Venezuela and Binary Choice 422


When a CIA-backed military coup is attempted by a long term CIA puppet, roared on by John Bolton and backed with the offer of Blackwater mercenaries, in the country with the world’s largest oil reserves, I have no difficulty whatsoever in knowing which side I am on.

Juan Guaido has been groomed for 15 years as a long-term CIA project. His coup attempt yesterday, which so far appears to have stalled, was the culmination of these efforts to return Venezuela’s oil reserves to US hegemony.

It is strange how the urgent installation of liberal democracy by force correlates so often with oil reserves not aligned to the USA, as in Libya, Iraq or Venezuela, while countries with massive oil reserves which permit US military domination and align with the West and Israel can be as undemocratic as they wish, eg Saudi Arabia. Venezuela is an imperfect democracy but it is far, far more of a democracy than Saudi Arabia and with a much better human rights record. The hypocrisy of Western media and politicians is breathtaking.

Hypocrisy and irony are soulmates, and there are multiple levels of irony in seeing the “liberal” commentators who were cheering on an undisguised military coup, then complaining loudly that people are being injured or killed now their side is losing. Yesterday the MSM had no difficulty in calling the attempted coup what anybody with eyes and ears could see it plainly was, an attempted military coup.

Today, miraculously, the MSM line is no coup attempt happened at all, it was just a spontaneous unarmed protest, and it is the evil government of Venezuela which attempts to portray it as a coup. BBC Breakfast this morning had the headline “President Maduro has accused the opposition of mounting a coup attempt”… Yet there is no doubt at all that, as a matter of plain fact, that is what happened.

The MSM today is full of video of water cannons against “protestors” and a horrible video of a military vehicle ramming a group. But it has all been very carefully edited to exclude hours of footage of the same military vehicles being pelted and set alight with molotov cocktails, and shot at. The presentation has been truly shocking.

In any civilised country, attempting to mount a military coup would lead to incarceration for life, and that is what should now happen to Juan Guaido. The attempt by the West to protect their puppet by pretending the failed military coup never happened, must be resisted, if only in the cause of intellectual honesty.

The resort to violence forces binary choice. I have been and am a critic of Maduro in many respects. I believe the constitutional changes to bypass Parliament were wrong, and the indirectly elected Constituent Assembly is not a good form of democracy. Venezuela does have a rampant corruption problem. US sanctions exacerbate but are not the root cause of economic mismanagement. There are human rights failings. But Chavez made revolutionary changes in educating and empowering the poor, and it is a far better governed country for the mass of its population than it would ever be under a US installed CIA puppet regime. Maduro was legitimately elected. The attempt at violence forces a binary choice.

I know which side I am on. It is not Guaido and the CIA.

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422 thoughts on “Venezuela and Binary Choice

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  • joe Emersberger

    Venezuela easily has as much right to call itself a democracy as the UK or USA. The comparison of Venezuela to Saudi Arabia is off the mark, even though your point about the stunning hypocrisy of Saudi arming states condemning Venezuela is an important one. Venezuela’s government has tolerated a US-backed insurrectionary opposition since 2001 when Chavez-US relations soured for good. That opposition made four efforts to oust the government by force BEFORE Maduro called for the election of a constituent assembly. In the US that kind of opposition leadership would have been in jail (and likely dead) after the first attempt – and the country that openly backed them would have been bombed. Under those conditions the UK or US would declare martial law, not call for the election of a constituent assembly (which is allowed under Venezuela’s constitution though you can reasonably object to some of the details about the way Maduro called it). The problem here is not whatever limitations (real or invented) exist within Venezuela’s democracy under these conditions. The problem is the gravely limited democracy that exists within the leading gangster states.

    • J

      Yes, to make the comparison already concedes too much ground to the propaganda argument, when by many accounts the problems Chavez and Maduro created arose primarily from being too tolerant, too fair to fundamentally undemocratic capital forces besieging Venezuela from within. But to do anything else would have invited an immediate recourse to ‘humanitarian intervention’ by the usual cheats, liars and thieves.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ joe Emersberger May 1, 2019 at 16:44
      I agree, and am not nit-picking, but putting a point of information:
      ‘… Venezuela’s government has tolerated a US-backed insurrectionary opposition since 2001 when Chavez-US relations soured for good…’
      In reality, the US planned to overthrow the Venezuelan government at least as early as 2000.
      Watch this video: ‘Alex Jones Interviews Aaron Russo (Full Length)’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3NA17CCboA
      Don’t let the fact that Alex Jones did the interview put you off – the important thing is Aaron Russo’s testimony.

  • Bert

    “It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

    Pinter., H. (2005) Nobel Prize Speech.

    Bert.

    • Jo

      Anything….anywhere..legal or not at any level ..that can be used by the USA and tag along associates to gain leverage especially against Russia China and Iran….will be used….to shore up the ego of these psychopaths….hence Pompeo or one of them including labelling Venezuela as a sponsor of international terrorism….

    • Sarge

      “Regarding oil Bolton merely stated that Maduro had mismanaged the oil industry, while the “new president”, backed by US industry, would boost investments again. A trivial statement.”

      No reasons provided by the author as to why this is “A trivial statement.” We are just to accept that it is. And that’s that.
      A different perspective indeed.

    • Tim

      Thanks, an interesting take. I certainly agree that the oil-only narrative is too narrow. It’s geopolitics. Still, the US is the rogue player.

      • nwwoods

        There’s more to V’s natural resources than oil. According to Investopedia, Venezuela “…has an estimated $14.3 trillion worth of natural resources. It is the leading exporter of bauxite, coal, gold, iron ore and oil. The country’s oil reserves are greater than those of the United States, Canada and Mexico combined. Venezuela is the third largest producer of coal after Brazil and Colombia. It also has the eighth largest reserves of natural gas accounting for 2.7% of the global supply. Venezuela also has the second-largest reserves of gold deposits.”
        Certainly mining was on Chrystia Freeland’s mind when she took it upon herself to convene the so-called Lima Group. Canada’s rapacious mining companies have a big foot print in Latin America.

  • Loony

    It is all quite simple.

    The 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement established the US$ as the world reserve currency. The $ was backed by gold and the power of tthe non war ravaged, US economy. In 1971 the US was no longer able to maintain $ convertibility into gold and so Nixon closed the Gold Window. The proximate cause for this were repeated French demands to convert $’s into gold and US expenditure in Vietnam (a former French colony that the French had tried and failed to control by force).

    The US immediately moved to secure a deal with Saudi Arabia so to ensure that the $ would effectively be backed by oil. For this policy to work the US needs to be in control of oil supplies – certainly any oil supplies that are large enough to compete with Saudi. Hence there is a consistent pattern of US interference in any country outside of its direct influence that possesses large oil reserves.

    This has led to the destruction of Iraq and Libya and explains the constant threats against Iran, Russia and Venezuela.

    Any sudden unwinding of the power of the US$ will lead to global catastrophe – mass starvation at best, but most likely nuclear war. There are things that can be done with a view to affecting a type of gradual change. Trump for example and his expressed desire for dialogue with Russia, the UK for example and the populations expressed desire to withdraw from the EU. Both of these things tend to be most vehemently opposed by those who wail loudest about the fate of the foreign man that has had the misfortune to be born on ground containing vast amounts of oil.

    If you define yourself as being in way supportive of “globalism” (no matter how loosely that term is defined) then you absolutely have to kill the foreign man and most probably you have to kill the foreign man at an accelerating rate.

    No-one will be persuaded by argument and reason and so the circus of death will continue. Not all problems have solutions, but most have explanations.

    • N_

      Is that a draft essay to win you brownie points on a training course somewhere either north or south of the river? “Not all problems have solutions” – cool ending. And if they have explanations, then sources and analysts of intelligence “product” are both required. Right?

      • Loony

        Like I said no-one will be persuaded by argument or reason, so carry on and enjoy the orgy of vacuous consumption and the killing fest that is an inevitable corollary of such behavior.

    • Republicofscotland

      Good points Loony, the 70’s saw America’s industrial growth slow considerably, so much so it slid behind Germany, Japan, France and even Italy, as you say the price rise of oil, was the biggest shock to the Bretton Woods order.

      The transfer of Middle East oil to Middle East ownership, and the rise of OPEC in 1961 only compounded matters. The vast costs to keep the Vietnam war running, Washington financed up to its neck borrowing in order to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Ho Chi Minh, only added to the Bretton Woods systems collapse.

    • Hmmm

      Neither conclusion is inevitable.
      Nuclear weapons are simple propaganda. An educated man such as yourself should know they don’t really exist.
      Mass starvation will be a choice. We don’t have to let it happen. But then famines have always been a choice.

  • Jack

    Speaking on leaking information. Will Gavin Williamson also face jail now after his “leak”? I guess not.

    • DiggerUK

      Get real. Time in the sin bin, then a phoenix moment. This country is brilliant at recycling Ministers of Defence…..world leaders aren’t we?…_

    • N_

      Gavin Williamson implies in his letter to Theresa May that a “thorough and formal” inquiry has not taken place and will not take place in the future either. He does this when he writes “I am confident that a thorough and formal inquiry would have vindicated my position”.

      He may be hinting that he’s on the side of some of the officers in MI6 and armed forces intelligence who believe that China has penetrated the British military at a high level. Oh dear oh dear. What will former MI6 director Richard Dearlove’s next step be?

      Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who sat and still sits on the National Security Council, made millions of quid in China. he is known to have had the British Council as one of his business partners, but reason suggests he did not give up the opportunity to make friends in the Chinese elite too. I wonder at what level his Chinese wife has been security cleared?

      It’s always nice to get a good Tory snouts-in-the-trough money-and-security-leak scandal.

      What did Theresa May know? Because someone must have blabbed about the NSC meeting.

      • Goose

        Yes, this sounds like a plausible explanation, if the allegations it was him are true.

        In other words, the intentions behind any leak weren’t malicious, merely to highlight/ frustrate a decision those in the intel community wanted highlighted, since they themselves can’t go public. And the Telegraph isn’t exactly anti-secrecy or anti-establishment, is it.

        • jake

          So you reckon nobody at the Telegraph will be prosecuted nor that their offices will be raided and hard discs confiscated? Me neither.

          • Goose

            The story had been in the news so much after similar debates around Huawei equipment in other countries and amid warnings from the US about continued intel sharing over UK networks incorporating Huawei equipment I just don’t think anyone took it seriously as a subject worthy of ‘top secret’ status.

            We do tend towards overclassification in the UK and there is often secrecy for secrecy’s sake.

            Personally, were it left to me, I’d have much, much stronger freedom of information and even publish cabinet minutes – outside wartime, anyways. These ministers are supposed to be ‘our representatives’; not our masters.

        • Rod

          Mrs May has dismissed her Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, for allegedly leaking some of the details of a cabinet meeting to a national newspaper where defence chiefs were present discussing the security of a telecommunications contract awarded to the Chinese company, Huawei.

          In her dismissal letter Mrs May indicated to Mr Williamson she believed there was compelling evidence that he was the source of the leak.

          Is it believable Mr Williamson could be capable of such a betrayal of trust ? Absolutely.

          Is it also believable Mrs May could have made yet another mistake ? Mrs May has a track record where it is difficult to identify a single sound decision she has made since attaining any senior government position.

          Mrs May, alone, was historically responsible for the Windrush affair and when that came to light, she let her Home Secretary take responsibility and accepted her resignation. She called a general election when there was no real need and lost the majority her party held in government. She appointed the worst Foreign Secretary this country has ever known culminating in a British national being given an increased prison sentence in Iran. She appointed a Brexit Secretary who has left this nation in a state of turmoil that will take generations to remedy and she appointed the current Transport Minister from a succession of ministerial offices where the bill from his continual poor judgment is just uncountable.

          Mrs May has made her previous occupant of No.10 look like a brilliant and mental political giant so why would anyone think she could have arrived at a correct conclusion this time which has resulted in Mr Williamson’s dismissal ?

          Mr Williamson has a history of personal loyalty to Mrs May whose prime ministerial days are numbered. His history also records him as being rash, impulsive and un-thinking leading him to being incautious. He is relatively inexperienced and appears overconfident which has led him to his current predicament where he believes he finds himself as a pawn in an ugly chess game where, probably, the real target is Mrs May, so one of her mainstay props had to be kicked from under her.

          Mr Williamson is probably experiencing a full ‘deep state’ performance and although he, himself, may have had a preference for a full police inquiry that would be no guarantee to establish his innocence. He should ask the Russians about that, who he told to shut up and go away, when they were labelled as the only entity capable of manufacturing Novichoc after such compelling evidence. Such is the state this country finds itself in where subterfuge is rife, false flags and disinformation are so normal that nobody knows what to believe.

          • Borncynical

            Very well said, Rod.

            With regard to Theresa May’s past history: she was also Home Secretary when known Libyan terrorists (including the infamous Abedi family) were offered sanctuary in the UK, with a mind to exploiting their anti-Gaddafi pedigree to assist the West’s ambitions in Libya; it has of course been under her watch as PM that the UK participated in the illegal and (reliable) evidence free allied military attack on Syria contrary to international protocol; she only reluctantly brought the OPCW in late to the Skripal investigations when she was advised that if she didn’t call them in the Russians were entitled to and that, by inviting the OPCW to investigate, she was entitled to maintain full control of their reporting; latterly she has elected to ignore the verdict of the International Court of Justice and all but buried the scandal of the Chagos Islanders; as Home Secretary she was directly responsible, even after appeal, for ordering a 90 (ish) year old South African woman to leave this country where she had been taken ill whilst visiting her only remaining family and outstayed her visitor’s visa – she was not claiming any financial support from the UK. It was only after public outcry that the Home Office relented.

            The list goes on…

          • Borncynical

            Sorry, forgot another very important May ‘achievement’…

            …she has allowed dozens of terrorist ‘White Helmets’ to become UK residents and settle who knows where – we can only hope they are being kept under 24 hour observation (at great expense to the taxpayer no doubt) as we certainly would not wish to see a repeat of the Manchester bombing, would we?

          • SA

            Rod
            I agree with you but there is one slight thing to add. Mrs May’s letter says that the reason she sacked him was his lack of candour with regards the investigation, not that he is the source of the leak. This may be a sort of cover up for something even bigger but I don’t know what.

        • Piotr Berman

          You are obfuscating the issue. Her Majesty Government proclaim Mr. Williamson (private person) to be guilty, so the entire Kingdom, United as it still is, plus scores of allied countries including USA, Montenegro and with all possible sizes in between will trust that judgement. One does not even need photos of dead ducks.

          OTH, no sensible person would seek asylum in Ecuadorian embassy with cramped quarter, grumpy and snoopy personnel etc. Spain can be better. Another possibility is Tuvalu, that may charge a smallish fee — this country is always broke and would appreciate even one thousand pound (can an honorary consulate provide an asylum?).

      • Goose

        Sky News’ Alistair Bunkall just tweeted :

        Spoken to Gavin Williamson …[Williamson] said he believes this is the settling of a vendetta between him and Mark Sedwill.

        This is becoming farcical.

          • Tatyana

            By the way, it was so outstandingly rude of him to say “shut up”. I could not believe that it was pronounced by a Minister of Great Britain (and we still think that Britain is a country populated with all gentlemen and ladies).

            Now I see Mr. Williamson simply has no control of his tongue.

          • Borncynical

            Tatyana

            You certainly weren’t alone in being thoroughly appalled at his diplomatic skills. This is part way to just retribution. He is maintaining his innocence whilst Mrs May is claiming “compelling evidence” points to Williamson. If he is innocent as ‘charged’ he now knows how the Russians felt! Good riddance is what I say…it just needs a few more to go the same way, including May herself.

          • Borncynical

            CB (21.02)

            And what exactly has President Putin done to deserve this snide slur? One good example will do. I recall seeing an interview with him in which he was asked about his approach when it comes to dealing with world leaders whom he is generally at odds with politically. He responded that ‘two world leaders will always have common ground or interests no matter how trivial and not necessarily in the political sphere. This should be the platform for working on a good relationship and will make discussions on areas of disagreement more constructive.’ He said that the skill is in identifying common ground. Wise and truly diplomatic sentiments which the likes of May, Williamson, Hammond etc would completely fail to understand.

          • Piotr Berman

            Charles Bostock belongs to the good, happy and sane people so he surely had a valid reason. Because personally I am lacking in GHS triad, I can only guess that the reason is that “Putin is a bad guy ANYWAY” and therefore being snide about him is a proper way to accentuate another good, happy and sane day.

          • Charles Bostock

            @ Borncynical

            What “snide slur” ? I said that Gavin Willamson’s “no control of his tongue” (to use Tat’s elegant formulation) was “nykulturny” and so unlike Mr Putin; hence I was saying that Mr Putin was “kulturny”. Surely you would agree with that?

          • Borncynical

            CB (13.20)

            So I should infer that you have become such a fan of President Putin that you are now throwing compliments his way? To use my mother’s favourite expression “I’m not as green as I’m cabbage looking”.

          • John2o2o

            I apologise for my countrymen Tatyana. Some of them do not know how to treat a lady.

        • John2o2o

          Hmm … and this from the Daily Mail on 20th January:

          “Last month, The Mail on Sunday revealed that Mr Williamson had been overheard plotting a Tory leadership bid in The Colony Grill in London’s Mayfair.

          Party sources said that they had heard him boasting about his links with the DUP and how he could outmanoeuvre Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid at the next contest.

          And last year this newspaper revealed that Mr Williamson had boasted he would ‘break’ Theresa May if she did not boost funding for the Armed Forces. His battles with Philip Hammond’s Treasury over the issue led to the Chancellor’s friends dubbing him ‘Private Pike’.”

          Well, at the moment it seems it’s Pike who has been outmanoevred. Perhaps he will set his pet spider Cronus on Mrs May!

      • Mary Pau!

        Now I am totally confused.Gavin Williamson who made his money in China and has a Chinese wife, advised the NSC to exclude Huawei from involvement in building any part of the UK’s 5g network. He is believed to have leaked agreement by the NSc to allow Huawei to work on “non core” parts of the network to the press, which he denies and been sacked as a result.

        I assume he is opposed because he does not believe Huawei’s assurances of independence from the Chinese government. (In common with American and EU officials. So is GW supposed to be pro or anti China?

          • David

            @MP,
            Huawei being ‘accepted for non core use’ in UK 5G is actually a huge thing. For whatever reason T.May PM has pushed contrary to 5VEY hysteria. non-core , means basically 99% of the new network, it means that she knows it is ok, and the Telnet (local) diagnosis port is not a backdoor, according to Vodaphone, you are not quoting the resolution of that discussion – just the hysterical 5VEY starting position.

            I personally thought it might be Hunt, but didn’t Gavin preside over the Salisbury chaos?

          • pete

            David is correct, their was a big hullabaloo in the tech community about ‘back-doors’ in Huawei electronic communications equipment, but no such back-doors were found. The problem remains about whether we can trust such equipment from China in future, but it also remains about equipment from everywhere else. Given the close relationships between the Tech companies and government security agencies, who do you trust with your communications?

        • Kerchée Kerch'ee Coup

          @Mary Paul

          Not surprising really . Jeremy Rhyming Slang was famously confused as to whether his wife was Chinese or Japanese during his visit last year

      • Jimmeh

        The guy’s a total numpty.

        What was he thinking, threatening to send our brand-new one-and-only 6-billion-pound aircraft carrier, only half-equipped with aircraft and with barely any escort ships, to patrol the South China Sea? That had the Chinese immediately cancel a trade mission by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

        Some folk here are suggesting that it’s OK to leak proceedings of the NSC, because what happens in government should be public knowledge anyway. That’s nuts; the NSC is a forum for cabinet ministers and security chiefs to share confidences. He should be prosecuted as a traitor.

        Talk about a loose canon. Either he’s really thick, or he has a screw loose; or there’s something much darker going on.

      • Andrew Paul Booth

        Indeed. As your source clearly states:

        “… The challenge of informing people is twofold. The name “5G” is deceptive, implying a simple upgrade from the current 4G or fourth generation wireless. And many WiFi routers now display “5G” as a mode option, but it means “5GHz” in that context, not actual “5G” — an industry ploy to normalize the term’s acceptance through intentional obfuscation. -Ed. This ruse cleverly disguises the reality that 5G means densification, with each individual, visible antenna being replaced by thousands of tiny antennas menacing people, animals and nature from every nook and cranny on Earth and from 20,000 or more satellites with lethal, laser-like beams hitting their unwitting targets millions of times a day like silent bullets. The second difficulty is the tight control of the media. Hardly a whisper of negativity about 5G penetrates the public sphere, while its claimed benefits are constantly touted in puff pieces in newspapers and in numerous promotional videos. Yet in the space of only a year since we first heard about the impending catastrophe that is 5G, the message has spread virally through the alternative and social media…”

        I myself certainly would suggest waiting to see what these two Swiss kinitiatives come up with:

        Switzerland, 9 April: The Canton of Vaud adopts a resolution calling for a moratorium on 5G antennas until the publication this summer of a report on 5G by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.
        https://takebackyourpower.net/5g-vaud-switzerland-adopts-moratorium/

        Switzerland, 10 April: Geneva adopts a motion for a moratorium on 5G, calling on the Council of State to request WHO to monitor independent scientific studies to determine the harmful effects of 5G.
        https://www.letemps.ch/suisse/geneve-adopte-une-motion-un-moratoire-5g

      • Paul Barbara

        @ J May 2, 2019 at 00:06
        Good to know there are SOME authorities who put people before the profits of Corporations, and the machinations of the military and other government agencies.

      • Clark

        J, I’m uneasy about the proposed higher frequencies for 5G, particularly possible cumulative health damage; roll-out should be postponed until independent tests are made publicly available. However, I very much doubt that 5G frequencies are as lethal as some minor websites are claiming. Engineers and laboratory staff are people too, and have families; non-disclosure clauses in employment contracts are likely to prove ineffective at suppressing information about a technology that they know to be highly dangerous and will be impossible to avoid.

        I regard 5G as technological overshoot. Big money has been made from networking and the big data it collects, and investors are hoping to scale that up for even more profit. But toasters and fridges have far less interesting lives than people, even if they’re connected to the Internet, and most people probably don’t want to spend much of their lives wearing spectacles that superimpose computer graphics with the inevitable adverts over the actual world and need recharging twice a day; the investors are unlikely to see the returns that have been hyped.

        • KingofWelshNoir

          ‘…most people probably don’t want to spend much of their lives wearing spectacles that superimpose computer graphics with the inevitable adverts over the actual world.’

          I thought that about Amazon Echo and similar ‘smart’ speakers, I thought there was no way anyone would allow such a dystopian object into their lives. But I was wrong about that. No doubt smartphone zombies will now become harder to spot and avoid as they walk down the street because they will no longer be looking down at their palm.

          • Borncynical

            KingofWelshNoir,

            Re your last sentence, we are already close to that. I live near the lovely countryside of North Wales and walk my two collies daily in woodland and pastures filled with birdsong and the sound of the wind rushing through the trees. Heaven. As is my wont, if someone is coming the other way I like to pass the time of day. In the case of people under 35, I am initially met with a blank stare, until they remove their earphones (visible or otherwise). I then have to repeat my spontaneous exchange, but the impact of my effort to be sociable has already been lost. Sad times.

  • Charles Bostock

    The govt, acting through the NSC, was hoping to get 5G up and running on the cheap – by using Huawei. Irrespective of the obvious security risks (as pointed to from certain quarters) and oblivious to the concerns of other Five Eyes partners.

    The govt hoped that no one would notice and that the whole dirty decision would go through unnoticed. Gavin Willamson put the kybosh on that, and he is to be congratulated.

    • Republicofscotland

      Actually Charles its the US that’s pushing European nations not to use 5G equipment. The Great Satan doesn’t want EU nation using it. So much so, that NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, US General Curtis Scaparrotti, said that the Alliance may cut communications with its German counterparts should the latter decide to collaborate with Huawei in the development of 5G.

      Lately Robert Strayer, the official in charge of 5G security at the US State Department has stated the same. Of course one can understandd why the US doesn’t want Europe to use Huawei, its in a constant economic and intelligence gathering war with China.

        • Republicofscotland

          Yes Huawei, is the second largest networking equipment supplier in the world. However it was banned from bidding for contracts for the Australian national data backbone, I take it the Five Eyes network saw it as a threat, which they are perfectly entitled to do.

          Snowden claimed in 2010 that the NSA has cracked Huawei’s corporate servers, Snowden added that Huawei, is probably more sinned against than sinner.

          BT has been using Huawei’s network since 2013, an act that’s annoyed the UK’s Intelligent and Security Committee.

          • Jen

            @ Mary Paul: That SMH article is sourced from Bloomberg and most of the information in that article is dated 2009 – 2011, because it is sourced from Vodafone’s own documents from that period. How that information is relevant to Huawei’s current operations is not clear; if Vodafone is still using Huawei’s technologies, then Vodafone must be confident that since 2011 Huawei has cleared up and rectified the problems. But the article says nothing about what was done after 2011.

            It seems to be a case of selective reporting on Bloomberg’s part to pick on those aspects of Huawei’s operations that agree with the agenda to demonise Huawei and dissuade governments from working with it, and not on what Huawei might have done to resolve the issues that Vodafone had with its equipment.

            And as always, The Sydney Morning Herald faithfully swallows and regurgitates other people’s vomit.

          • David

            https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190430/09173542116/bloomberg-appears-to-flub-another-china-story-insists-telnet-is-nefarious-huawei-backdoor.shtml

            In other words, it wasn’t a nefarious backdoor, it was just a screw up — and not a diabolical one at that. This falls in line with what the UK and Germany governments have been saying: Huawei gear may sometimes be shitty, but that’s not synonymous with malicious espionage. Both countries have cast doubt on US demands that Huawei be blacklisted globally, stating the US has not provided suitable evidence to justify such a move. The UK recently stated it would be tightening overall security and restricting Huawei’s use in some of its more sensitive networks

            US Bizness , 5VEY led.

          • Spencer Eagle

            It’s all as much about corporate competition as it is about security. In technological advances, Huawei are said to be at least 18 months ahead of the competition. Once the copiers, now the innovators, the ‘security threat’ is an attempt to derail Huawei’s and China’s competitive advantage.

        • uncle tungsten

          Thank you lysias. That is it precisely. One can add that if China attains a vast amount of market share that in itself will asphyxiate USA competitors and that is intolerable to the yankee terrorist regjme.

        • uncle tungsten

          And thank you jen, your final line on the Sydney Morning Herald is prdcise and exactly the same category of vomit as the Guardian.

    • Ken Kenn

      Nothing to do with running ‘ on the cheap’

      If the UK doesn’t start rolling out 5G now the rest of the world will steal a march on the UK in terms of sales.

      As usual no principles just filthy lucre.

      Noblesse not obliging.

      It took Cameron and Osborne many years before they knew that China was doing well and might be worth doing business with.

      They were late on the uptake.

      Then again the study of Greek is still big at Eton.

      Ask Boris.

      It’s come in really handy for him in his ambitions.

      Gavin’s took up speaking Americanese now apparently.

      • michael norton

        Gavin was doing his best to Thwart Boris from wresting control from Theresa.
        So Boris is still the person to beat for the top job.

        • giyane

          Who writes garbage for gold at The Telegraph? Sounds to me like Gove sneaked the Huawei decision over coffee with Boris and Boris unstopped the wine cork to the Telegraph.
          Gawain has faced the music to save Gove from his own incompetence. The age of chivalry isn’t dead.

  • lysias

    The people who approve of punishing Assange for violating bail are not calling for punishing Leopoldo Lopez for breaking out of house arrest. They’re not complaining that the Chilean and Spanish embassies granted him asylum.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Charles,

    You actually say and ask:-

    “If that is a problem for Venezuela alone, what are the Russians meddling in the country for?”

    May I modify your inquiry just a wee bit – “If that is a problem for Venezuela alone, what is the US meddling in the country for?”

    And having had to read Shakespeare from my ‘O’ levels and ‘A’ level days – that is the question.

    Come on man – happy to debate – but use intelligence and present serious arguments.

  • FranzB

    Re the BBC, you do have to feel sorry for them.

    First of all Vox lets the BBC down in the Spanish elections – there was no breakthrough as the BBC claimed. Vox only picked up 24 of the 69 seats the Popular party lost.

    Then Tom Watson lets them down. Radio 4 was reporting ad nauseum that Watson was calling on labour MPs etc to back the second referendum call. His metaphorical attempt to give Corbyn a bloody nose over the second referendum was booted out by the NEC who stuck with the conference decision (how undemocratic).

    Now it looks as if Guaido has let them down. Radio 5 was almost breaking out the champagne in anticipation of a coup yesterday but today could hardly find 2 minutes to mention it.

    This Reuters article seems to point at the US’s attempt to get Maduro removed via international pressure and the threat of military intervention – https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-venezuela-politics/thousands-protest-against-maduro-as-venezuela-standoff-sparks-u-s-russia-tension-idUKKCN1S734K

    But all is not lost. BBC radio did manage to report the latest fake anti-semitism claims from the Times. What’s next? Corbyn once read The Merchant of Venice. Corbyn bought something from Amazon which sells Mein Kampf.

    https://www.thecanary.co/trending/2019/05/01/with-theresa-may-bracing-for-a-local-election-wipeout-the-media-digs-up-a-book-from-1902-to-sully-corbyn/

    • Ken Kenn

      All true.

      We’ll see how they spin a Tory meltdown in the Local and the European Elections.

      Mrs May is back – although no-one noticed and the ERG’s heroes ( Boris and Jacob ) are nowhere to be seen.

      With future leaders like that who needs a future?

      Mark Francoise has gone very quiet too.

      Which is unnerving.

    • FranzB

      postscript – just heard the world tonight on BBC R4. The presenter had a supporter of Guaido on talking about Guaido’s attempted coup in Venezuela. She asked him ‘what went wrong?’. Wrong?

      • Herbie

        Yeah, well.

        The BBC, amongst others, has been giving the coup plotters every bit of media support they could muster.

        So, naturally the BBC lady is unhappy the grunts on the ground didn’t pull it off. You just can’t get good revolutionaries these days, she sniffs.

        Same with the porky bloke in Ukraine.

        Where’s he now. Does it matter.

        Another oligarch takes over.

        A Comedian front.

        It’s all just a big game to these guys.

      • Igor P.P.

        At least by asking that she has acknowledged a failed coup attempt. Now that the official line is about “small spontaneous protests”, this is courage.

  • Winston Smith

    “doublethink”. The ability to hold two contradictory positions at the same time — G. Orwell
    Example:
    Position 1) The US screams loudly about a hundred thousand dollars worth of social media ads, some of which didn’t show until after election day, placed by someone in Russia, as meddling in American elections almost worthy of declaring war against Russia over.
    Position 2) The US interferes in Venezuelan elections, tells the opposition groups to withdraw and not compete, tries to declare the elections to be as fake as CNN, recognizes as President someone who was a one term member of the National Assembly and who’s never run for any nationwide ballot, then backs multiple attempts to overthrow the elected government and constantly intones that “all options are on the table”, a phrase that has often been used in the past to threaten nuclear weapons use.

    There are of course examples of doublethink all across the US corporate fake media and the US corporate fake politicians. The media and politicians that are not exhibiting doublethink on this day are so very rare as to be noticeable.

    • Herbie

      This “making history” phrase is much overused.

      Much of what’s called today, “making history”, is just a marketing operation.

      It’s a slogan rather than a rational use of language.

      The real making of history is in things like The French Revolution, the earlier English Revolution, the American Revolution and other events of revolutionary Enlightenment.

      The currents seem to me Barbarians, rather than enlightened.

      Like worshipers, rather than thinkers.

    • Piotr Berman

      There is no contradiction here nor a doublethink, I would say that this is monothink. They way I see it some (misguided?) people want to apply ethical principles, i.e. to have a list of rules that make some actions good, bad or neutral, and then match an event to those rules. Other (right thinking?) people pay some attention to those rules but they have another set that has higher importance, I would call them morality principles. To judge an event we first have to determine which participants are good and which are bad. Then we have a principle of double moral negation: bad stuff done to bad people is good.

      Thus if some type of interference is bad, and it is done to a “bad regime”, then it is good. Russia is bad, USA is good, Russian interference in the politic of USA is bad. USA is good, Israel is even better, Israeli interference in the politics of USA is good. Corbyn is bad, Israel is even better than USA, pro-Israeli interference to harm Corbyn is worthy of applause.

      I leave it as a homework how to judge the activities of a QUANGO funded by Her Majesty’s Government that interfered in political appointments in Spain. Failing grade if it takes more than one minute.

  • Hieroglyph

    So much misinformation and wizardry around, it’s hard to truly know what’s up. Venezuela is a basket case, of course, which given it’s oil money is truly difficult to understand. Is it failed socialist policies, or CIA interference? Both? I genuinely don’t know why people are starving, so poor they eat their dogs. Maduro is doing a terrible job, so much so that one has to wonder who he is. Is he merely incompetent, or evil? On the other hand, perhaps he is unable to do his job, due to ‘external forces’.

    Ours is not to know, I guess. I don’t pay attention to the MSM, it’s long since proved worthless, or actively harmful. You’d be as well asking the editor of Pravda his true opinion on Comrade Stalin. Fully supportive, one might imagine.

    Despite being Trump positive, generally speaking, he should never have hired John Bolton. Bolton is a whack job, and doesn’t appear awfy smart (though apparently he really is smart). And if Trump is listening to Bolton, bad things will occur. It would appear possible for the US to help Venezuela without dislodging Maduro. They choose not to do so.

    • giyane

      Hieroglyph

      Bolton is a swamp catfish , prehistorically capable of delivering bolt of 11K volts.

      More to the point, Craig is the only person who knows for a fact the Democratic ” hack ” which Assange will be accursed of was in fact a leak..
      Bad Things Bolton might still be alive but one swallow doesn’t make a summer and one half-dead catfish doesn’t make a swamp.

      Not if China and Russia say it doesn’t anyhow.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      Hieroglyph;
      ” I genuinely don’t know why people are starving, so poor they eat their dogs.”
      Where do get this rubish from?

    • uncle tungsten

      Hieroglyph,

      Trump is the moron at the head of the pack. Trump is a grifter and has been all his life. Perhaps we are more accustomed to the Clinton Foundation form of graft to see the Trump style. Make no mistake Trump is a grafting war monger.

    • Borncynical

      “…I don’t pay attention to the MSM, it’s long since proved worthless…”

      Maybe not, but judging from your first paragraph you’re paying attention to someone who is initiating the MSM nonsense, or to someone who IS paying attention to the MSM.

    • Clark

      Venezuela’s 300 billion barrels is about nine years of consumption at current usage rates. The CIA World Factbook estimated world reserves at 1.665 trillion barrels in 2017, and daily production in 2016 at 80.77 million barrels per day. That works out at about 56 years worth, but production declines as scarcity makes extraction more difficult; that’s why you get a “Huppert peak”. The US Lower 48 States peaked mid-1970s, and North Sea peaked around 2000, both as predicted.

      But we daren’t burn much more of it or we’ll roast our ecosphere and we haven’t got a spare.

    • Depressed Observer

      Just taking VZ as an example: 300 billion barrels at 100 million barrels per day global usage (it’s a bit less than that but for simplicity) equates to 3000 days consumption or about 8 years. The biggest oil field in the world will be drained dry in 8 years if we had to rely on it. And this only considers the amount of oil down there, not the economics of getting it out to market. Those big numbers on the map might make you feel all warm & fuzzy but there is no doubt the industrial world is in deep shit when it comes to oil.

      The alpha & omega resource for industrial civilization has a matter of decades left, even assuming governments/tax payers are prepared to extract it at a loss. Most of the oil represented on that graphic will remain in the ground because the economic system simply won’t function without CHEAP oil, not withstanding how much is ‘available’. But you keep on taking shots at the geologists and the enlightened economists who been trying to warn our civilization if it makes you feel better!

  • Clark

    According to Carbon Calculator, 100 billion barrels of oil produce 43 gigatonne of CO2, so according to the map that Craig posted, Venezuela’s reserves would produce almost 130 gigatonne of CO2 were it all to be burned.

    However, according to the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report (AR5 in 2014), we could only emit a further 120 gigatonne of CO2 for a 66% chance of remaining below 1.5 centigrade increase, or just under 270 gigatonne of CO2 for a 50% chance. The IPCC’s 2018 SR15 report expanded this to 420 / 580 gigatonne CO2 for 66% and 50% chances respectively, but only by assuming that viable carbon capture technologies get developed and funded later this century:

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-why-the-ipcc-1-5c-report-expanded-the-carbon-budget

    The US-backed coup suggests that the US intends to burn Venezuela’s oil regardless, so could it be that the CIA hopes to leave the world no option but buying lots of carbon capture industry later this century? – Hypothetically, that is, since the technology has only been demonstrated at trivially small scales. Maybe they figure it doesn’t matter if Earth roasts unless there’s profit to be made.

    But yesterday evening the UK government, prompted by XR’s demands, declared a climate emergency:

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/04/extinction-aversion/comment-page-7/#comment-862552

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for the motion to “set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe”.

    – He added: “We pledge to work as closely as possible with countries that are serious about ending the climate catastrophe and make clear to US president Donald Trump that he cannot ignore international agreements and action on the climate crisis.”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/climate-change-environment-emergency-commons-motion-mps-vote-latest-a8895456.html

    • N_

      The British government has not “declared a climate emergency”.

      Unfortunately Jeremy Corbyn can’t bring himself to denounce “Extinction Rebellion”. His brother Piers is much more sussed about this kind of thing. As for the MPs from several parties who have clapped Greta Thunberg’s Pippi Longstocking character, what can we say? Perhaps someone dressed as Robin Hood will come onstage next, wearing Lincoln Green? There’s an idea for the ad men and women to brainstorm about. Or they can give Pippi a magic item to hold? She can take it with her to the UN General Assembly and do a Netanyahu act maybe?

      Here‘s a good article on the Steinerite bank called Triodos that most Steinerite organisations and fronts including “Compassionate Revolution” – the corporate entity behind Extinction Rebellion – like to bank with. Its tentacles are everywhere in the “alternative” scene.

      Prince Charles’s farm the Duchy Home Estate is run in accordance with Steinerite kookery (a powerful piece of information, that), as was SS boss Heinrich Himmler’s. “Biodynamics”, the word is. Based on “spiritual science”. What does “biodynamic” mean? Well it means that cow horns full of poop get buried in the ground, and then they get dug up (sometimes under the careful watch of cultists who belong to the cult’s “First Class” and who have travelled in from the cult’s headquarters in Switzerland), and then the poop gets stirred into water in a figure of eight to make some supposedly “sustainable” and “organic” fertiliser.

      • Clark

        N_ – ‘The British government has not “declared a climate emergency”’

        Eh? – MPs have passed a motion making the UK parliament the first in the world to declare an “environment and climate emergency”

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/climate-change-environment-emergency-commons-motion-mps-vote-latest-a8895456.html

        N_: “Piers is much more sussed about this kind of thing”

        I have spent a while on Piers Corbyn’s website looking for any kind of coherent scientific theory of climate. If there’s one there it must have been processed through a cross-cut shredder first; the arguments are like confetti, disjointed snippets all over the place.

        Piers Corbyn did study science, decades ago. But for many years he’s been producing private weather forecasts for a niche market of a handful of corporate clients. Crucially, he refuses to disclose his methods. Unless or until he publishes his theory of climate in the scientific literature and thus submits it to cross-examination by the scientific community, what he’s doing is more occult (‘hidden’) than science.

        The rest of N_’s comment is conspiracy theory about the ‘Steinerites’, which makes a change from the usual suspects I suppose. When’s the next Jewish holiday we should all get paranoid about N_?

  • Chris Barclay

    A well balanced article. However, I was amused to read that, “In any civilised country, attempting to mount a military coup would lead to incarceration for life.” This is not what happened to Chavez. Nor to the Castro brothers.

    • Xavier

      the castro brothers did not engage in a coup. they were never members of the batista military nor government. fidel castro was a lawyer at the time and his younger brother raul was a militant in the partido popular socialista. hugo chavez on the other hand was an officer of the venezuelan military when he led a failed coup attempt. what they do have in common is that they never asked the united states to fight their battles.

      • N_

        True that Fidel Castro and co did not come to power in a coup. But there have been many coups where the plotters did not get incarcerated for life. Since 1950 these have occurred in countries that include Spain (failed), Italy (called off), France (successful), Greece (successful), and Russia (failed).

        It’s a pity that Hugo Chavez’s coup attempt in Venezuela in 1992 failed. His “por ahora” speech was quite brilliant. Had it been successful, the improvements in living conditions for most of the exploited majority that came about after he eventually came to power would have been even greater than they were.

        • Charles Bostock

          Can you tell us more about the Italian and French “coups”? Assuming they aren’t a product of some peculiar Marxist “anakysis”, of course.

    • uncle tungsten

      The difference being that Chavez won as did the Castro brothers and they each overthrew a truly vile dictatorship. Maduro is popularly elected and was reelected only a short while ago. Venezuela has regular, fixed elections and the last one got high praise for one of world best. The USA is lying, cheating and stealing, to use Pompeo’s cute turn of phrase.

      Guaido may have some problem explaining how he is not an illegal gun runner for USA corporations. The rifles issued to his hapless soldiers and thugs on the bridge yesterday were not VZ standard issue.

  • TonyT12

    In what the Daily Mail describes as an “extraordinary” interview, Gavin Williamson swears “on his children’s lives” that he did not leak information from a National Security Council meeting to the media. At least he didn’t get his children eating Mad Cow hamburgers as a photo opportunity.

    Interesting choice of words from Williamson. He could simply be ‘misspeaking’ (politician-speak for lying). Or equally his statement could be true legalistically – he did not leak information from a National Security Council meeting directly to the media.

    Instead he might have been on the phone to Washington DC, who seem to like him after he announced sending our aircraft carrier to join the US anti-Chinese Pacific hubris. Ingratiating himself to the Trump/Pompeo/Bolton White House might help GW’s chances (in his own head) as helpful to his ambitions as prospective PM.

    The rest is media management with or without the intervention of a Gove or a Johnson.

    Whatever the detail, Theresa May’s government has demonstrated unprecedented lousy discipline in her party and especially in her Cabinet.

    • michael norton

      I would suggest that Gavin is now a non person – politically speaking – no coming back ever – irrespective of him doing jail time.
      Mrs. May has narrowed down the field of her replacements.

    • JMF

      Today is the extradition hearing for Julian Assange. Is GW’s recent dismissal, also for leaking information, a pre-planned event to try and make it easier for the UK to hand over JA? Like a juxtapositioning of events designed to lessen the impact among the public?

      • michael norton

        Gavin Williamson, Defence Secretary sacking: PM says security council leak matter “Now closed, she does not want to hear another word on the matter”
        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48134965
        The government does not think it necessary to refer the National Security Council leak to the police, the PM’s de facto deputy says.

        Responding to calls from MPs for a police inquiry, David Lidington said the PM considered the matter closed.

        He said Gavin Williamson – who has been sacked as defence secretary – had not been accused of a criminal offence

        This demonstrates a “closed Mind”

        the closed mind is that of Mrs.Theresa May speaking to children, who are the children, why the public are the children, we are not to be told the truth, we are beneath contempt for wanting to know the truth.

        • N_

          Isn’t there a website where anyone can report a crime to the police and get an incident number? *Innocent face*

  • Athanasius

    Best ever description of John Bolton – “He looks like he’d f*** a horse then eat the sugar lump himself.”

  • Stephen Ambartzakis

    I fear that in Bolton and Pompeo, Maduro has to deal with a pair of psychopaths masquerading as diplomats. They both give me the creeps every time I see them on television. Bolton is on record as having threatened a Brazilian diplomat to get him to vote with the US by telling him “we know where your children are”. Great stuff for a so-called international diplomat.

  • anon

    Venezuela is more of a democracy than the US (not just saudi arabia) if you consider that the present us president was ‘elected’ by a minority of the popular vote; that gerrymandering is estimated to be an effective shift of 5% or more in the vote (decisive in a 2-party democracy); that voter suppression is pervasive ( 1.5 million disenfranchised in just the state of florida who were given their vote back in the recent referendum are again being targeted for obstruction) , etc

    Venezuelas actual election process has been repeatedly praised by people like the election monitoring us president jimmy carter as among the best in the world…. compare with the repeated hacked US voting machines, widespread voter roll manipulation by US election officials like the Georgian Brian Kemp who was supervising the election at the same time he was running for governor, etc

    • N_

      To amplify your point: Trump did not only win a mere minority of the popular vote, but he got a lot fewer votes than his opponent. (She too only won a minority.)

  • Ingwe

    Good article. And I suspect that the MSM will claim that massive May Day crowds are actually coup supporters rather then ordinary working people celebrating May Day!

  • Mary Pau!

    My sister, the previously mentioned Labour supporting “woman on the Clapham omnibus” is visiting. Looking through today’s Times and reaching a two page article on Venezuela, featuring a photo of Guado standing on a car, she said angrily, “what are we doing supporting him?. Why do the papers keep saying he is a democratic choice. No he’s just a CIA plant for US interests in their oil. We should keep out of it.” Mr. P thinks similarly from the opposite side of the political spectrum.

  • Biff Vernon

    When thinking about Venezuela remember that if human civilisation is to survive pretty much all the oil needs to stay in the ground, unburnt. Does that change things?

    • John2o2o

      ” if human civilisation is to survive …”

      In your opinion.

      And oil has more uses that simply fuel.

      It would certainly be a good thing to be less dependent on crude oil, but I don’t believe the “end of the world is nigh” trope that is currently being peddled by some people. I understand that many people are sincere in this belief, but I simply do not myself buy into it. Sorry.

      On a lighter and perhaps more cynical note mother nature might consider a planet devoid of homo sapiens a better planet. We are a very destructive species.

      • pretzelattack

        you can have every confidence that you will not fall if you step off a cliff, and yet you will.,the world will go on even if there is another mass extinction. it is not certain that humanity will.

  • BrianFujisan

    Well done the Group ‘ Embassy Protection Collective ‘ for fighting for the Venezuelan Washington DC. Embassy from Guaido and his Sham forces

    For over a week, a group of US citizens calling itself the “Embassy Protection Collective” has stymied the opposition’s plans to seize the embassy, denying its leadership the veneer of legitimacy it has been desperately seeking. Members of the collective moved into the embassy at the invitation of its official owners in the Venezuelan government, and have maintained a round-the-clock presence to prevent a growing mob of opposition activists from occupying the grounds..

    At 5 PM on May 1, Vecchio arrived with a gaggle of carefully coiffed supporters in formal wear, presenting the image of a team of professionals ready to get to work. In expectation of the takeover, they brought an official-looking placard and equipment to affix it to the embassy’s front door…

    Minutes after his abbreviated speech concluded, Vecchio bolted from the rally and fled down a sidewalk, with Secret Service agents and opposition vigilantes pushing reporters away. His hurried exit from the scene marked the failure of an obviously ill-conceived publicity stunt.

    By Max Blumenthal – Mint Press

    https://www.mintpressnews.com/dc-embassy-protectors-force-guaidos-shadow-ambassador-flee-failure-coup-flops-venezuela/258104/?

  • OnlyHalfALooney

    We live in very strange times. Now Gavin Williamson is not allowed to see the evidence against him. Remember, just a few days ago, this man had access to the UK and NATO’s deepest military secrets. To be honest, I think Williamson is a nutter. It was always “Putin this, Putin that … China this, China that”. But his treatment is worthy of a tinpot dictatorship. What harm could come from letting Williamson or his lawyer see the “evidence”? Or is there something we just don’t know? Was Williamson working for the CIA? If so, surely a quiet cabinet reshuffle would be the normal thing to do? Has the UK ever arrested anybody for working for the CIA?

    Equally, what threat is Venezuela to the USA? What threat is Venezuela to its neighbours? As Craig points out it is all about the oil and perhaps more specifically about the petrodollar. It’s all a farcical pack of lies. The people of Venezuela have probably had enough of Maduro, but they still prefer “their own” Maduro to an obvious CIA puppet like Guaido.

    At the same time, Julian Assange is being treated like a “terrorist” for revealing state terrorism and murder. Wikileaks has never published propaganda, only the unfiltered truth. His own country, Australia, refuses to lift a finger to help him, not even to ensure he gets a fear hearing. Not that this is very surprising, Germany has done nothing to help Kim Dotcom in another flagrant case of political abuse of “justice”.

    The question is: what next? Nothing would surprise me anymore.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      …fair hearing… of course. (Silly autocorrect.)

      But “fear hearing” is what Assange is gettting for sure.

      • Borncynical

        OnlyHalfALoony,

        I know it’s OT and I suspect Craig is probably working on an article about Gavin Williamson as we ‘speak’ but I just had to comment on something that hit me between the eyes today. I have seen countless MSM ‘journalists’ on TV today talking with one voice about how essential it is that people are not prosecuted for leaking information which is in the public interest, such as the Huawei issue. ‘The public must be allowed to know about anything which may be potentially damaging to the country or is illegal in its own right’. Not once…not once…has the name of Julian Assange come up which they’ve been piously pontificating. And, even worse, I guarantee that the majority of these ‘journalists’ are on record smearing Julian Assange and calling for him to be extradited to the USA. Same discussion has just been had on BBC’s Question Time and…yet again…not one mention of JA. Hypocrisy at its most apparent.

        • Antonym

          Huawei supplying 2nd Eye UK with Chinese 5G is unacceptable for 1st Eye NSA/CIA/FBI: no own back doors inside communication equipment, or in the worst case being unable to see all UK internal electronic traffic. Xi-China gets to spy easier for a few pounds less. That puts Theresa May in the firing line and Gavin Williamson as the good guy for them. May is anyway damaged goods.
          Julian Assange was not a whistle blower, he was a publisher of 5 Eyes secrets so has to be punished harshly. Gavin Williamson is a “good” whistle blower and will be promoted after a slap on the wrist.

          • OnlyHalfALooney

            I’m not sure its actually about “backdoors” in Huawei equipment. I think it has much more to do with the US being a waning power and desperately trying to hold on to the remaining influence (and empire) it has.

            It is interesting, however, that the US is mostly failing when in comes to bullying other countries. Germany just ignores the US about the Nordstrom gas pipeline. France is calling China a “strategic partner”. Italy has joined the New Silk Road project. Even in the UK, the days when Blair would say “yes boss” to all requests from the US are over, and that with a Tory government!

            In many ways the US has become a rogue nation with no regard for the world order and this makes this present time very dangerous.

      • N_

        The background is the British defence review – the size of the weapons budget, any update to the doctrine, what wars the poshboys might pick.

        Isn’t Penny Mordaunt, Williamson’s replacement, supposed to be a Boris Johnson asset?

        It could have been worse for Williamson. Look what happened to Stephen Milligan and Derek Fatchett.

      • Republicofscotland

        Clive Ponting himself subject to scrutiny over the sinking of the General Belgrano, of which he released damning details during the Falklands war, see’s Williamson’s (alleged ) disclosure as more of a political one than a revealing of something under the Official Secrets Act.

        Of course Williamson is an arrogant Tory tosser, and he won’t be missed. According to press reports, Williamson will remain a member of the Privy Council, and will receive a one off payment of £17,000 pounds, what happens to his CBE gong is still up for debate.

        Speaking of tossers, the Duke of Cambridge and Williamson’s successor Penny Mordaunt, will be among those to attend a special service today at Westminster abbey the service is to laud nuclear weapons.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      OnlyHalfaLoony
      “The people of Venezuela have probably had enough of Maduro”
      What is your probability assessment basedon?

      • TonyT12

        “The people of Venezuela have probably had enough of Maduro”

        Does that mean they want Bolton/Pompeo/Trump and their croney Guaido ripping them off instead?
        I doubt it.

        • Tatyana

          A russian man lives in Venezuela and writes sometimes on Pikabu. His opinion is that people are not happy with Maduro, but they consider him the minor evil than US controlled administration. Maduro is tolerated, not loved.

          • Ingwe

            The real point being, Tatyana that it is solely s matter for Venezuelan people. They and they alone should exercise their judgment on their leaders.

        • OnlyHalfALooney

          TonyT12:

          I did write: The people of Venezuela have probably had enough of Maduro, but they still prefer “their own” Maduro to an obvious CIA puppet like Guaido.

  • fwl

    Cold War aficionados may enjoy Bloomberg story of 16 April – Mercenaries, Spies and Double Agents Gather En-Masse in Bogata.

  • Denys Williams

    “The attempt at violence forces a binary choice.”

    You are better than this.

    There are rarely absolutes in matters of such complexity — indeed, you highlight many of the complexities in the article. Don’t do yourself the dis-service of such blatant steering, just state the facts as you see them, cite sources when you can and, if not, state your opinion and let the reader decide.

    Cheers.

    • joel

      There is nothing complex about a sovereign, democratically elected government being overthrown by a coup engineered in Washington by Bolton and Abrams. But you know that.

      • Loony

        Yes life is so simple. Take a look at the British democratic vote to the leave the EU and just marvel at the simplicity of execution.

        Take a look at the stunning simplicity of substantially all issues surrounding the democratic process in Northern Ireland. Be amazed by the ready and unconditional acceptance of the Scottish political class regarding the outcome of a democratic referendum.

        All so simple – but then you know that.

          • Loony

            No – you were stated that there was nothing complex regarding the attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government. If that is the case then why is Brexit so complicated?

            But is your primary contention actually true in the first place?

            The UN estimates that there are 3.4 million Venezuelan refugees. (By way of comparison there are about 5 million Syrian refugees).

            Of the Venezuelan refugees about 1.1. million are in Colombia, 500,000 in Peru and 220,000 in Ecuador. Do you have any evidence to suggest that Colombia, Peru and Ecuador are capable of absorbing such a quantity of people without harming their own economies and societies?

            Do you know that Venezuela has the second highest murder rate in the world. Murders in Venezuela account for 20% of all murders in Latin America.

            Do you know any Venezuelans? Have you ever spoken to any of them? If the answer is yes then you will know that they are mostly suffering from low grade trauma – that they are deeply wary of the US and yet they recognize that the situation with Maduro cannot continue.

            The actual testimony of Venezuelans can be distilled into the observation that they view the situation as complex. This of course being the opposite conclusion to the one reached by you. Still who gives a fuck about Venezuelans when there is an ideology to be worshiped.

          • joel

            Loony

            The reported testimonies of Venezuelans, whether highly selective or not, do not alter the reality that a straightforward US neocon coup attempt is underway in their country. To suggest otherwise is akin to arguing black is white.

            You’ve made it pretty plain that like Trump, Bolton, Abrams and Co your heart is aching for the poor people of Venezuela. But may I ask, do you share the same feelings towards the thousands of poor lives prematurely snuffed out in the USA due to prohibitively expensive medical care or lost as a result of unrestricted gun ownership? I’m guessing you share a similar perspective on those curtailed lives as the aforementioned humanitarians in Washington.

          • Loony

            I wrote nothing to refute the idea that a US inspired coup is being attempted in Venezuela. My remarks were confined to seeking to explain that the situation in Venezuela is not “simple” as claimed by you.

            Gun ownership in the US is another complex matter. Most Europeans cannot understand the US perspective on guns and similarly most Americans cannot understand the European perspective.

            Similarly medical care is complicated – and no-one seems to have developed a perfect system. It is true that many people in the US lack access to effective medical care, It is similarly true that a significant number of people in the UK have been slaughtered by the NHS – the cases are well documented.

            One reason why medical care is so complicated is because governments are allowing themselves to be used as a conduit for siphoning public money into the pockets of large pharmaceutical companies. Not only does this take money away from front line medical care it also leads to the over prescription of highly dangerous drugs. For the first time in a century life expectancy in the US has declined for 3 straight years – and the proximate cause of this is the opioid epidemic So far as I know the only leading politician anywhere in the western world to be taking this issue seriously is Donald Trump. But hey Trump is a racist, misogynistic, bigot so who cares if 10’s of thousands of people each year need to be poisoned to death so as to resist “Trump’s hate”

      • Garth Carthy

        I agree, joel.
        I’m sure most of us are aware of the US interference in other nation’s politics on so many occasions and over so many years.
        As you say, there is nothing complex about that.
        There do seem to be questions about Maduro’s leadership and corruption in Venezuela but as has already been pointed out, that surely does not entitle any other nation to interfere with Venezuela’s democratic right to choose it’s own leaders and it’s own policies.
        I think Craig’s assessment is reasonable and probably spot on..

        • joel

          Unfortunately Garth it does entitle the US to interfere, according to the liberal-democratic elites of Europe and their parrots on here.

        • Ingwe

          Garth, people may well ask questions about Maduro’s leadership and corruption in Venezuela. But then people have questions about Trump’s and before him, most other leaders of the USA and corruption there. Questions ike the rate they execute mostly black and often educationally subnormal people after a feeble or no defence provided by underpaid public defenders. Or the huge number of Americans with no healthcare provision because they can’t afford the insurance and the number of people, again mostly black, who get shot by the police who are then either never charged or cleared by selected, white jurors. That is nothing as to the actual corruption of the political system itself. Read Greg Palast’s “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy”
          But can you imagine if the Venezuean president suggested the overthrow of the American government and took steps to finance and organise a coup there to liberate the American population? It would amount to a declaration of war and undoubtedly the UN security council, run by the USA, Britian and France would pass resolutions on the illegality of such action. Hey ho! such is the exceptionalism of the USA and the UK’s position. They should stay the fuck out of other countries’ affairs!

      • Piotr Berman

        Denys failed to noticed the word “choice”. Facts are usually complicated, but the choices are typically simple, attack or retreat, bet or not etc. For example, note the sentiments of our host concerning the quality of governance in Scotland and other parts of this United Kingdom, his hopes that independent Scotland will do much, much better, and his total lack of advocacy for an armed insurrections against the English. Long lists of pros and cons and a simple decision.

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