Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Three Musketeers go to Caracas?

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on countries to "pick a side" on Venezuela, urging them to back opposition leader Juan Guaido in a Saturday speech at the UN Security Council in New York.

"Now, it is time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem," Pompeo told the Security Council.

Russia accused Washington of plotting a coup attempt and had tried to stop the meeting requested by the United States. "Venezuela does not represent a threat to peace and security. If anything does represent a threat to peace, it is the shameless and aggressive action of the United States and their allies aimed at the ouster of the legitimately elected president of Venezuela," Russia's UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told the UN Council.

On Friday, neoconservative Elliott Abrams was appointed US special envoy for Venezuela.

“Elliott will be a true asset to our mission to help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country,” Mr Pompeo said, according to Reuters.

“It’s very nice to be back. This crisis in Venezuela is deep and difficult and dangerous,” Abrams said Friday. “And I can’t wait to get to work on it.”

Chirped John Bolton (twitter):

Pleased to hear that my good friend Elliott Abrams is rejoining State as Special Envoy for Venezuela. Welcome back to the fight.

Abrams is known as the "Assistant Secretary of Dirty Wars," a title he earned during his stints with the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations:

In 1993, after a UN truth commission which examined 22,000 atrocities that occurred during the twelve-year civil war in El Salvador, attributed 85 per cent of the abuses to the Reagan-assisted right-wing military and its death-squad allies, assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Abrams said: “The administration’s record on El Salvador is one of fabulous achievement.”
Abrams organized the illegal, covert financing of Contra rebels in Nicaragua behind the back of Congress, which had cut off funding.
Abrams lied to Congress twice about his role with the Contras. He pleaded guilty to both counts in 1991 but was pardoned by George HW Bush.
Abrams, a decade later, while working as special Middle East adviser to former president George W Bush,
Abrams was an enthusiastic advocate of the disastrous Iraq invasion.
Abrams was in the Bush White House at the time of the abortive coup in 2002 against the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Abrams helped lead the US effort to stage a coup to overturn the results of the 2006 Palestinian elections, complete with murder and torture.

Also on Friday, a Wall Street Journal report confirmed suspicions that opposition leader Juan Guaido's move to declare himself "interim president" of Venezuela this week was highly coordinated with the Trump White House and Republican lawmakers.

Guaido's move and U.S. President Donald Trump's rapid endorsement were quickly decried as a dangerous intervention—or the beginnings of a coup d'etat—which progressives argued would dramatically worsen the country's economic and political crisis. As Common Dreams reported, over 70 academics and experts signed an open letter demanding that the U.S. "cease encouraging violence by pushing for violent, extralegal regime change."


Monday, 21 January 2019

Has hell frozen over? The NYT produces long pro-Palestinian oped!

JVL Introduction

What is so important about this opinion piece, as well as what it says, is where it was published: in the New York Times traditionally uncritical in its support for the state of Israel.

It looks like a tipping point has been reached. As with other recent opinion pieces American Jews and Israeli Jews Are Headed for a Messy Breakup published earlier this month and Anti-Zionism Isn’t the Same as Anti-Semitism published in December , it is now permissible to look at what America’s closest ally in the Middle East is doing – and not like what you find.

Time to Break the Silence on Palestine

Martin Luther King Jr. courageously spoke out about the Vietnam War. We must do the same when it comes to this grave injustice of our time.

Michelle Alexander, Opinion Columnist, New York Times 19 January 2019
“We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak,” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared at Riverside Church in Manhattan in 1967.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Brexshit: Leave of the Dead!

You could call it swing Saturday or crossover day, for this Saturday, 19 January, marks an important moment. This is the day, in theory, when the country turns remain. Even if not a single person has changed their mind since the referendum, the demographic shift alone will have done the heavy lifting. Enough old leavers will have died and enough young remainers will have come on to the electoral register to turn the dial on what the country thinks about Brexit.

The psephologist and founding YouGov president, Peter Kellner, calculates that the leave vote has been declining by about 1,350 a day, taking into account the differential turnout: the young turn out to vote much less often than the old. By using exactly the same proportion of every age group turning out to vote exactly as they did in 2016, demographics alone will have transformed the UK into a remainer nation.

The true “will of the people” looks considerably more questionable if it turns out to be the will of dead people – not the will of those who have the most life ahead of them to face the consequences. Does this guarantee remain would win a referendum this year? Of course not. People are changing their minds, though polls show predominant movement in the pro-remain direction. But once a ferocious campaign gets under way there’s no knowing what might swing opinion. No one expected the leavers’ two toxic lies to spring out of the wicked imagination of the likes of Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove – £350m a week extra for the NHS and 70 million Turks destined for our shores.

Polly Toynbee.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Fuxit Brexshit!$%£&@&

Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has been rejected by 230 votes - the largest defeat for a sitting government in history.
MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject the deal, which sets out the terms of Britain's exit from the EU on 29 March.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has now tabled a vote of no confidence in the government, which could trigger a general election.
The confidence vote is expected to be held at about 1900 GMT on Wednesday.
The defeat is a huge blow for Mrs May, who has spent more than two years hammering out a deal with the EU.

Auntie Beeb.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Honduras good + Nicaragua bad = Orwell power of three

A Selective Approach

Two Latin American countries are currently in the cross-hairs of the regime in Washington: Honduras and Nicaragua.

Both are bowing under extreme corruption, street violence and Government crackdowns. Both have skidded to the bottom of the human rights league tables.

Yet one of the two is the recipient of $68 million of US foreign aid, the other is being sanctioned, claimed to be part of the 'tyrannical trio'.

Can you guess who?

Terrible Person and (former) Trump Apparatchik Nikki Haley cackled thus at the UN assembly recently (slightly paraphrased):
The People of Honduras stood with us in our decision to move the US Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem [...]
I doubt very much that the 'people of Honduras' had even the slightest say in their Government's decision but anyway, what's important here is that in order to MAGA, Trump is willing to throw away free money to backyard states that support his questionable FP.