Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 23, 2019

Venezuela - No More Than 20,000 People Came To Branson's Concert Stunt - (Updated)

UPDATE Feb 25:

After our critic below the Washington Post quietly changed its piece and eliminated the fake concert attendance claim.

End update

The Washington Post writes:

The attention on Saturday remained immediately focused on the single largest staging ground for aid in Cucuta, Colombia — where a massive benefit concert hosted by British billionaire Richard Branson drew a crowd of more than 200,000 people Friday.

200,000 people!

Hmm ...

200,000 people?

source - bigger
200,000 people??

source - bigger

200,000 people???

source - bigger

Dan Cohen was in the VIP area in front of the stage:

Dan Cohen @dancohen3000 - 3:50 utc - 23 Feb 2019
#VenezuelaAidLive organizers claim 317,000 people attended today’s event. The real figure is a tiny fraction of that. Here’s a photo I took of the crowd at 11am. I estimate no more than 10,000. That might be generous.


10,000 people?

Let's check a map:

source - bigger

The stage was build at the top right across both roadways with its front towards the southwest. There was room for a few hundred VIP and reporters right in front of it. The field where the plebs were kept away lies between the north to south treeline at the right and the north to south ditch with the two single trees. According to the Google map scale the field's northern edge is some 125 meters wide. The crowd was standing at the northern end of the field at a depth of about 50 meters. The density of the static crowd was low to medium with on average 2 to 3 people per square meter.

125m * 50m = 6,250 m2 * 2.5 people/m2 = 15,625 people

One may generously add a count of one or two thousand for the people mingling around in the back of the public area. In total there may have been up to 18,000, but certainly no more than 20,000 people at the concert.

The show the British oligarch arranged was supposed to attract 250,000 people. Less than 8% of the expected crowd arrived. Branson claimed the concert would raise $100 million but did not explain by what magic that is going to happen. The idea failed to attract any globally known acts. That is probably thanks to Roger Waters who spoke out against the fake 'humanitarian' stunt.

The stage setup far away from the public area was unreasonable. The concert attracted only some local people who had nothing better to do. The whole thing was a complete fail.

The Washington Post's count of "200,000 people" is obviously an outrageous lie. But the Post agitated throughout the last 20 long years for regime change in Venezuela. It now sees a chance to achieve that. There is no way that it will let get facts in the way of it.

Posted by b on February 23, 2019 at 17:06 UTC | Permalink

next page »

This regime change operation is a fail,if the Venezuelan people stay united,They will win,like the Syrians did.

Posted by: Tagori well | Feb 23 2019 17:13 utc | 1

For some reason I've always been very good at estimating crowd sizes.

After looking carefully at the aerial photo here --

I estimated that there were something like 20K persons in the crowd.

So -- my estimate agrees perfectly with your more precisely worked out calculations.

I think we've got it nailed.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 23 2019 17:14 utc | 2

There has been little to no coverage of any of this in the US. The scant coverage there is, is the party line, that we need to go in and save the poor wretches from their socialism. I am ready for seeking asylum from this madness myself. Thanks for some realistic coverage. They rail about fake news here but that's about all we get.

Posted by: Ruben Chandler | Feb 23 2019 17:18 utc | 3

thanks b... what's a few extras zeros between friends? lol...

Posted by: james | Feb 23 2019 17:20 utc | 4

Well, I would like to know how much was raised. A hundred dollars, maybe? Or a hundred pesos?

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Feb 23 2019 17:21 utc | 5

US has been setting up a number of accounts to feed regime change money into, such as an account for oil revenues ect. This so called fund raiser is another of those accounts. Un audited pentagon money, CIA black money can all be laundered through these accounts.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 23 2019 17:34 utc | 6

From the WP article:

"...Guaidó — the opposition leader who claimed the nation’s legitimate mantel of power exactly one month ago — was poised to lead an attempt to get the trucks over a bridge where Maduro’s forces had welded containers together to physically block aid from getting across..."

I am picturing the pretender acrobatically toeing the tops of those concrete barricades on the Colombia side of the bridge, much as when Occupy was beginning in New York the motif was a ballerina poised on the back of the famous charging bull statue. Photo, please!

And lest we forget the WP mantra, they helpfully assert that Venezuela is a "collapsing socialist state" - never mind that it still provides needed oil shipments to the US in spite of the embargo. And ah, in spite of proof of the Venezuelan government's own vastly larger truckloads of aid to its people, plus medical shipments from China and Russia, food has been airlifted to Colombia, which is in more need than Venezuela. Colombians, grab it while you can! But no, the Pretender will use 'a human chain if necessary' to spirit it away...madness. Supported and abetted by the USofA.

I hope the Russian move to consider this matter in the UN will succeed in highlighting all the perpetrators of this charade - and that includes the media.

Posted by: juliania | Feb 23 2019 17:39 utc | 7

On Neocon Propaganda Radio (NPR) this morning, the execrable and oleaginous Scott Simon -- whose voice is at his oiliest when he is telling lies about Russia or Venezuela -- has brought on one John Otis to spew out all the outrageous lies about "the humanitarian crisis" in Venezuela.

(Does anyone remember the last time that NPR ever broadcast more than one side of any issue?)

There is also a curious article in the network's web site, which starts out recognizing the large number of US interference and invasions in Latin America, but ends up worrying that Trump might "Americanize the crisis" in Venezuela by appearing to take too prominent a role in the assault on that country, which in fact is a 100 percent US operation.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 23 2019 17:48 utc | 8

The three Venezuelan soldiers who defected will not be welcome back.

"Three Venezuelans, who rammed a barrier blocking a border bridge in Venezuela before defecting to Colombia, seem to have paid little care about the well-being of civilians and injured several people.
The incident occurred on Saturday morning amid a larger confrontation there, over the attempts by Venezuela’s US-backed opposition to force a delivery of ‘humanitarian aid’ into the Latin American country – a move that its government denounced as a PR stunt and possibly a cover to smuggle arms.

Footage of the incident released by AFP shows two armored vehicles speeding towards the camera and a crowd of people running away to avoid being hit. The front vehicle then rams into the metal barrier. In the aftermath several people appear to be hurt, including a young woman covered in blood with an injury on her forehead."

Posted by: dh | Feb 23 2019 17:55 utc | 9

There are three bridges in the Cucuta area. One each near the Venezuelan towns of San Antonio del Tachira (Simon Bolivar bridge), Tienditas (Tienditas bridge) and Urena spaced about 2-3 kilometers apart,-72.4640778,14266m/data=!3m1!1e3

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 23 2019 18:13 utc | 10

Branson certainly got himself millions of dollars of media attention, so I'm sure the whole thing is a win from his perspective. Plus, he got to work with his buddy, Pierre Omidyar (scroll down to see the map from MintPress's series on Omidyar connecting Branson to him).

Posted by: worldblee | Feb 23 2019 18:17 utc | 11

Tense stand-off in Cucuta as the Presidents of Chile and Colombia join random guy Guaido on one of the bridges that lead into Venezuela.

According to the Colombian National Statistical Department 40% of the residents of Cucuta (pop: 281,000) live in poverty, with 60,000 of those in extreme poverty. 20 out of 100 children suffer severe malnutrition. The region is especially dangerous for social activists with 23 of them losing their lives before Decemeber, 2018. (From an article in Telesur).

Posted by: Lochearn | Feb 23 2019 18:17 utc | 12


The count of European countries (the only area that supports the US assault) and the link to Martin's video somehow disappeared from my notes, so they're not in my post above, and I cannot now find the video. I'll keep looking.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 23 2019 18:25 utc | 13

I'm launching a global boycott of all companies owned by the Virgin group today, when you're about to buy a ticket on his airlines or buy one of their consumer products or watch one of their films..etc remember this ugly PR stunt in support of non democratic regime change, illegal sanctions and threats of starting a war against Venezuela.

Posted by: Jason | Feb 23 2019 18:26 utc | 14

I was interested this am in finding info about yesterday's concert, and was surprised to find little coverage of the attendance (it had been hyped just a couple days ago that 300,000 were expected). This MOA report and link to WaPo were the first I had seen, and the low numbers show why it was muted in the press. Thanks Roger Waters, who through his works, activism, and fame was able to get his message relayed even in the MSM, which would have otherwise given no voice to anti-interventionist voices.
In the interest of total transparency, I would also like to see aerial photos from 3 or 4 pm and not just 11 am; even if over the 20,000 I would bet the numbers would still be low enough to consider the effort a flop, especially considering that it was a free concert.
I wish a Roger Waters of the Comedy world would speak out to expose the popular Comedian who is dispensing these nasty posts going viral supporting the coup in Venezuela:

Posted by: kabobyak | Feb 23 2019 18:29 utc | 15

You are completely mistaken B, Branson is the Messiah for the Venezuelan masses. And he did all this completely, completely unselfishly and never thought for a moment to suck up to Tronald in order to favour his various undertakings. No moment has a billionaire as noble as he - God give him and all billionaires without whose blessings we could no longer live, a very long, exciting life - thought of such a benefit. Definitely not.

And now the Reich citizen [Reichsbürger] Guaido celebrates a success. Aid supplies are said to have found their way across the Brazilian border. I suspect that one of the many secret warehouses with which they would refill the shops as if by magic after the heroic victory was tapped.

Posted by: Pnyx | Feb 23 2019 18:35 utc | 16

I bet it's around 10,000, if you look at the crowd they have all sorts of flair, signs umbrellas, etc. It's not just bodies packed together. Anyway I'm basing this solely on my experience knowing the head counts of large raves(lol), and what these clumps of meandering bodies represent numbers-wise.

If one look at the closeup pics it's mostly Instagram ready young people who look fairly affluent. Girls in cheerleader ponytails and guys with face paint. A few changes and it could be a tailgate party in the US. Does anyone know if they were bussed in? I can't imagine there are that many young affluent people ready to party at the drop of a hat in that one rural town.

To me it had the feel of a twitter mob more than anything else, young people lured to one spot, hoping to be immortalized in international media and on the gram. I'm not convinced any of the attendees "paid" to attend. Anyway this is just another one of the "easy lies", wrt crowd numbers. The average person has no estimation ability.

Posted by: sejomoje | Feb 23 2019 18:41 utc | 17

Pnyx 16

The latest reports on so called aid crossing the border are misleading at best. At the Simon Bolivar bridge, the border is on the Columbian side of the river. Venezuelan border checkpoints are on the Venezuelan side of the river rather than on the bridge. Apparently there are trucks between the border and the checkpoints, which means they have simply driven onto the bridge.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 23 2019 18:53 utc | 18

Just read this morning at El País, in the section on TV programation, that the Spanish national second channel was going to broadcast "Venezuela Aid Concert" live.....
This only could be a coordinated effort by mass media and official TVs from those countries trying to ovrthrown Maduro so as to get a piece in the looting to condition the masses who rely, not on the net, but on TV/MSM for their information.

Of course, as has happened many times already with all the colour revolutions in the last decades, the ammount of people could be faked by the footage TV producers make. As well, false flag events, like the already rehearsed ramming by two Venezuelan National Guard armored vehicles driven by some infiltrated traitors, may happen with a lof of cameras from every European country there to give testimony so as to legitimate the military intervention the US so much needs, and may be this is the only purpose of this clearly unsucessful "concert"...

Testimony by Venezuelan National Guard on the terrorist ramming at the border...

Posted by: Sasha | Feb 23 2019 19:01 utc | 19

many friends went to the concert we heard it was closer to a million people amzing gig one of the best ever.

branson is a hero why knock him just jealousy at sucess with a dose of antisemitism lord branson could become a great primeminister of the uk or israel he would be a new begin or churchill
why not already.

Posted by: moana | Feb 23 2019 19:12 utc | 20

Wow b, thank you for calling Richard Branson a British oligarch. I believe that's the first time I've seen the word oligarch used in an English language news source that wasn't preceded by "Russian". It's a deep breath of fresh air. Thank you.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 23 2019 19:34 utc | 21

So 20,000 poverty stricken peasants (minus a few thousand reporters that have not reported)show up for a free concert and the moron from virgin air was expecting to pass the hat and collect $100,000,000? Hope all got home safely. If you were in Syria the American supplied terrorist would have gassed your a..

Posted by: Ger | Feb 23 2019 19:38 utc | 22

Local Media Report that First Truck with US Humanitarian Aid Burnt on Venezuelan-Colombian Border

According to unconfirmed reports of local VPI TV channel, first truck with humanitarian aid was burnt on Venezuelan-Colombian border. The broadcaster also reported that ten people have been injured.

Meanwhile Russia, China do not do anything to stop the ongoing attack on Venezuela.

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 23 2019 19:43 utc | 23

@22 ger.. lol last line... apparently the white helmets haven't arrived yet..

Posted by: james | Feb 23 2019 19:46 utc | 24

This regime change scheme is already collapsing contrary to what Bolton, Pompeo, Pence, Abrams and Rubio are all saying. Good riddance when it finally does.

Posted by: Jonathan Everett Gillispie | Feb 23 2019 19:46 utc | 25

Just RT news is coming about Maduro total breaking out of relations with Colombia...

Posted by: Sasha | Feb 23 2019 19:47 utc | 26

Only 200,000? Playboy Richard Branson was expecting a million Guaido supporters.

"Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, told CNN en Espanol on Thursday that he was asked to do the concert by Guaido, who traveled to Cucuta on Friday despite a travel ban imposed by a Venezuelan court. Guaido met with the presidents of Colombia, Chile and Paraguay at the event.

"He (Guaido) will be coming to the other side of the bridge with maybe a million of his supporters, " "

Posted by: Brendan | Feb 23 2019 19:51 utc | 27

Guardian has a live propaganda feed to cover the US attack on Venezuela.

One piece of information amongst the garbage is that US have set up their puppet government in the border town of Pacaraima, Brazil.,-61.1515654,14.58z

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 23 2019 19:55 utc | 28

Branson claimed the concert would raise $100 million but did not explain by what magic that is going to happen

Money laudering. Those US$ 100 million will appear, bet on it.


At this point in History, we already can clearly visualize USA's master plan: the main enemy is the Eurasian duo Russia-China. Its goal to remain as the sole superpower until the end of time.

Against Russia, it was easy: the Americans simply voided the INF. With those short range nukes ("tactical nukes"), and a direct border in Eastern Europe, Russia is now effectively neutralized.

China is a thougher cookie: the Americans can't destroy it with tactical nukes just yet, because the American economy still depends on the Chinese supply chain. The plan is economic warfare. The tactic is to starve China of oil. To achieve that, the Americans will have to destroy Iran as a political entity (i.e. completely). But that will cost its supply of Saudi oil. So, to maintain the logistics necessary to wage this warfare, the Americans will have to secure Venezuelan oil first (Brazilian presalt oil was already guaranteed in 2016).

So, the equation is this: Brazil -> Venezuela -> Iran -> China (then anihilation of Russia).

Posted by: vk | Feb 23 2019 19:59 utc | 29

b sez: "The stage setup far away from the public area was unreasonable."

To keep the VIPs safe if the CIA death squads decide to start sniping at the crowd?

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 23 2019 20:17 utc | 30

vk 29: "With those short range nukes ("tactical nukes"), and a direct border in Eastern Europe, Russia is now effectively neutralized."
What a nonsense. Still thinking the Empire is almighty? It is not. And with this piteous stunt they will achieve anything but not the success they are longing for. The u.s. of a may still control many MSMs but MSM is not the reality, far from. They have the power to destroy - even the whole world, but this would come with self-destruction. So this power is pointless, and by trying to overtrump others they will ruin themselves economically. This process is already well advanced.

Posted by: Pnyx | Feb 23 2019 20:19 utc | 31

The weird aspect of this aid concert is that the media treated it like a novelty/curiosity. There's been no mention of the Star Studded Cast, the song title list, snippets of a particularly thrilling performance, nor close-ups of audience members delirious with ecstasy at their good fortune. Nothing.
I remember the Live Aid Concert in the '80s. You couldn't escape it. It was on more than 1 TV channel, several radio stations, and the sound systems in shops and supermarkets.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 23 2019 20:22 utc | 32

This is not looking good, I guess the time have come for Maduro considering his weak response so far:

Live: The Venezuelan bridge is in chaos, they have no control at all some soldiers even walk over to Brazil to work with them!

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 23 2019 20:30 utc | 33

over @ the Saker’s live thread, where I don’t participate in comments… was posted this:

teranam13 on February 23, 2019  ·  at 1:42 pm EST/EDT
youtube has this blocked but it is a prize winning documentary by Irish film makers who happened to be in Caracas when the coup against Chavez was attempted in 2002.

WTF? So I grabbed my url for utubes and sure enough it’s now blocked.
from the (prior) utubes description of the film:
By Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Brian film-makers
Documentary about the April 2002 Venezuelan coup attempt which briefly deposed Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. A television crew from Ireland's Radio Telifís Éireann happened to be recording a documentary about Chávez during the events of April 11, 2002.
Shifting focus, they followed the events as they occurred. During their filming, the crew recorded images of the events that they say contradict explanations given by Chávez opposition, the private media, the US State Department, and then White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. The documentary says that the coup was the result of a conspiracy between various old guard and anti-Chávez factions within Venezuela and the United States.

I seen this happening more and more frequently with utube videos, videos that were accessible no longer are. Mostly these have been Palestine/Israel docos & films, but also Russia, Russia, Russia and
Ukraine + Iran. Seems we may well be headed into a dark, dark night.

The film, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is still available for viewing (and download with VDH and similar) here: I just checked and this link still works.
You may care to watch it, and/or download it before it disappears completely.

Posted by: Desolation Row | Feb 23 2019 20:31 utc | 34

Kabobyak @ 15:

Your wishes may be fulfilled sooner than you believe:

Posted by: Jen | Feb 23 2019 20:36 utc | 35

Everett Gillispie | 25

"This regime change scheme is already collapsing contrary to what Bolton, Pompeo, Pence, Abrams and Rubio are all saying. Good riddance when it finally does."

Is Trump already puckering and smacking his lips for that famous one-liner of his? To me it's hard to believe that they will all keep their jobs...

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Feb 23 2019 20:41 utc | 36

@Posted by: vk | Feb 23, 2019 2:59:00 PM | 29

The plan is economic warfare. The tactic is to starve China of oil. To achieve that, the Americans will have to destroy Iran as a political entity (i.e. completely). But that will cost its supply of Saudi oil. So, to maintain the logistics necessary to wage this warfare, the Americans will have to secure Venezuelan oil first (Brazilian presalt oil was already guaranteed in 2016).

Yes, you are onto something there, and may be the equation is going even further the usual fronts we are envisioning so far...Just this morning I was reading about riots, Maidan style, in Algeria´s capital Argel...Algeria is main oil/gas supplier of the Southern EU and Algeria, as everybody else out there in the world, but especially in so vulnerable Africa, is testing and trying to built good relations with Russia in front of what they are witnessing is happening in the world, that the Hegemon in its rales is going for the weakest out there to fill in the gaps of its unsurmontable debt Ponzi scheme soon to succumb...As Peter Lavelle is wondering in this interview with Alistair Crooke, who is going to pay for this hole?...May be, it is not only Venezuelan oil, but its gold too, and that of others next...Also very interesting points on the clearly delusional strategic thinking of the hegemon and the almost inevitability of war in an scenario where they have nothing to offer to the youngest generations, since they seem to have no clue on how to get out of this stalemate...

Posted by: Sasha | Feb 23 2019 20:47 utc | 37

Posted by: Pnyx | Feb 23, 2019 3:19:32 PM | 31
Not to mention Khrushchev's quip...
"We've only got enough Nukes to destroy your country once."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 23 2019 20:50 utc | 38

Caitlin Johnstone responds to Bernie Sanders:

Oh, fuck you.

Bernie Sanders @SenSanders
The people of Venezuela are enduring a serious humanitarian crisis. The Maduro government must put the needs of its people first, allow humanitarian aid into the country, and refrain from violence against protesters.

12:45 PM - 23 Feb 2019

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 23 2019 21:04 utc | 39

Good speeches on Venezuela on the following link:

The World Today With Tariq Ali - No War on Venezuela

Tariq spoke at a public meeting in London, where many attended to express their solidarity with the people of Venezuela, and to reject the coup attempt by the United States and their allies.

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 23 2019 21:05 utc | 40

@ Posted by: Zanon | Feb 23, 2019 3:30:02 PM | 33

Yes, my child, war is a very unpleasant affair: if you thought it was made of brave patriotic soldiers fighting for the abstract concept of democracy/nation, you're watching too much Hollywood. War is ugly, and desertions will happen and are always taken into consideration by generals.


@ Posted by: Sasha | Feb 23, 2019 3:47:08 PM | 37

It is certain the USA doesn't want a multipolar world. It officially declared it at least twice since September 2018:

A HREF="">Office of the Under Secretary of Defensefor Acquisition and SustainmentOffice of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial PolicyAssessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United StatesAssessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States.

2019 Missile Defense Review.

Posted by: vk | Feb 23 2019 21:12 utc | 41

what connects libya. Syria, Iran, N.korea and Venezuela, it is not oil. It is the fact that they did not or do not owe the IMF a penny, or a cent or even a thin dime. Economic slavery

Posted by: cia | Feb 23 2019 21:12 utc | 42

all of this is so pathetically transparent, that I'm not sure whether it's me that has become old and cynical or just them. Booted out of of the middle east so have been given latin america to play with - trying to relive the glory days of Pinochet and the various dirty wars, but somehow it seems tired and fake - I still hope the people stand strong though

Posted by: JakeS | Feb 23 2019 21:15 utc | 43


The argument you missed from my comment, is that if there were competent generals in Venezuela, this wouldnt have happend. When dozen after dozen soldiers - in the very front desert - you have failed as a general. And considering the general chaos escalating now show very much how badly Maduro is handling this.

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 23 2019 21:38 utc | 44

with maduro gone the imf and the world communities can help the children of caracas eat and be made safe.

i think the concert was a mistake it was best to wait to celebrate after the butcher in caracas has fled

Posted by: gorfon | Feb 23 2019 21:53 utc | 45

@Posted by: Zanon | Feb 23, 2019 4:38:25 PM | 4

What dozens of generals are yo utalking about? You seem to be a USD troll here, to my knowledge it is one general, US embassy military attaché, at most who have deserted, add the two national guard infiltrated that rammed into the people to then flew to Colombia...

The FANB is a packed, well glued whole, this is why the US keep making kinda malabars, otherwise they would had presented it as an inside coup, although at all lights funded and promoted by the US, as happened in the Ukraine....

Posted by: Sasha | Feb 23 2019 22:02 utc | 46

Apropos of the missing round figure discussed above, see at about 1:55 of this intro section of the classic Saul Bass short "Why Man Creates":

Posted by: John Anthony La Pietra | Feb 23 2019 22:08 utc | 47


Check my links above from the videos from Twitter showing different videos of soldiers who flee and desert at the brazilian border.
Surely you agree with me that the situation doesnt look good?

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 23 2019 22:10 utc | 48

Aid Venezuela? More like Raid Venezuela.

Posted by: bjd | Feb 23 2019 22:19 utc | 49

The CBC flew down a crew to interview someone complaining they couldn't afford the prices at a farmers' market. Obviously the market wouldn't be there if there were no paying customers, but it didn't occur to CBC to interview any of those well-off folks.

Posted by: Keith McClary | Feb 23 2019 22:20 utc | 50

@46 Dont feed the..

Posted by: Lozion | Feb 23 2019 22:21 utc | 51

@Posted by: Zanon | Feb 23, 2019 5:10:05 PM | 48

There are not twitter videos posted here by you on dozens of deserter soldiers and you know it, why now you insist in spreading fake news which you even have nothing to back them with?

Of course, you are trying to hang on some commenters here to achieve spreading your fake news, by repeating them without any basis whatsoever, I will not be one of them to feed you.

Posted by: Sasha | Feb 23 2019 22:23 utc | 52

Anyone able to shed any light on exactly when Branson sold his soul?

I’m curious whether he was tapped on the shoulder early or joined the club after he acquired vast wealth.

Posted by: Pete | Feb 23 2019 22:33 utc | 53


Start from the top and you see various soldiers deserting in Brazil and leaving their post.

This is what I have been trying to say for weeks, Maduro wont survive this being mad at me or being in denial whats going on do not help Maduro.

Meanwhile you didnt respond to my question, you believe the situation look good for Maduro? Why cant you just accept whats going on and agree with what I am saying?

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 23 2019 22:51 utc | 54

Just a thought about disappearing YouTube videos. It would be easy to have a site where the public could post YT links, and the site would download the video and archive it for posterity. They could even stream it themselves if the original is "lost".

Posted by: Palloy | Feb 23 2019 22:54 utc | 55

Given its big billing the events planned for today in Cucuta have been nothing short of pathetic and the protests appear to be fizzling out as I write. The Yellow Vests gathered more numbers in Paris. Looks like Colombians came along for a free concert and then went home, probably without dropping a cent into Branson’s buckets. Branson has done himself no favours. On the contrary a lot of people now hate his guts. Random guy got into a truck like he was going to drive it off but it was clearly going nowhere. He then sat in the vehicle wondering what to do next. Check his phone? Apply for a truck licence? The Venezuelan military must have been laughing their heads off.

Posted by: Lochearn | Feb 23 2019 22:54 utc | 56

And I can see two rows of porta-potties on each side of the crowd, 20-30 each. Let's say there are 50 total and a 20,000 crowd count. That's 1 potty per 400 people. From my quick internet investigation it seems a rough estimate of a proper ratio for an outside event is 1 potty per 100 people. So there are 4 times as many people as there are potties for them. And that's just with this crowd. If there actually had been 200,000 it would've been even worse. Concert-goers would've been swimming around in each others urine, feces, and vomit and many would have died from trampling, drowning, or gas.

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Feb 23 2019 22:54 utc | 57

perhaps roger waters DID manage to educate peter gabriel?

Posted by: wendy davis | Feb 23 2019 22:55 utc | 58


Just in now, another group deserting,

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 23 2019 22:57 utc | 59

I've seen a crowd of 80,000 to 100,000 in a field at an American music festival. A crowd that size required a set of towers with more speakers on them so the back of the crowd could hear the music. These extra speaker towers were well behind the soundboard complex. Likewise, at concerts in American football stadiums I recall extra speakers beyond the stacks flanking the stage. I don't see any extra speaker towers in these pictures.

Posted by: Bonaroo | Feb 23 2019 22:58 utc | 60

How low can you go--

Posted by: arby | Feb 23 2019 23:01 utc | 61

@ 53 Pete

Good question. Branson went public (IPO) with his company around 1986 or 87. But he got so frustrated with City of London kids trying to tell him how to run his business that he bought the whole lot back a year or two later. In fact, what he wrote in his autobiography is a very good account of how investment banks stifle the hunches and the intuitions of managers so they begin to question their own decision making. He said he was spending 50% of his time dealing with the City. Then in the early 1990s, if I recall right, he took on British Airways on the North Atlantic route. BA played dirty to the extent of ringing up Virgin customers and telling them their flights were cancelled and offering free BA flights. Branson took them to court and won. It was after that that he changed, I believe. He started to lose contact with his workers, when previously his staff parties were wild affairs where hotels or other places routinely got trashed, he usually being the worst offender.

Posted by: Lochearn | Feb 23 2019 23:20 utc | 62

Roger Waters on Bernie:

Bernie, are you f-ing kidding me! if you buy the Trump, Bolton, Abrams, Rubio line, “humanitarian intervention” and collude in the destruction of Venezuela, you cannot be credible candidate for President of the USA. Or, maybe you can, maybe you’re the perfect stooge for the 1 %.

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 23 2019 23:38 utc | 63

About the "burning trucks" episode:

Denuncian otro falso positivo en frontera colombo-venezolana con incendio de camiones

Posted by: vk | Feb 24 2019 0:01 utc | 64

Slightly OT: I wonder if the "Hezbollah in Venezuela" superficial brain rot or cocaine addled psychobabble was not a signal to the Saudis to fund US sponsored terror groups in Venezuela and/or Nicaragua. After all, the Saudis did fund the original ISIS, aka the Contras, who had such nice habits as rounding up peasant families, and with the children present, castrating the father, cutting the mother's breasts off, then slitting the father's face and peeling has facial skin off, with parents' and children's roles occasionally reversed for variety.

Posted by: Johan Meyer | Feb 24 2019 0:13 utc | 65

@ vk 64

with english subtitles:

Posted by: wendy davis | Feb 24 2019 0:17 utc | 66

Anyone able to shed any light on exactly when Branson sold his soul?

nice one

branson has always been a front man he actually owns very little stock in most of the virgin companies.
his biggest holdings would be the airline.

as kate bush once said we where working secretly for the military that was the music industry all the labels had military connections.

whats the tavistock frequency kenneth

branson is just another long line of rothschild front men cut outs

virgin took over northern rock bank for 700 million they had assets of 10s of billions.
the uk government split the bank in 2 good part bad part.
gave all the good bits to branson cut out and put the bad parts in house making the british public liable.

he is a smirking front man who usually gets 5- 15% for use of the virgin name
just another city of london satanick sicko

Posted by: morleigh | Feb 24 2019 0:22 utc | 67

Is there any opposition to this stunt and the greater aggression and coup attempt from any of the left in Brazil and Columbia? Have any politicians or leaders on the left spoke out or have there been rallies? It would be great to see some show of serious solidarity across South America and the world. This sort of blatant aggression, extra-judicial theft of assets, and attempt to announce an unelected President of a foreign government by the US strikes me as a very dangerous new precedent that must scare other countries that hope to maintain some degree of independence and rights of national sovereignty in the future, even for people who are long weary of previous US backed coups in the past.

Posted by: Jason | Feb 24 2019 0:26 utc | 68

@ 67

You are talking about the later Branson and what you say is correct. But he has not always been a front man as you claim. In fact he was always his own man until he got into the big league. He put up most of the money to buy Virgin back in the late 1980s.

Branson was best when he was the little guy sticking it to the big guys. He took on the big record companies on a shoestring budget and did very well by carefully selecting and nurturing talent. He told the City of London to fuck off and he bought his company back. Then he took on British Airways, again as the little guy. But when he became the big guy it all changed and it usually does. I know of only one case where a businessman became hugely successful and it changed him not one iota. That person is Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, founder and CEO until 2005.

Posted by: Lochearn | Feb 24 2019 0:40 utc | 69

@69 Lochearn

Yes, money usually does change people. And people who haven't had it and then get it have no training or familiarity to alert them to the changes that happen insidiously and without any warnings.

As I love to quote (GK Chesterton?): "To think, as we do think, that we could have money and not be like the rich, is to think that we could drink all day and not be drunk."

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 24 2019 1:24 utc | 70

Sasha #46

You got it

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 24 2019 1:35 utc | 71

Funny thing about that 191 metric tons of aid the U.S. is so passionate about getting to the 32 million starving Venezuelans. It's enough to feed 2,000 people for a month. Almost seems like a token amount of assistance ... a McGuffin, if you will.

USAID: 191 tons of aid sent to Venezuela border

Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Feb 24 2019 1:49 utc | 72


My understanding was that Guaido was not allowed to leave Venezuela. Do they have to let him back in?

Posted by: farm ecologist | Feb 24 2019 2:04 utc | 73

What does Bernie's tweet say about who he is? What does Bernie's tweet say about his participation in the 2016 election? and the 2020 election?

Early in the race (April 2015), Black Agenda Report called Bernie a 'sheepdog' for Hillary:

Vermont senator and ostensible socialist Bernie Sanders is playing the sheepdog candidate for Hillary Clinton this year. Bernie's job is to warm up the crowd for Hillary, herding activist energies and the disaffected left back into the Democratic fold one more time. Bernie aims to tie up activist energies and resources till the summer of 2016 when the only remaining choice will be the usual lesser of two evils.

During the election, Bernie told us that he was a friend of Hillary's for twenty-five years. He claimed to be an independent but he was close to most of the Democratic leadership: Schumer, Hillary, Obama. Obama campaigned for him. Schumer refused to allow funding of Democratic candidates that might oppose him.

Bernie refused to attack his friend Hillary on character issues. He pulled punches like not refuting her claim to have never changed her vote for money by citing the well-known and irrefutable example of Hillary's having done so on the bankruptcy bill (Elizabeth Warren proved that Hillary had changed her position for money from the Credit Card industry). And he refused offers to lead a progressive Movement that was separate from the Democratic Party after the DNC colluded with Hillary and Hillary brought Debra Wasserman Shultz into her election and picked Kaine for VP over Bernie.

Bernie has entered the 2020 race knowing that he can't win given that many progressives were disillusion by his failings in 2016. He's just a spoiler now to ensure that a Centrist or another progressive stooge gets the Democratic nomination.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

It seems clear at this point that there was far more 'meddling' in the 2016 Presidential race by CIA/MI6, the Israel lobby, and the three stooges that participated (Bernie, Hillary, Trump) than by Russia.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 24 2019 2:14 utc | 74

Adam Garrie has done some deconstruction of this Branson concert. He noted immediately that such concerts cannot be organized in a week, not even by billionaires, which suggested longer planning. Also that Peter Gabriel's website and Twitter never once mentioned his performing at the concert, not even while the story was that he would. The website now carries the denial of the rumor, but it's not clear if this was always the case or not.

Peter Gabriel a No-Show at Richard Branson’s “Concert For Regime Change”

So there's one more little layer of smoke and mirror, to throw in the memento shoe box labeled, "What We Did On Our Latin American Adventure".

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 24 2019 2:27 utc | 76

@73 farm ecologist - "Do they have to let him back in?"

Funny. But seriously, especially now that Venzuela has broken off diplomatic relations with Colombia and expelled all diplomats, one could guess that Colombia will grant Guaido political asylum and the US will keep him around waiting for another opportunity.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 24 2019 2:33 utc | 77

Bernie's tweet complements Eric Zuesse's latest: Americans Call Their Government America's Top Problem:

On February 18th, Gallup bannered "Record High Name Government as Most Important Problem" ... More than a third of Americans think that “The government/Poor leadership” is the “Top Problem” in America. That’s almost twice the percentage who listed the second-from-top option, “Immigration,” ...

The United States is the only country in the world that has been scientifically analyzed regarding its degree of dictatorship or else democracy, and the results were clear that it’s a one-dollar-one-vote controlled country; it’s not actually controlled on a one-person-one-vote basis; it’s a dictatorship. In other words, it is an aristocracy — the richest rule here — it’s not a democracy, of any type.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

The term the academics actually used was "inverted totalitarianism".

The plutocracy has great influence (via money) but not control. They exert that influence via political donations, lobbyists, cut-outs, etc. However, when a small group of political and intel agency leaders recognize a danger to USA/plutocrat interests - like the Russia-China alliance - they can collectively act like a dictator. This is what I contend has actually occurred, and why a nationalist (Trump) was selected as nominal leader and spokesperson.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 24 2019 2:54 utc | 78

I won't provide the link but Reuters is reporting that Pence will meet with
Random Guydo on Monday in Columbia to further plan the "democracy"
movement in Venezuela

Sanctions are the threatened next step but no details were provided.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 24 2019 3:06 utc | 79

Video of the armoured vehicle that drove through a crowd and barricade on one of the bridges.
Video taken from Columbian side of border.

At the 20 - 26 second mark, the Venezuelan or south american version of the white helmets can be seen.
Coalition Aid and Freedom. Also a number of white teeshirts with black writing appear to be another unit.
At the 35 second mark, one of the injured from the Columbian side of the
barricade is filmed. Lots of people with cameras filming her, but not one helps her.
I guess she is just one of the suckers destined to become US cannon fodder.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 24 2019 3:12 utc | 80

Statement on Venezuela from Bernie Sanders;

"Home> Newsroom> Press Releases> Press Release
Sanders Statement on Venezuela
Thursday, January 24, 2019
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement Thursday on the political situation in Venezuela:

"The Maduro government in Venezuela has been waging a violent crackdown on Venezuelan civil society, violated the constitution by dissolving the National Assembly and was re-elected last year in an election that many observers said was fraudulent. Further, the economy is a disaster and millions are migrating.

"The United States should support the rule of law, fair elections and self-determination for the Venezuelan people. We must condemn the use of violence against unarmed protesters and the suppression of dissent. However, we must learn the lessons of the past and not be in the business of regime change or supporting coups – as we have in Chile, Guatemala, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic. The United States has a long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries; we must not go down that road again."

Posted by: ben | Feb 24 2019 3:27 utc | 81

Earlier, I was wondering if the current bullshit was just the opening ceremony
for the beginning of Syria style unconventional warfare, or Iraq shock and awe
style conventional war.
Judging by what is coming out in the last few hours, conventional war it is.
Conventional as in open in your face US military attack.

Marco Rubio
‏Verified account
47m47 minutes ago
More Marco Rubio Retweeted Juan Guaidó
After discussions tonight with several regional leaders it is now clear that the grave crimes
committed today by the Maduro regime have opened the door to various potential multilateral
actions not on the table just 24 hours ago

Secretary Pompeo
‏Verified account
2h2 hours ago
The U.S. will take action against those who oppose the peaceful restoration
of democracy in #Venezuela. Now is the time to act in support of the needs of
the desperate Venezuelan people. We stand in solidarity with those continuing
their struggle for freedom.

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Saturday that
President Nicolas Maduro’s use of troops to violently block the entry of humanitarian
aid meant he would propose to the international community that all options remain
open to oust Maduro.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 24 2019 3:40 utc | 83

You can get away with a lot when you have the MSM in your back pocket.

Not that justice ever will be served but if it ever is make sure a dozen or so of the MSM get their due.

Hopefully the illusion that Trump and any member of Congress will ever act in the interests of the people or peace is finished.

When Trump announced his pull out of Syria, and thats never going to happen completely, you knew he had his sights set somewhere else.

Now with them saying stuff about Cuba and Hezbollah in Venezuela, they will no doubt take each in turn.

Posted by: Pft | Feb 24 2019 3:59 utc | 84

Lying, thieving, sons of a bitches. On both sides. But the US takes the cake in sheer audacity.

Posted by: jezabeel | Feb 24 2019 4:03 utc | 85

@83 Peter AU1

Sounds like the screech of the harpies more than actual war plans.

I have a different take. This was all they could do. It was just a propaganda move. And the bolt is now shot.

They will follow with the only weapons they have: (a) sanctions of course and (b) exhausting every color-revolution ploy in the playbook with the affluent and the oligarchs, combined with limited paramilitary actions, very limited because it involves the invasion of a country with closed borders that expects incursions and where foreign nationals arrested and killed - be they Colombians, Brazilians or foreign mercenaries - will be very embarrassing for the source nation or nations. Both actions could drag on for years, ultimately wearing out the US far more than the Venezuelans.

I'm no military expert but cruise missiles or air bombing seem impractical to me. Venezuela has Russian defense systems. The Pentagon will rattle sabers but it will not risk something like a plane or a ship, because this would escalate the military imperatives for the US beyond where the US actually wants to go. The US only wants to win. It absolutely doesn't want to fight to do it.

The risk-aversion of the US (to put it politely) is huge, much, much greater - in my estimation - than is commonly perceived. Remember, these are totally corrupt institutions that we're talking about here. No backbone.

So they made a bit of theater, enough to fill the Wurlitzer for weeks, and preach to their propagandized populace. But then there's the real situation on the ground. What exactly are they going to do with that situation? They have zero legitimacy, and the UN is watching. Does the Pentagon really want to risk a hardware or personnel loss sufficient for even the US population to agree to sending real boots on the ground? Without air cover? A real act of war, until the first ship is sunk? And then no moral high ground whatsoever, and the UN nations one by one turning away, just like the EU members not applauding Pence? Does Trump really want to go into an election with a new Vietnam on his hands? Do they really think they can convince the people of the US to put up with that?

Perhaps they can. But either way, those are the stakes. There are no smaller stakes. There's no easy win here. Either they go all-in, as if they had gumption, and stay in, as if they had will, or they screech and screech and stay out. Because they know they can't win. Not easy, not hard. No win here for the US. And they will throw away their entire presence in Latin America, while accelerating the rotting of the political corpse back home.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 24 2019 4:21 utc | 86

@86 They might go for a limited Panama option and try to arrest Maduro. But it won't be as easy as it was with Noriega.

I'm waiting to see how Branson spins it. He must know his concert was a flop. I guess he'll wait a few days before putting out an upbeat press release.

Posted by: dh | Feb 24 2019 5:05 utc | 87

From our own MOA poet laureate, Lizard:

A Stable Prez For A Stable Nation
he’s a very stable genius
from a very stable clan
with stable people helping
the stable hidden hand

Amerika, a stable nation
enjoys its stable home
bought with stable wages
on borrowed, stable loans

a stable media agrees
and feeds our stable wants
to please their stable owners
and keep their stable jobs

our stable future awaits
to fulfill our stable plans
of stable global control
over stable global lands

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 24 2019 5:08 utc | 88

I lost a comment to the ether on this thread earlier today and want to put out its main point

I was asking those defenders of capitalism (private finance/property/inheritance) why it seems that they are unable to defend their social construct on the basis of merit and must resort to Might-Makes-Right. Why can't there be alternative social systems and lets see how they fare and how their people do in the long term approach?

You would think that the West would jump at the chance to compete with socialism until you look at that PROFIT millstone they are forced to add to any organizational form and that the focus is not on serving the client but making money from them. The West only knows how to use Might-Makes-Right to maintain their social system and since they are unable to project that control worldwide they are destined to fail when any sort of more humanistic social system exists as the alternative.

Venezuela is a proxy battle in this bigger war about the historic jackboot of global private finance control of everything.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 24 2019 5:27 utc | 89

Psycho@ 89 asked;"Why can't there be alternative social systems and lets see how they fare and how their people do in the long term approach?"

Because our private finance masters are scared sh**-less a better system of public finance will actually work, and they will seek to destroy it at all costs.

That, in a nutshell, is the global struggle we're now engaged in.

And we're losing it...

Posted by: ben | Feb 24 2019 5:59 utc | 90

Grieved 86

I hope you are right. My thought is that the US is aware that it lost Syria and Crimea because it wasted too much time with proxies and unconventional warfare. I suspect what we are seeing now is a cursory waving of the fig leaf, then they jump in boots and all.
At least, that is what I think their intentions are. We now have to wait to see the counter moves by Venezuela and Russia.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 24 2019 5:59 utc | 91

P.S.--This election cycle we'll hear all about the "evils of socialism". DJT has already begun the mantra..

Posted by: ben | Feb 24 2019 6:02 utc | 92

@34 - The YouTube link works for me. Perhaps your protest helped restore it.

Posted by: Jeff Kaye | Feb 24 2019 7:15 utc | 93

If you want to understand Branson and how he got to be an oligarch, just do a Google image search for "Richard Branson and the Prime Minister". The pictures speak for themselves.
Don't forget he got many billions of good gubbermint gravy to build the spaceport in Nevada for his Virgin Galactic Funfair, so he owes Uncle Sam...

Posted by: DomesticExtremist | Feb 24 2019 7:39 utc | 94

I forget which bridge the US proxies burned the trucks, but all MSM includes the burned trucks as 'Venezuela blocking aid'.
The gay guardian tries to put this across.
"Three trucks of aid were set on fire by tear gas grenades".
Desperate times call for desperate measures I guess, so when a large fig leaf is not available, an olive leaf or
something of similar size is used.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 24 2019 8:00 utc | 95

Hard to tell but at least for now I agree with Grieved Feb 23, 2019 11:21:37 PM | 86 although Peter AU 1 | Feb 23, 2019 10:40:41 PM | 83 and others make valid points: this could actually be all the US is able to do (and essentially nothing but misdirection) or otherwise it will require "everything" and spell the end of the US. Another possibility mentioned at the end of this post.

Karlof1 wrote yet another interesting post in the "Trump Likes Beautiful Border Walls" thread about (at the very least previous or recent) US access to Colombian air bases and also a link to Google maps of seven such. According to Wikipedia it looks like the Colombian air force has more bases but the US might not be present at all (or any, it might only be temporary access/assured use) and so far I've only looked at one particular one (where they most likely aren't, but Russia and China would know for sure). This is only meant as reference, it is not necessarily factual or up to date.

First the air force:
and then the link to the air base I looked at which has links to many others down towards the end of the page after "Air Force" in the blue box:

I think Karof1 linked to the Google maps in this thread as well, I hate Google but it is worth a look at that base (I could zoom all the way down to 5 meters scale indicator but I doubt that's actual resolution, it got very grainy) if only to see a place on Earth with an incredible amount of rivers ...everywhere! And laugh a little about it if you can :D (and I might be wrong but if anything the satellite picture looks like it was taken during the dry season since it's only verdant along the river edges lol).

There's no shortage of things to think about. Most here are sure to know this but I will hastily mention all the trouble Colombia has had and link to a Wikipedia summary, it might be an okay summary or maybe not but it ought to be okay as a reference:

And also again link to a few pretty "big sky" pictures of Los Llanos

Here's the possibility:
- the FARC peace deal is very recent
- the US might be pushing their luck attempting to stay relevant or to have any influence, everything might actually be about Colombia (and Brazil or even Latin America in general) rather than Venezuela.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Feb 24 2019 8:44 utc | 96

What is happening now should be a wake up call for a lot of people here - that for months claimed i.e: 'US is weak and cannot do anything against mighty Venezuela!', 'regime change will fail', 'Coup is going nowhere'.
Now you see what your argument caused. Meanwhile people who tried to claim otherwhise, you called "trolls".

Everyone could be wrong about things but pay some respect to people that actually do know more and pay respect for dissent.
Think about who benefit from your ignorance and denial of whats going on.

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 24 2019 8:58 utc | 97

At this moment in this above linked article there is no mention of this concert trial.
Washington Post, 23.2.2019 article
Anybody able to show here main stream media coverage of this flopped concert? Any comment of the Washington Post about it?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 24 2019 9:25 utc | 98

@81 ben.. bernie sanders.. what a fraud he is... it might get him more votes.. americans are sick in the head for the most part, especially sanders at this point...

Posted by: james | Feb 24 2019 9:31 utc | 99

@vk 29 "Russia is effectively neutralised" by the US withdrawal from the INF treaty! Oh really? This is what 'neutralising' and defeat look like, is it:

Good luck with selling your new, black-is-the-new-white definition of 'neutralised', vk! :O)

Posted by: Rhisiart Gwilym | Feb 24 2019 9:36 utc | 100

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