land, murdering tens of thousands of civilians, was mostly run by some of the most liberal men in Congress, especially the shameful super-liberal Alan Cranston of California and Chris Dodd, the very liberal Connecticut “Senator from Aetna.”

Keep in mind that US foreign policy was reactionary even before the Cold War.

FDR, one of our finest presidents, was a reactionary on foreign policy. He supported the murderous dictator Somoza in Nicaragua, and he made the famous comment, “Somoza may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard.”

Liberal President Woodrow Wilson was not only a reactionary and a proto-humanitarian bomber, but he was also a very racist man domestically. In modern terms, Wilson would be a flat out White Supremacist out of American Renaissance.

The liberal reformer Teddy Roosevelt continued the Monroe Doctrine that declared all of Latin America to be effectively colonies of the US. His famous statement, “Walk softly but carry a big stick,” referred to his reactionary bullying, aggression and immiseration towards our quasi-colonies in Latin America.

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Dead Kids for Freedom

The latest outrage, as combat fatigue sets in across a battle-weary America.

We ought to start a new political group with just that name. I suppose dead kids are a small price to pay to live in a free society.

So far this year, there has been nearly one school shooting every two days in these broken, blighted, benighted, and benumbed United States.

That sentence right there is completely insane. It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. This shows that reality here in America in the current year is so extreme and bizarre that it is almost surreal or something out of fiction. It’s as if our day to day lives have turned into something you see in a theater. What is real and what is fiction (or speculative fiction!) anymore? It’s as if we are living in a dream, and not a sweet one either. Maybe it’s time to dig out our copies of Society of the Spectacle and reread them.

For all of you lunatics out there who think that this bad weirdness is normal in any rational world, I ask you: Why is it that this madness occurs only here in the US and nowhere else in the world? If it’s part of the human condition to shoot up schools every couple of days, shouldn’t it be happening everywhere?

Guns don’t kill people. High schools kill people!

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America Has Never Been a Democracy, Nor Was It Ever Intended to Be One

Another wonderful comment by the great Francis Miville!

There is a problem with American identity: its founding mythology, its Constitution which is supposed to be the result of an Enlightenment-Inspired humanistic democratic republican revolution against a colonial empire. This can be understandable in as much as most scholars tend not to know too much was the real Enlightenment movement was: a movement of the filthy rich of their times who wanted first and foremost to do away with the various particular and limited rights many rather modest or middle-rank people had inherited from the Christian Middle Ages on a caste-basis most of the times.

American-style slavery was the epitome of the ideals of Enlightenment as applied to political economy, and if you care to have a look, you will see that the bulk of the clientele of those ideologues were the slaving classes on both sides of the Atlantic. But the problem now is that the truth about 18th-century Enlightenment cannot be sold due to popular hope worldwide.

Another big identification problem stems from the very word “democracy”: in ancient Greek, it did not mean at all the modern ideal (not the reality) of a government held in check by the commoners’ right to depose tyrants and vote down laws felt as abusive, it never meant government of the people by the people for the people, it meant government by a single governing party (dêmos, from verb daiomai, I divide, I take apart, like the Latinate word party which is related to the very partire meaning taking apart) Eastern European style (minus any form of social ideal however mendacious) or by a closed-access class, and moreover it meant that this ruling party or class had or felt no responsibility towards greater good but cared for their group interests only as a gated community is managed.

It was not different from the modern concept of oligarchy. The ancient concept of oligarchy was rather government by a team so small that everybody knew who did what and who ordered what: as soon as the elite, while comprising no more than 1 or 2%, was just big enough for the power it exerted to be anonymous and without any real possibility of influence from any single individual within it, it was called dêmokratia, and especially when the real leaders preferred to keep their identity secret thanks to the anonymous crowd they manipulated at will, which was the case in Athens, whose symbol of the owl meant that very ideal of secrecy and shady dealings.

When such a ruling class or body felt responsibilities towards the greater good, the regime was no longer called a democracy but a timocracy (government according to honor fostered by personal contribution to the greater good): timocracy was a government of takers and givers, a democracy of takers only, and if you check on ancient Athenian mentality, it considered any form of productive work (poiesis), even the production of poems, a dishonor (another gross insult was demiurge, which meant nothing more than a productive artisan at the city’s disposal).

Greek had a word to denote the right of the commoners to vote down tyrants and bad laws, it was called laodicea (the common people judging), but the city that used this system existed in Phrygia only, in Asia Minor, not in Greece proper, who had too high an opinion of themselves as a superior kind over all humans to stoop down to such a regime. In the 18th century most scholars still knew more or less what real Athens was about in the Classical times, a government where the rich and well to do were told by no one they too had duties towards a higher political or moral authority. The partisans of “democracy” just wouldn’t admit to being compelled to practice the same religion as was needed to keep their inferiors in line.

That was the real meaning of “democracy” under Jefferson’s pen. The ideal sold thereafter to the European commoners was meant as a propaganda trick for useful idiots only, exactly like the worst aspects of totalitarian Marxism later on. That is the identity problem I would like to terminate as regards America.

In a certain sense, I want that country to turn officially fascist – that would be actually more in tune with the real Founding Fathers’ will. This country should no longer be declared to owe its existence to the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution, nor even to the Mayflower Pilgrims – neither describe its real essence in the ears of most.

The US should officially declare that it owes its existence as the first White predator political entity on the American continent to the Viking invader Eric the Red. All Americans should idealize the conquering Viking as their ideal ancestor, thanks to whose blood and example the Wild West could be conquered as a prelude to the imperialistic conquest of the whole world.

America did not appear on the map devising a perfect constitution for the human gender; it appeared as a reality of the soil of its continent as an enterprise to genocide all Indians and all other all-too-romantic bums of that kind to make room for slaving plantations furnished with Negroes and Irishmen.

The main difference with Nazi Germany is that Nazi Germany postulated that the Germanic race was the only worthwhile and successful predator in the world and could propagate only through physical breeding. On the other hand, America postulates that the Viking predator, apart from having ideal blood, has even more value as the most perfect example anybody in the world can follow as a model of self-transformation into a monster, though some races like the Viking-descendant Wasps and some Jews are statistically nearer that ideal type than others.

The US should officially declare itself to be the fatherland of all predators of the world, and of all religions having declared war against common humanity. Any delinquent in the world committing vicious acts of predation or betrayal against their community of origin (as the Vikings were for instance, and as the Jews were according the American Protestant ideal of what a Biblical Jew should be) should be considered a de facto American citizen.

LBJ used to say, in order to justify his policy of desegregation and the temporary establishment of his Grand Society, that the real reason for his move was for the elite to be able to roll back America to official racism and segregation. This was badly needed prelude to get the White Trash ready for a future in which they would be prepared to jettison all human rights and accept a dictatorship together with an Indian-style caste society in exchange for their only real dearest right, that of knowing that however hard they have it, Blacks will have it ten times as hard as servants of the lowest of their own servants, as quoth the Bible.

And I think that time has come. Ideally, the future official religion of such a country formed during or after a second Civil War to come as a revenge for the first should be some form of Hinduism, with the Jews being the Brahmins, the Vikings being the Kshatriyas, and the contemporary Indians being the Vaishyas.

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How the Right Uses Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric to Further Its Reactionary Goals

I am not going to discuss here the rightwing use of anti-immigration policy as a way of politicizing racism, nor as a means of splintering the working class and getting a lot of workers to vote for the parties of the ruling class by voting for rightwing anti-immigrant politicians. Both of those are well-known goals of anti-immigrant discourse.

Not that anti-immigrant discourse is all bad. There are times when immigration is out of control and things need to be brought under order. The use of foreign workers are temporary low wage scabs to increase profits, the abuse of the refugee program, large numbers of problematic immigrants coming to a country, immigrants straining government services, illegal immigrants, environmental degradation by mass immigration, changing the nation’s ethnic and cultural character via mass immigration of foreigners, all of these things are examples of some of the negative effects that can occur via unregulated or poorly regulated immigration.

What I wish to talk about here is something different: anti-immigration rhetoric as a rightwing diversion from rightwing projects, in this case to dismantle the state.

A wildly corrupt and outrageous rightwing parliamentary coup followed by a blatantly corrupt trial of the head of the former president resulted in a hard rightwing putschist state pursuing a radical reactionary project of dismantling all of the progressive reforms of the leftwing PT government under President Lula. Since then, public institutions have been systematically defunded even when they were already underfunded to start with in part because Brazil has never once taxed the rich in its entire existence as a nation. So public services are collapsing due to defunding in the same way that public entities collapsed under rightwing Sam Brownblack in Kansas and the NHS is presently collapsing in the UK due to a death by a thousand cuts via the Tory government.

Public frustration over the collapsing state is at a high level. At the same time, many new immigrants have been coming into Brazil due to the rightwing and US-created collapse of the economy there.

You need to understand about immigration in Latin America. It does not have the racist overtones of the debate here in the US about immigration. Also the income differences between the countries of Latin America are not vast. Latin American nations consider all Latin Americans to be part of a single ethnic mixed race people sharing a single Latin American basic culture. In many countries, the immigrants speak the same language as the residents. This makes even mass immigration much more of a “meh” issue in Latin America than it is here. All Latin Americans are brothers, ethnically, culturally and often linguistically, so why not let your brothers into your house when they desire shelter from a storm?

Hence, even White Argentina has been taking in large numbers of mestizo immigrants from Peru and Bolivia lately with a promise to soon legalize them all. Even heavily White Costa Rica has taken in 1-2 million mestizos from its neighbors who are either impoverished or devastated by street crime with an apparent promise to normalize most of them. Venezuela took in many Colombians fleeing war and poverty without batting an eye, and Colombia took in many rightwing Venezuelans fleeing Chavismo. Except in Mexico, immigrants are seldom deported in Latin America. The idea is to house, integrate and even legalize them as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, the line of Venezuelan immigrants has turned into a flood in some cities.

Brazil’s rightwing gangster state has made clever use of the problems of mass Venezuelan immigration by deviously blaming the collapsed public services (devastated and defunded by rightwing evisceration) on the masses of Venezuelan immigrants! This is apparently not true at all. The immigrants are not overwhelming public services and causing them to collapse. Instead the public services are collapsing via gutting by the rightwing state.

But the government has the people whipped into a wild nativist frenzy over this. This is in spite of the fact that Brazilians and Venezuelans are probably little different ethnically – both being some mixture of Black, White, and Indian. The result has been daily attacks on Venezuelan immigrants in some cities and most recently a spate of high profile arson attacks on buildings housing Venezuelan immigrants.

This could be called attacks on immigrants as a diversion from anti-people rightwing projects. It’s a way of getting people to look the other way and scapegoat innocent people while the state is dismantled by the rich.

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Republican Party Ideology Regarding Government

If it ain’t broke, find a way to mess it up, then privatize it so it really doesn’t work for anyone but those who profit from it.

That’s about it. And people keep falling for this scam over and over and over. The Republican Party ought to be renamed the party of P. T. Barnum.

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Stop the Democratic Party Before It Kills Again!

Here.

The latest dangerous cretinism from the Hillary centrist wing of the DNC. This crowd is committed to bipartisan solutions on anything and everything. How can you have a bipartisan solution with a Republican Party that seems to grow more rightwing and even overtly fascist with each new day? Bipartisanship means giving the Republicans half of what they want. Hell, giving the Republicans 10% of what they want is a terrible idea.

One year into the Trump administration, the pathology of the Democrats remains the same. Whether they call themselves bipartisan, nonpartisan or consensus-driven, they’re still seeking compromise from a party that has no intention of reciprocating, even as millions of Americans are deprived a basic human right. And make no mistake, this is an inherently political act.

I think it ought to be clear right now that the Democratic Party is part of the problem, not the solution.

Some political parties are so deranged that it’s crazy to even meet them halfway.

This project aims to deal with health care in the US. It is stacked with as many Republicans as Democrats, an ominous fact. Most of the rest of the people in this group are health care executives, which ought to once more make us sit up and take notice of  what this group is all about.

Their statements are all completely vague and offer almost no clues about what this group is about. That ought to set off bells right there. Never trust a man who won’t look you in the eye or shake your hand. Why does this group have to hide its motives and aims? Because it’s trying to fool us, that’s why. Any decent political grouping should have no qualms about being up front about their project.

Because of the fact that the language is vague in pretty much every way except on these last two points—that healthcare solutions must be politically feasible, an oft-heard criticism of single-payer from the center, and that they can’t be fiscally “irresponsible,” the usual charge against Medicare for All from the right—the assumption of many on the left is that the group’s intent is to head off the growing popularity of universal healthcare in favor of less radical, more consensus-driven solutions.

Ah, anti-single payer.

This comes along at the same time as we hear that for the first time in US history, a majority of Americans now support single payer medical care. This revolutionary transformation of public opinion probably occurred due to the Republican evisceration of the flawed Obamacare. The Republican “reforms” mean that millions of Americans who were formerly covered under Obamacare are now having their healthcare stolen from them as they are being denied the benefits that they formerly had. It is this, among other things, that seems to be driving public opinion to the left on this issue.

The corporate and wealthy 1% elites in this group must have seen the writing on the wall. Upon reflection, it’s obvious what this group is – it is a shady attempt to derail the popular trajectory towards single payer and head it off at the pass by offering  piecemeal reforms that preserve the profits and ideologies of the people behind this project.

Beware of horses bearing gifts. You never know what’s in that Trojan Horse.

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Crimes of the US-supported UN in Iraq and Haiti

The UN is also completely controlled by the US. Notice that they went into Iraq after our Nazi-like war of aggression and subsequent occupation and colonization of Iraq. They went in there to give the UN’s stamp of approval to this sickening and completely illegal war of conquest. I am so happy that Zarqawi bombed the UN building, killing the UN official assigned to give cover to the occupation of Iraq along with 41 other UN thugs.

Remember when the US staged a coup to over throw Aristide in Haiti? His crime? He raised the minimum wage. This even angered the Clintons, as the Clintons have assets in low-wage factories in Haiti. He also built more schools in eight years than had been built in the previous 200 years. Any country in our Monroe Doctrine backyard that tries to help its people in any way is usually called Communist and attacked by the gangsters in the Pentagon and CIA.

After Aristide was overthrown, the US put in a new government and formed a new military because “liberal Democrat” Bill Clinton had forbidden Aristide to have a military! With no military, this set him up for a coup cooked up by the CIA with a fascist army operating out of Trujillo-land, I mean the Dominican Republic.

The CIA helped reform the Tonton Macutes reformed, who soon set about murdering Aristide supporters. In a short period of time, the reformed Macutes murdered over 3,000 Aristide supporters. During this period, the criminal UN were called in to ratify the US coup. UN soldiers from three different countries stood by and did nothing while the Macutes death squads raged across the land. In fact, the UN army spent most of its time on the edges of the huge slums trying to keep the people from fighting back against the death squads. In this way, the UN army was actually part of the death squad apparatus, pacifying the slums and encircling them so the death squads could murder with greater impunity.

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