Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 02, 2019

Venezuela - Coup Failure Necessitates A New Policy - Bolton The Stache Is Pushing For War

After the failed coup attempt in Venezuela at least some people recognize the reality that its government has significant support. The coups failure necessitates a new policy. Unfortunately John Bolton is the man in charge of it. He is likely to push for a war.

U.S. media, especially cable TV, is clearly working in favor of 'regime change' in Venezuela. They even avoid to call the intended coup a coup.

Many U.S. journalist who regularly write on South America are extremely biased and have no qualms to lie. Consider this by Anthony Faiola and Mariana Zuñiga in today's Washington Post:

A pro-government rally on Wednesday next to Miraflores, the presidential palace, drew about 500 people, far fewer than the multiple rallies of thousands of people supporting Guaidó.

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Now watch this drone clip of the described rally.


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One can also compare the WaPo take to the (similar biased) NYT account which at least gets some facts straight:

Across town in central Caracas, thousands of Mr. Maduro’s supporters dressed in red marched along the main highway toward the presidential palace. Most appeared to be retirees or public sector workers. Many were brought in from across the country by public buses that stretched for miles on the side of the highway.

It was one of the biggest pro-government demonstrations in Caracas in months, underlining the government’s desire to portray strength and tenacity after the failed uprising.

To get a good picture of the situation in Venezuela and the upcoming new policies one has to combine many sources. Some media and reporters are simply much better than others. A few point how embarrassingly Tuesday's coup attempt and the crazy White House plans failed. 

Bloomberg writes:

It was a ploy that from its outset felt like a long shot. Before dawn Tuesday, Juan Guaido, flanked by his political mentor Leopoldo Lopez and a handful of soldiers who had broken ranks, issued a message to Venezuela and the world: The time to topple Nicolas Maduro’s authoritarian regime was right now.
...
The whole episode was so bizarre -- with Guaido seemingly lacking the military might to have any chance at all -- that it was hard to understand the day’s events.

The Associated Press' Matt Lee and Ben Fox have a similar fair take:

For the third time this year, the big moment in Venezuela has turned into a bust.

Trump administration officials had expected that Wednesday might turn out to be the beginning of the end for President Nicolas Maduro with senior government figures withdrawing support and the opposition launching a mass uprising with military backing.

Or at least that’s what the administration had been led to believe.

But the promised defections didn’t happen, the military uprising never materialized and Maduro still appeared to be firmly in command of the South American nation. Trump officials were back to complaining about the support Venezuela receives from Cuba and Russia while issuing vague warnings of military action.

The Trump administration and its Venezuelan puppets clearly got snookered by the Maduro government. Senior Venezuelan officials pretended they were ready to hand over power to Guaidó to push him towards some embarrassing action. The Trump gang fell for it (Spanish, machine translation) and the Venezuelan officials surely had a good laugh:

Chavez senior officials negotiating with the opposition the departure of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, have "turned off their cell phones" and do not respond, revealed in an interview with Efe the US envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams.

"I've found that many of them have turned off their cell phones," Abrams acknowledged.

The larger Latin America strategy behind the 'regime change' attempt in Venezuela necessitates an escalation:

The removal of Maduro was supposed to be the precursor of a domino effect that would later tumble the dictatorships in Cuba and Nicaragua.

Current and former officials acknowledge that a failed uprising would cripple the opposition and undermine the administration’s top priority in the hemisphere.

“It’s now or never,” a senior administration official said. “Everyone realizes it both on the U.S. side and the Venezuela side. How ugly this gets remains to be seen. But everyone sees this as the final frontier to bring down Maduro.”

The plan to use economic pressure, loud bluster and a hapless crony to unseat the Venezuelan government can no longer be valid:

“The entire episode should lead to a round of reflection within the opposition and their supporters in the U.S. government regarding how to address this crisis,” [David Smilde, a Tulane University professor and expert on Venezuela,] said. “It is clear the pressure-collapse scenario they have been working with has run its course.

With the situation on the ground still uncertain, Trump’s top national security aides, including Pompeo, national security adviser John Bolton and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who canceled a trip to Europe to work on Venezuela, huddled at the White House to discuss possible options.

The administration is somewhat split about which direction to take. The neoconservative hawks - Bolton, Pompeo, Abrams and Rubio - are looking for war, while their boss and the Pentagon are against launching one. Trump wants the votes of the millions of Cuba hawks in Florida, but he has no interest in launching a long war. The Pentagon knows that an invasion of Venezuela would lead to another decades long struggle:

Trump has shown little willingness to plunge into Venezuela, according to current and former aides, ...

The president has occasionally mused to others that Bolton wants to get him into wars. Two advisers who have discussed Venezuela with him said Trump often brings up Florida politics, and his golf club in Doral, when talking about the subject. Both said Trump was unlikely to authorize any sort of long-term military action there.

At the same time, however, aides said he has given Bolton wide purview over Venezuela.

Giving Bolton purview over anything is a mistake. He is a vicious and ruthless bureaucrat who knows how to get his way. Bolton is pressing the Pentagon for military options:

As he has pushed for a more aggressive policy, Bolton has angered some within and outside the White House. Even before Tuesday’s events, his staff clashed with Gen. Paul Selva, Dunford’s vice chairman, during a meeting to address the ongoing Venezuelan crisis, according to several officials with knowledge of the exchange.

The soft-spoken Air Force general was giving an update last week on the Pentagon’s view and making the case against a risky escalation by the United States when Bolton aides, including Mauricio Claver-Carone, Western Hemisphere director at the National Security Council, repeatedly interrupted and asked for military options, according to the officials.
...
A senior administration official said Bolton’s staff was dissatisfied with Selva, who they felt had not presented sufficient military options for Venezuela as expected. Selva, according to people familiar with the interaction, believed the confrontational style of Bolton’s staff was out of line.

Claver-Carone is part of the anti-Cuban gang within the Trump administration.

It is not the first time that Bolton and the Pentagon clash. A recent New Yorker portrait of Bolton, sympathetic to him and falling for some of his spin, reports of a similar situation in April 2018 after the fake 'chemical attack' in Syria :

[W]hen Bolton asked the Pentagon for options, Mattis gave only one, a limited strike with cruise missiles. Bolton was furious, a person familiar with his thinking told me: “Mattis is an obstructionist. He seemed to forget that it was the President who was elected.” After some modifications, Trump authorized the attack. But Bolton wanted more; he believed that the U.S. needed a more enduring military presence in Syria.

The portrait includes other takes that are relevant here. Bolton has a history of disregarding or exaggerating intelligence when the reality contradicts his spin:

In May, 2002, he spoke at the Heritage Foundation, where he accused the Cuban government of developing an ambitious biological-weapons program and of collaborating with such pariah states as Libya and Iran. As he prepared to give similar testimony to Congress, Christian Westermann, an analyst at the State Department’s internal intelligence bureau, told him that the bureau’s information did not support such a view. (Westermann declined to comment for this story.) Bolton, according to several officials, threatened to fire him. “He got very red in the face and shaking his finger at me, and explained to me that I was acting way beyond my position for someone who worked for him,” Westermann later testified. “I told him I didn’t work for him.” Bolton began excluding Westermann’s supervisor from daily briefings and, after an unsuccessful attempt to fire him, tried to transfer him to another office.
...
In 2003, as he prepared testimony for an appearance before Congress, he described Syria’s efforts to produce nuclear and biological weapons as an urgent threat—an assessment that intelligence agencies thought was exaggerated. A bitter internal debate ensued; the accusations endangered the Syrian government’s cooperation in hunting suspected terrorists. “We were getting some of our best, if not our best, intelligence on Al Qaeda from Damascus,” Lawrence Wilkerson told me. Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State, took Bolton aside and “told him to shut up,” Wilkerson said.
...
Tony Blinken, who [in 2005] was the staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told me that the members began to reconsider as they examined Bolton’s work in the State Department. “We saw a pattern of Mr. Bolton trying to manipulate intelligence to justify his views,” Blinken told me. “If it had happened once, maybe. But it came up multiple times, and always it was the same underlying issue: he would stake out a position, and then, if the intelligence didn’t support it, he would try to exaggerate the intelligence and marginalize the officials who had produced it.”

Now Bolton is again selling kool aid:

[H]e argued that Venezuela was dangerous, because it was allowing Russia to gain a foothold in the region. He said that there were twenty thousand Cubans in Venezuela who served as “surrogates for the Russians.” There were also at least a hundred Russian soldiers and mercenaries on the ground, helping Maduro stay in power. “To get the Russians out, you have to change the regime,” he said.

What Bolton says about the Cubans contradicts the intelligence he receives:

One area where the White House has been at odds with the C.I.A. is the agency’s assessment of Cuban participation and support for the Maduro government.

Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo have consistently criticized Cuba for its support for the Venezuelan government. But the C.I.A. has concluded that Cuba is far less involved and its support has been far less important than senior officials in the administration believe, according to a former official.

Unfortunately Bolton is now in a position where he has much control over Trump:

Aides have found that detailed briefings provoke [Trump's] impatience; graphics and bullet points work better, and relatable photographs better still. “Bolton gets to the point very fast,” a senior Administration official told me. “He’s very brief, and the President appreciates that.” Groombridge, the former aide, said, “John is thinking, To the extent I can modify or mollify the President’s actions, I will. He is truly a patriot. But I wonder how he goes into work every day, because deep in his heart he believes the President is a moron.
...
With Trump’s national-security team depleted—no permanent Secretary of Defense, no Secretary of Homeland Security, no Ambassador to the United Nations—Bolton would have extraordinary latitude in a crisis. “John understands that you have to get the elected leader the approval of the audience that matters,” Hundt said. “As long as Trump’s base is still applauding, then Bolton can do whatever he wants.”
For Bolton, it is ultimately a question of sovereignty. “The Monroe Doctrine is alive and well,” he said. “It’s our hemisphere.” The doctrine, he noted, was a prohibition against outside powers interceding in Latin America. “That doesn’t mean armed force,” he said. “That’s the Roosevelt Corollary. I haven’t invoked that—yet.” But, he argued, as he has innumerable times in the past thirty years, “all options are on the table.”

The long abandoned Theodore Roosevelt Corollary was an addition to the equally abandoned Monroe Doctrine:

Roosevelt stated that in keeping with the Monroe Doctrine, the United States was justified in exercising "international police power" to put an end to chronic unrest or wrongdoing in the Western Hemisphere. While the Monroe Doctrine had sought to prevent European intervention, the Roosevelt Corollary was used to justify US intervention throughout the hemisphere.

It seems clear that John Bolton, the Stache as Pat Lang christened him, will wage war on Venezuela if he sees no other way to get the Chavistas out of the way and its oil under U.S. control.

Trump already recognizes that Bolton is pushing him into that direction. Tuesday's failed coup episode hopefully taught him that the plans, promises and claims Bolton makes, are prone to fail and to lead to embarrassment.

The American people do not want another war. All Latin-American countries are against launching one. There will be resistance in both parties against waging war. Unlike Joe Biden some Democrats are - at least for now - against an intervention:

Those options should not include the U.S. military, said Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and was briefed by Pompeo and Bolton on the situation.

Engel, who recently visited Venezuelan refugees on the Colombia border and believes Maduro should go, said Congress has too often gone along with military adventures abroad. “I think the days when the United States can intervene and send in the Marines are over and should be over,” he said.

Engel is not alone:

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the senior Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged caution and said events Tuesday suggested the desired outcome might not be achievable in the short term. He warned military intervention could be counterproductive, an opinion shared by regional allies.

“It would be a huge mistake for the Trump administration to miscalculate and undermine this burgeoning democratic movement with a military intervention involving U.S. troops.”

Trump's best option is to simply put the issue aside. There are enough other issues he can bluster about. But he must also order his aides, and the CIA, to leave Venezuela alone. He might otherwise wake up and be told that Venezuela sunk the Maine or that Maduro attacked U.S. war ships in the Caribbean Sea. Bolton will have no qualms about creating such a stunt.

He is a dangerous man and should be fired.

 

Posted by b on May 2, 2019 at 02:41 PM | Permalink

Comments

Was this coup organized by Sir Richard Branson?

Posted by: The Headless Prophet | May 2, 2019 2:55:47 PM | 1

Thank you b for your unrelenting and cogent analysis of geopolitical developments. There are none equal to your pithy analysis.

I very rarely comment any more but your site is at the top of my bookmarks and the first I check every morning.

May your efforts be rewarded in the cosmic scheme of things.

Best,

Posted by: juannie | May 2, 2019 2:58:19 PM | 2

But I wonder how he goes into work every day, because deep in his heart he believes the President is a moron.

Classic line, and one which has me wearing a broad grin.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 2, 2019 3:15:45 PM | 3

Bolton the dolt is a vicious infighter with no intellectual ability but the cunning and drive to impose his will on others. While the fake resistance claim that Trump is a fascist, Bolton is an actual fascist--and one with whom the fake resistance seemingly has no qualms about.

Posted by: worldblee | May 2, 2019 3:24:50 PM | 4

Thanks again for the continued coverage of this spinning plate in the complicated geo-political world.

At the same time this is happening, I read that trade negotiations between China/US are imperiled....all this posturing and to what end?

Bolton is a war toady for the elite of empire who own global PRIVATE finance.

The real war is breaking that private control over global finance which Venezuela is challenging with its socialism. All else is proxy to keeping the elite in control of the West

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 2, 2019 3:28:04 PM | 5

Send "Muff Diver" Bolton and "Pamper Pooper" Pompeo to get outfitted and send them in on foot to the Venezuelan border for invasion. I'll throw in the first wooden nickel for supplies.

They can get all they need here. http://armysurpluswarehouse.com/

Posted by: Taffyboy | May 2, 2019 3:30:33 PM | 6

Trump snookered himself when he officially recognised the CIA's useful idiot asset as president of Venezuela. Trump likes to portray himself as a man who makes decisions and gets things done.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 2, 2019 3:35:57 PM | 7

I don’t buy it.

Trump has proven himself to be complicit in neocon planning. Syria is a good example: Trump bombed Syria a second time, then pretended that he was going to withdraw troops from Syria, then recognized Golan Heights as part of Israel. It’s just not possible that he was “snookered” time and time again.

For those who may need more evidence: unserious negotiations with North Korea; arming Ukraine; appeal to Germany to use USA LNG instead of Russian gas; continued involvement in Yemen, and now Venezuela - where Trump statements have been consistently supportive of Random Guy and Bolton/Abrams.

<> <> <> <>

We saw the same sort of hopefulness from Obama apologists. It’s seems to be part of the faux populist playbook.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 2, 2019 3:56:46 PM | 8

As I see it, the problem now is that every time the coup plans of Pussy John and El Gordo fail it will raise their psychopathic need to win the game, some way, any way. Maybe they will opt for some "decapitation" operation, but I would guess they will more likely go for a Maidan-type op with US-paid snipers shooting both sides to provoke civil war. And I still think Venezuela is just a stepping stone for them on the way to destabilize and asset-strip Brazil, which is the real prize in SA. The vampire squid that is the US entity needs to be fed.

Posted by: O'Shawnessey | May 2, 2019 4:04:12 PM | 9

Sputnik has a very interesting report:
May 02, 2019

Yesterday, May 01, Mr. Lavrov spoke with Mike Pompous. Extracted- on my mobile unable to link.


"Our positions are incompatible" Lavrov stressed. He told Pompous that a return to the Monroe doctrine approach was a sign of disrespect to the people of Venezuela and Latin America.

"Commenting on the possibility of a US military intervention in Venezuela, Mr. Lavrov said that Russia plans to create a bloc of countries to counter such plan. This group is already being formed at the UN. "


Posted by: Likklemore | May 2, 2019 4:06:49 PM | 10

He is a dangerous man and should be fired facing a firing squad

Posted by: DM | May 2, 2019 4:09:02 PM | 11

@ Likklemore with the UN reference to a bloc of countries....thanks!!!!

The UN is the next spinning plate that Trump will set off. The purpose of the UN in the minds of the elite is to be a "high court" for empire machinations, not the place to stand up to empire.....The US will pull out of and kick out the UN if they go against empire......which is exactly what should happen to then create a "real" UN someplace else

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 2, 2019 4:14:37 PM | 12

Txs b. Great post. Hopefully, the Pompous Stash duo keeps on pushing the envelope and like a painter that corners himself, make fatal mistakes that propels them in the dustbin of history..

@8 Of course you dont. Made me think of a nice blog name for you: Jackrabbits watering hole.

Posted by: Lozion | May 2, 2019 4:15:05 PM | 13

I wouldn't be surprised to wake up one day to find that Random Guido has been assassinated. That should be Bolton's next move to push 45 into attacking Venezuela.

Posted by: Peter VE | May 2, 2019 4:22:04 PM | 14

Video on Advanced psychological event techniques used against Venezuela.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqeD9kOwH-4


Posted by: Krollchem | May 2, 2019 4:22:47 PM | 15

Thank you b for your outstanding efforts.

The Daily Telegraph, UK mirrors:
May 02, 2019. Behind paywall.

"Maduro's opponents have gravely miscalculated how to handle the Venezuelan crisis"

When is a coup, not a coup?

When it fails to materialize, aka the pre-announced uprisings, it becomes only a demonstration!

Posted by: Likklemore | May 2, 2019 4:24:18 PM | 16

Thank you b for another concise analysis. As you sat Bolton "is a dangerous man and should be fired". Agreed and Trump is a worse one and should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. The entire Presidential team are disgusting.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 2, 2019 4:26:12 PM | 17

Someone said "It’s just not possible that [Trump] was “snookered”"

Seeing as B is clearly claiming that the Trump administration was snookered by the Venezuelan government and tricked into launching a coup attempt that was destined to fail, is this person trying to assert that Trump is complicit with his own coup plans being turned into comedy gold?

To quote B: "The Trump administration and its Venezuelan puppets clearly got snookered by the Maduro government."

Is this in some way inaccurate? Was it part of Trump's plan that himself, his administration, 100% of the corporate mass media, and all of America's loyal poodles be exposed as corrupt and scheming fools by the failure of his coup to amount to anything but farce?

I think B is right about this and I don't see how the alternative is possible. Of course there are the Trump supporters who might say he deliberately fired up a coup that would collapse amidst peals of laughter in order to discredit America and hasten the collapse of empire so that he and his real estate buddies can more quickly get out from under the heel of finance capital, but I am still a little skeptical of that argument.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 2, 2019 4:27:48 PM | 18

Bolton is more dangerous than ever. You can only imagine the temper tantrum he got in the oval office. He lead Trump to believe victory was near, only to have it crumble immediately and lead to a show of Chavista support.

Any more embarrassment and we could see the departure of Bolton and Pompeo. The North Koreans are already refusing to give Trump his negotiations with Bolton involved.

Posted by: Cesare | May 2, 2019 5:23:05 PM | 19

ditto @2 juannie's comments to you b... thanks...

my problem is with trump... either bolton has been brought in by trump and can be just as easily told to go by trump, or not.. all of it is ultimately on trump as i see it..

Posted by: james | May 2, 2019 5:24:27 PM | 20

Jrabbit @ 8 said;"Trump has proven himself to be complicit in neocon planning."

And;"We saw the same sort of hopefulness from Obama apologists. It’s seems to be part of the faux populist playbook."

Yep, some folks just refuse to "get it."

O'Shawn @ 9 opined;" Maybe they will opt for some "decapitation" operation, but I would guess they will more likely go for a Maidan-type op with US-paid snipers shooting both sides to provoke civil war. And I still think Venezuela is just a stepping stone for them on the way to destabilize and asset-strip Brazil, which is the real prize in SA. The vampire squid that is the US entity needs to be fed."

Right from the empire's playbook.

Posted by: ben | May 2, 2019 5:31:43 PM | 21

james 20

That is my thought also. Trump appointees are all of the Haley, Bolton, Pompeo stripe. I see it as Trump appointing like minded people.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 2, 2019 5:32:59 PM | 22

...
"To get a good picture of the situation in Venezuela and the upcoming new policies one has to combine many sources."

You're too modest, b. It's a nightmare. Sometimes one is obliged to read reams of drivel before getting to the "make or break" crux of the opinion being assessed.
...
"(Bolton) is a dangerous man and should be fired."
I suspect that Trump is 'happy' with Bolton. He's not only a crude and abrasive crank, he seems also to be driving most of the sane people in the Administration bonkers. It wouldn't surprise me if Trump keeps him on, and ranting, until there's a deputation from the exasperated sane folks, DEMANDING that Trump fire him.

It's also comforting to hear that Johnny One-note Bolton thinks veteran multi-tasker, turn-on-a-dime Trump is a moron.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 2, 2019 5:36:52 PM | 23

William Gruff #18.

I really liked that juxtaposition, well said. I would love to be in the room when Trump has to explain it to his Zionist master, Kuchner. What is Bolt-on going to say to his "rabi" but, but, but the russians...?

This is better than the skripal farce. The poms had a wee component of sincerity and mystery wrapped around the text sufficient to obscure their bastardry. With this Trump/Bolt-on folly we get the story straight - circus fools step in bucket of sh!t one after the other. "Hold the clowns, we have enough here".

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 2, 2019 5:41:42 PM | 24

Guaido is now more useful to the US as a martyr, but is now Venezuela's useful idiot. Quite useful as a walking talking poster boy on why not to side with the US. I guess Venezuela and Russia will be trying to ensure he is not assassinated though as he has been recognized as the president of Venezuela by the US and its vassals, assassinating him seems the only option for the Trump admin to save face unless they use military power to install him as president.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 2, 2019 5:45:32 PM | 25

@25 peter... but they need some ff to do anything.. knocking off guaido is the obvious number 1 choice at this point..

Posted by: james | May 2, 2019 5:47:34 PM | 26

The Headless Prophet @1:

NO. Try Ricardo Hausmann for starters.

Posted by: Ian | May 2, 2019 5:49:03 PM | 27

reply to Hoarse-whisperer 23
"It's also comforting to hear that Johnny One-note Bolton thinks veteran multi-tasker, turn-on-a-dime Trump is a moron."

What I find equally if not more comforting is that Trump's staff may well read this site and if so, may hot foot it down the hall to bring this delightful bon mot to Trump's attention. BEST DAY EVER!!!

Posted by: frances | May 2, 2019 5:52:38 PM | 28

... revealed in an interview with Efe the US envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams.

Bolton and Abrams are two pathological liars. One has to understand certain euphemisms. About Bolton: "multiple times, and always it was the same underlying issue: he would stake out a position, and then, if the intelligence didn’t support it, he would try to exaggerate the intelligence and marginalize the officials who had produced it."

One has to understand that CIA has multiple missions. One of them is to collect information and assess what is true. The other one is to collect information, rumors, tales by informant paid to tell lies etc. to produce "information warfare". "Officials who produce it" may tell, if asked, which is which, so "marginalizing" them is a way of replacing output from mouths with anal excrements.

Thus I would be totally agnostic about Maduro folks "snookering" our pair of naive juveniles, Abrams and Bolton. It is within the realm of possibility that they did not see a way to succeed using Venezuelans, so they snookered "the Random Guy" to make a suicidal (so it could be hoped) attempt. Note that if Padrino and others were believed to be friendly conspirators, insulting them in public would be somewhat risky -- Latinos often exhibit a sense of honor -- well, almost everybody except lowlives like Abrams and Bolton.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 2, 2019 5:55:45 PM | 29

Why is Army brass so pacific? From Army Times:

A year ago, Army officials were touting a plan to increase the force by 7,500 soldiers in fiscal year 2019. That didn’t happen.

Today’s active duty end strength stands at 476,000, the head of personnel management at Army headquarters told reporters on Friday. If that number sounds familiar, it’s because it’s last year’s end strength goal.

This year’s end strength target was supposed to be 483.500 in the active Army.

“We did miss our accessions target, and we’re going to miss end strength,” Maj. Gen. Joseph Calloway said.

The Army started out fiscal year 2018 with an ambitious task: To bring in 80,000 new active duty soldiers, about 11,000 more than they netted the previous year, when the service made a 180-degree turn from a drawdown to a sharp build-up.


A high retention rate dropped that number down to 76,500 in April, officials said at the time. But going into the last week of the fiscal year, Calloway said, the Army had only brought in 70,000 new soldiers.

The Army National Guard and Army Reserve did not fare any better.

“Our good fortune in retention comes at the expense of the reserve component,” Calloway said, as soldiers transitioning from active duty often move to part-time service.

The Guard is about 8,000 under its 343,000 goal, while the Reserve is down 9,000 from its goal of 199,500

==============

A war that may be bloody and is dubious from Day 1 could plunge the recruitment precipitously. And occupying a country is "labor intensive", you cannot rely on robots, drones etc. to do the job.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 2, 2019 6:08:34 PM | 30

If this were a poker game, Bolton just got bluffed, knows it, and is now on tilt.

@10- Nice detail about Russia organizing at the UN. That won't stop the US from escalation but its good PR.

Russia is letting the the self-destructive nature of US foreign policy play out. Why do much when your opponent is beating themselves?

And forgive me for the transgression, but why are the US and Russia so focused on playing geopolitical chess? Don't they know that they'll still be neighbors regardless of who wins?

It seems that the ruthlessness necessary to attain power is the enemy of the wisdom necessary to sustain it.

Posted by: OutOfThinAir | May 2, 2019 6:12:56 PM | 31

Great work b. This is an especially fine post.

Posted by: Copeland | May 2, 2019 6:13:58 PM | 32

Peter AU 1 @ 25, James @ 26:

Now that Juan Guaido has reached his expiry date faster than even I anticipated, with his mentor / guru / would-be de facto eminence grise leader Leopoldo Lopez having scarpered off first to the Chilean embassy and then to the Spanish embassy, the sensible thing for Guaido to do, if he knew the precariousness of his situation now, would be to give himself up voluntarily to the Venezuelan authorities.

Of course we know that's not going to happen, unless Guaido checks into a clinic to get some extra IQ points from a spurt of electrical shock therapy applied to his head and decides from there to find himself better advisors.

The one thing Venezuela and Russia ought to do is maybe persuade Guaido's parents or other family members to appeal to him to give himself up. (Appealing to Guaido's wife Fabiana Rosales is not likely to work since she herself is a journalist and a political activist.) Once he does that, then Caracas can offer him a choice of facing trial and punishment for treason or leaving the country permanently.

Posted by: Jen | May 2, 2019 6:40:07 PM | 33

@jen... those are good suggestions, but i doubt he will accept them.. i fear for the guy... i am sure advisors to venezuala are suggesting something very similar to what you propose too... hopefully cooler heads prevail and he exits stage left.. at this point, i can't see it..

Posted by: james | May 2, 2019 6:47:52 PM | 34

@ William Gruff #18

... 100% of the corporate mass media, and all of America's loyal poodles ...

I believe you might have included most if not all of the Washington Democrats, but you make a good point nevertheless. Regime Change in Venezuela seems to be a project an awful lot of people want to happen.

I wonder what we're overlooking about their collective motives? Especially the Euro nations.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 2, 2019 6:51:35 PM | 35

Read it and weep:

"The Carter Center supports the valiant efforts of the Venezuelan people to resolve a political conflict that has resulted in economic devastation, a humanitarian crisis, and an exodus of refugees. This is a critical juncture for the Venezuelan people who are calling for democracy."

-- https://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/venezuela-020419.html

Posted by: Charlie | May 2, 2019 7:10:45 PM | 36

Great monitoring and analysis of the situation in both Caracas and DC. Bolton is the most terrifyingly weird "warrior" I have seen yet. What is it with his obvious need to overcompensate (for what?) with the clownlike "stache"? What does it hide?

He just looks so incredibly dumb. When a normal person looks in the mirror he /she can recognize whether he/she looks like a nut-job, and adjust the "look" appropriately if he/she does NOT want to look like a nut-job. The fact that Bolton seems not to realize that he looks like a nut-job seems to be pretty strong evidence that that is exactly what he is.

So we are being governed by the Four Clowns.
Bolton looks like some kind of Claribel. Pompeo looks like Humpty Dumpty. Abrams just looks like the Devil. And Trump is Howdy Dowdy.
I can imagine that Trump might get some kind of charge out of guffawing at how Bolton epaters the bourgeoisie, without grasping how genuinely dangerous his new clown troika of Bolton-Pompeo-Abrams really are. Anyhow, the buck stops in the Oval Office. Whatever happens, whatever manure the troika shovels up for the world, or for Trump himself and his administration, Trump will have to shoulder the blame. Just as he has to shoulder the blame for this ridiculous Marx Brothers excuse for a coup.

Posted by: Really? | May 2, 2019 7:29:19 PM | 37

And Guido also looks pretty dumb.
Einstein he definitely ain't.

Posted by: Really? | May 2, 2019 7:30:09 PM | 38

@ Zachary Smith who wrote to William Gruff
"
Regime Change in Venezuela seems to be a project an awful lot of people want to happen.

I wonder what we're overlooking about their collective motives? Especially the Euro nations.
"

I think the obvious collective motive is that they are all under the umbrella of the God of Mammon private finance elite who have been pulling the levers of empire for centuries now.

And Venezuela presents a threat to private finance hegemony that the elite need to stifle as a show of power to the rest of the world. A bully only takes on potentially weaker opponents so we are not seeing Trump trying to bring democracy to China or Russia. The question remains whether China and Russia tell the schoolyard bully to stand down and how that plays out.

Hollywood is salivating over the blockbuster series.....The Return of Empire.....think of all that PROFIT!!!!!

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 2, 2019 7:42:53 PM | 39

Stephen Lendman just reprinted an Eric Zuesse 2018 article with the text of a high level top secret plan to unseat Maduro Top Secret US Plan for Toppling Maduro and Eliminating Venezuelan Social Democracy

Posted by: Dadda | May 2, 2019 7:55:17 PM | 40

last usa daily press propaganda briefing was april 11th.. they are due for another one any day soon..

Posted by: james | May 2, 2019 7:59:28 PM | 41

The BBC has a posting/video up which I didn't watch nor am I go to provide a link.

That said, this work is reportedly being done by volunteer journalists in Venezuela and if the El Bus TV screen shot is an example of the folks, they look rich or bought....or both

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 2, 2019 8:18:06 PM | 42

That Top Secret U.S. plan is a very strange document. It is written in a version of English like none I have ever seen.

Posted by: lysias | May 2, 2019 8:50:36 PM | 43

@ Charlie | May 2, 2019 7:10:45 PM | 36
_________________________________________

Thanks for posting that dismal CYA bulletin from the Carter Center. To add just one more quote, although the statement is brief enough to be read at a glance:

The National Assembly that was freely elected in 2015, and subsequently disbanded by President Nicolas Maduro, has declared Juan Guaidó president of Venezuela through an interpretation of the presidential succession clause in the constitution approved in 1999 under President Hugo Chavez. This is a Venezuelan struggle that has attracted the attention and involvement of key states in the international community as well as the Organization of American States and the United Nations.
Among other things, this artful, disingenous description gives utterly unwarranted legitimacy to the golpistas transparently fraudulent claim to have acted in accordance with the Venezuelan Constitution.

This tendentious statement reinforces the Big Lie propagation techniques presently employed by the renegade Guaidó faction and its sponsors and enablers; the former certainly waves the Constitution fervently, and constantly expresses pointed affirmations of their utmost, scrupulous respect for the rule of law. All this is patter, while in practice they fling down the Constitution and dance upon it.

The sanitized, anesthetic, even demure reference to the "involvement of key states" reveals more than it attempts to obscure or finesse; only a severely biased observer would thus characterize the US and its hegemonic thralls descending upon oil-rich Venezuela like buzzards swooping down on a gutpile.

You might have written "Read it and gag" instead. ;)

Posted by: Ort | May 2, 2019 8:51:17 PM | 44

DM @ 11

Firing squad is so unamerican, the sob should be fried, that is the usian way

Posted by: estouxim | May 2, 2019 8:59:19 PM | 45

>> Bolton ... What is it with ... clownlike "stache"?

The Devil thought it’d be too obvious to reappear with the same black, narrow, nearly perfect rectangle under his nose.

Posted by: oglalla | May 2, 2019 9:09:53 PM | 46


Everything is related...Before they can attack Iran for Israel, the Zionists who control Washington must find some way of replacing the 2 million barrels of oil that Iran sells on the world market every day, otherwise attacking Iran could cause the price of oil to surge, with unpredictable consequences for the US economy and the stock market bubble.

That’s why they need a regime change in Venezuela

If you still have doubts that Zionists control Washington, read this excerpt from a Breitbart article, called “First-Ever U.S. Government Delegation at Auschwitz for March of the Living”


“The first-ever U.S. government delegation to the March of the Living annual Holocaust memorial arrived at Auschwitz on a somber Thursday morning, bringing several ambassadors and envoys in a show of solidarity against antisemitism.

I couldn’t be more proud of the unprecedented commitment of this administration to fight against antisemitism,” U.S. Special Envoy to Combat and Monitor Antisemitism, Elan Carr, told reporters outside the infamous concentration camp.

There is no administration, no president, no Secretary of State that have ever committed themselves to this extent to fight against antisemitism, to protect the Jewish people, and to support the State of Israel,” he added.

The delegation included U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, and Ambassador to the Holy See Calista Gingrich, among many other ambassadors. 

Gingrich told Breitbart News of the impact the delegation is hoping to make: “lt’s so important that we come here and honor the people who perished, and make sure that it never happens again.”

Paul Packer, Chairman of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, told Breitbart News:

“To join U.S. ambassadors for the first time ever shows the commitment that the Trump administration has to the words, ‘Never Again,’ and to making sure that all our allies know the words of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that anti-Zionism equals antisemitism.

“Not only will the U.S. make sure that the Holocaust never happens again, but the U.S. will make sure all our allies know that antisemitism and anti-Zionism will not be accepted, either.”

Comment: So now it's official US government policy that Anti-Zionism equals antisemitism....

Hey look, The USS Liberty is on fire, must be those damn Egyptians!

Hey look at that WTC-7 building collapse to the ground in seven seconds flat, holy f*ck! Must be those Arabs.

Time to teach the entire world not to accept "anti-Zionism," until the American golem is exhausted and everything comes crashing down.

Posted by: MH | May 2, 2019 9:28:46 PM | 47

A character in the movie "Cross of Iron" is named Schnurrbart. Maybe that's what gave Bolton the idea.

Posted by: lysias | May 2, 2019 9:47:53 PM | 48

This is hardly the last salvo. The stakes are high: if the neocons can get their hand on Venezuela's oil, it will be the end of OPEC, and the neocons wouldn't have to care that the world think of their thuggish actions. It wouldn't matter that all know, the US doesn't intend to keep agreements, written or other.

Posted by: Choderlos de Laclos | May 2, 2019 10:23:08 PM | 49

Great parody on Venezuela
https://youtu.be/Wdk5j8a6E2M

Posted by: linda gentsch | May 2, 2019 10:37:42 PM | 50

If one wants to know about the psychological operations employed against Venezuela (and a host of other nations along with Hasbarats against the public mind here is a glimpse from a former US psychological operations analyst -- as he describes himself)

The sites referenced by presentation follow (if you hover over the various icons that describe the aspects of psychological operations employed):

here and also here

Posted by: jsb | May 2, 2019 11:14:55 PM | 51

I guess no-one told little Juan about Plan G. If he doesn't pull off the coup, he'll be assassinated by "Dictator Maduro's assassins" to excuse an out invasion. Hasta la muerte, baby.

Posted by: jack_garbo | May 2, 2019 11:31:45 PM | 52

I am loathe to admit this, but had I known Trump would hire the likes of Bolton, I might have voted for Hillary Clinton in November 2018. (I voted Libertarian.)

Posted by: Mister Roboto | May 2, 2019 11:41:25 PM | 53

Yeah @53 but god chose trump, your vote had nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Geoff | May 2, 2019 11:52:30 PM | 54

james 26 Jen 33

I think the US does need to knock him off to 'justify' (ff) military strikes.
At the same time the US will use incarceration of random guy to justify military strikes.
Leaving him walking free, and at the same time preventing his assassination takes the wind out of US sails.
I watched a video a year or two back where putin explained his ap[roach to solving problems and how that differed with the American approach to solving problems.
The American approach to a problem was to completely eliminate it, yet that caused many more problems to arise. His approach was to make a problem manageable, but not eliminate that problem to an extent that many other problems arose. Guaido is one of these problems. The Venezuela admin has recently called for talks, a national conversation on where the government has gone wrong in recent years. Very Putin. It ended the Chechen war and it occurred in Syria after Russia entered the scene. Reconciliation and so forth.
But back to Guaido, after the failed coup, he has become an assett to venezuela, very much like after the US attack on Deir Ezzor, rather than trying to regain the lost ground, it became bug zapper that drew in ISIS like moths to a flame. Grieved in the last thread put in a comment about Russian systema and turning an opponents power or momentum against them. This happened at Deir Ezzor and the same has happened with Guaido.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 3, 2019 12:38:56 AM | 55

@8 Jackrabbit

This is the best of you I like to read.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Last line of this article:

He is a dangerous man and should be fired.

I agree. Trump should be fired, and the opportunity to do so is coming soon.😉

As far as Bolton is concerned, I'll hold my breath for Trump to heed your advice...or, maybe not.

Great reporting, albeit partially, selectively constructed to portray Trump still as the not so bad useful idiot.

Or is it rather that Trump dreams of the Venezuela regime change outcome and other, grander Persian conquest and hired Bolton to get his hands dirty while Trump washes his clean? If it all goes really awry, Bolton, the Neocon everyone loves to hate, is the perfect villain to take the blame. Meanwhile Trump can still get a pass from some of you.

Maduro really pulled off a clever ruse. I was worried he didn't have it in him, but it was pretty spectacular in its effect. Good on him. Hope he has more cards to play to defeat the ZUSA nemesis.

I only really wish there was a way around the sanctions.

Just want to add how much b and you all make this place unique (especially when the thread is legible).

Posted by: Circe | May 3, 2019 12:45:36 AM | 56

There are 3 links below from Xinhuanet that I believe reflect on our current situation and provide value

The Carrot

Economic Watch: China's new opening-up measures to further vitalize banking, insurance sectors

The Stick

Pompeo, Lavrov expected to talk over Venezuela, Ukraine in Finland

The take away quote that speaks to the MoA commentary yesterday

However, Russian media on the same day quoted a statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying that in the call with Pompeo, Lavrov warned of the "gravest consequences" of "aggressive steps" against Caracas.

And then there is EU/US friction

EU slams U.S. move on Cuba, pledges "all appropriate measures"

The take away quote

Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, said in a statement that the bloc "deeply regrets the full activation of the 1996 Helms-Burton (LIBERTAD) Act by the United States."

The U.S. decision is a "breach of the commitments undertaken in the EU-U.S. agreements of 1997 and 1998, which had been respected by both sides without interruption since then," she said, adding that "This will cause unnecessary friction and undermines trust and predictability in the transatlantic partnership."

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 3, 2019 12:59:59 AM | 57

@worldblee | May 2, 2019 3:24:50 PM | 4

Bolton the dolt is a vicious infighter with no intellectual ability but the cunning and drive to impose his will on others.

I think you've got it. In my opinion, Bolton's skills at infighting are exactly why Trump hired him. The 'stache is an attack dog that the Donald sics on his enemies inside the country, which are legion.

The price for Bolton's services, of course, is some delegation of authority over foreign policy. The vicious animal (grr, grr) is less effective externally; he is making quite a mess and causing even friendly countries to back away in some disgust. But his incompetence beyond the country's borders is less important to Trump than the fear that he inspires inside the country. You have to wonder why the spread of misery abroad -- and even a potential war -- is less important to the president than the defeat of his internal enemies.

Posted by: Cyril | May 3, 2019 1:02:23 AM | 58

@55 peter au.. that is pretty much my thinking as well... at this point guaido is a useful asset for venezuala, as opposed to the cia.. thus, the cia will try to find a way to get rid of him and blame it on maduro... grieved post is about utilizing the opponents energy in the soft style martial arts - kung fu, tai chi, pak qua and etc... it is taoist ideology.. someone pushes, you redirect the energy, but don't resist it... americans are baffled by this concept with regard to foreign policy affairs.. they don't have a way of working with it! as i see it, this is exactly how they find themselves where they are here... however, i also agree with passerby on the previous thread, the usa is still a very dangerous animal here that can do a huge amount of damage.. this is doubly so with the riff raff they have for leadership at this point.. it wouldn't matter which loser was in power - trump, clinton - any of them.. the usa at this point can only process horrible leaders.. an honourable and strong leader wouldn't qualify for the gig!!

Posted by: james | May 3, 2019 2:05:51 AM | 59

According to the Venezuelan constitution, under which Gweedo boy assumed the presidency, the interim president must arrange for elections in 30 days. Gweedo has not done this thus "rules" in violation of his countries constitution. Plus at the National Assembly it rotates heads every 30 days. Thus Gweedo was only the head at the time and not elected to it. The Venezuelan Supreme Court has placed contempt charges against the National Assembly calling it illegal as they have seated people who were illegally elected and refused to unseat them. We know the opposition boycotted the election, the one who didn't confirmed the US pressured him to not run, so the US could call the election illegal. It's claimed that Maduro banned parties from running but with their boycotts they failed to run candidates in 2 successive elections which makes them banned by the constitution not Maduro.

The US is an extremely sore loser. Case in point are Cuba and North Korea which the US continues to stomp on as they have defeated the US aims and in the case of NK on the battlefield with help from China. That's the reason Korea is called the forgotten war as the US wants to bury that part of their history. Vietnam was different as the US made it look like they won. Point is the US will not give up on destroying Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba. If it does happen the flood of illegals into the US will be tidal wave as that whole area, not just those countries,turns into chaos and death.

Which brings us to Syria. Assad with Russian help has regained most of his country but people mistakenly believe the war is over. Sore loser the US is still supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda where they are not bothering the Kurds. The US is occupying the prime oil areas of Syria to deprive the government of energy. If recent reports are true, they may not be but with the US biased media who knows, Syria is on the verge of collapse due lack of energy. The US has had huge sanctions on Syria for years and has publicly stated anyone helping rebuild Syria will be heavily sanctioned and punished. With Russia under huge sanctions, and more on the way, and China embroiled in a trade war there is only so much help they can give to Syria and Venezuela.

My take is there may be some limited military action in Venezuela to get the regime change ball rolling but no boots on the ground as that would cost Trump the election. What I see is a very good chance the US will attack Iran and Syria with air power only as boots on the ground the casualties would be huge. Trump would be out in a heartbeat as the body bags pile up. The US and it's poodles will destroy everything they can from the air and hope there are enough locals willing to finish the job of regime change. Don't think so with Iran but Syria a good possibility as the US has their jihadist boots on the ground. As long as no body bags come home the ignorant sheep Americans will cheer the destruction of "the leading supporter of terrorism in the world" Iran and justice for Assad for "gassing his own people". Plus the big benefit of "killing them over there to keep us safe at home."

Posted by: snedly arkus | May 3, 2019 2:14:15 AM | 60

Bolton is a dangerous lunatic, but so seem the whole of the USA administrators. Venezuela should be ready for a war at all cost.

Posted by: Steve | May 3, 2019 2:26:48 AM | 61

@ snedly arkus #60

Nothing you say can be dismissed out of hand, for the government of the US is in the hands of some mighty strange people. This isn't an open thread, but here is a commentary on one of those strange people. Pompeo is letting Bolton be a lightning rod, but Pompeo remains his boss.

Pompeo Lies, Cheats and Steals (But He’s Still a Good Christian)

The point of all this is that we Americans are in the hands of a group of people who are adept at self- deception and who are also quite capable of doing some very dangerous things in light of their religious and personal views. It is one thing to have a strong foreign policy defending actual American interests but it is quite another to have a propensity to go to war to satisfy a personal predilection about how one goes about enabling a biblical prophecy. Equally, having a moral compass that is flexible depending who is on the receiving end is like having no real morals at all.

Author Giraldi is right - none of these people have any real morals at all.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 3, 2019 2:35:13 AM | 62

On a prior thread Krollchem #92 posted the following:

Note also that the Venezuelan flag held by guaido's supporters at the Columbian bridge had a Star of David in the center of the flag (Time stamp 1:09:40).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql3JeMVkliU

I have not been able to confirm the accuracy of this photo from another source. However, I do want to point out that Max Blumenthal, who is covering the ongoings at the Venezuelan embassy in DC, was accused by a member of fake ambassador Carlos Vecchio's entourage--a Venezuelan Jewish(?) woman--as a "disgrace to the Jewish people" for opposing the US coup in Venezuela.

https://mobile.twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1123766889262518274

This suggests to me that the above screenshot is as likely to be legit as not, and further makes me wonder what the connection is between white racist Catholic oligarchic landowners in South and Central America and the Zionist ideology. Is there a Jewish Zionist component to the fascist oligarchic parties in the region? Odd that the woman in the Blumenthal video connects the coup in Venezuela with the interests of Israel so immediately and explicitly. It is an unguarded moment and she is very angry and perhaps says more than she means to? (A man in the video is clearly trying to calm her and prevent her from saying more...)

Anybody have more info on the history/relation of Jewish Zionism and Catholic oligarchic fascism in Venezuela in particular?

Posted by: WJ | May 3, 2019 2:38:47 AM | 63

Ron Paul chimed in that Guaido may now be more useful dead than alive...
...and of course it would be blamed on Maduro...

Posted by: V | May 3, 2019 2:55:08 AM | 64

james "i also agree with passerby on the previous thread, the usa is still a very dangerous animal here that can do a huge amount of damage"

Yep. I think I likened the US to a bull in the previous thread. A lot of power and dangerous if tackled head on, but not much agility or thinking. I thought arresting Guaido, as many think should happen, would be like trying to grab the bull by the horns.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 3, 2019 3:04:08 AM | 65

A modest proposal concerning The Rectification Of Names (qv): To keep realities clear in my mind, I always refer to the two most egregious of Trump's appointees as Michael Pompoushippo and The Insane Geriatric Walrus (TIGW) - hippo and walrus for short. These seem to me to be much more comedically-useful labels for these two criminals than their official names. Making fun of them is a useful tactic for we common 'powerless' plebs. And anyone who happens to speak Cymraeg - the oldest continuously-living language in Britain - will know that you can pronounce 'tigw' like 'tigoo' - which has a suitably ridiculous sound for it to be fitting for the Walrus. No copyright on these coinages. Please use freely, as you wish - for the sake of Rectification Of Names. :)

Posted by: Rhisiart Gwilym | May 3, 2019 4:40:46 AM | 66

In the 1950s there was a TV SitCom called the Patty Duke Show. Patty was navigating her teen years with mixed results. Her wise-cracking Dad offered guidance in the form of astute and amusing observations, and tried not to interfere when things were heading South, but was a reliable shoulder to cry on when the need arose.

Patty tended to pick boyfriends spontaneously on the basis of a single, perceived characteristic. In one episode her current beau, who was unusually accident prone, and had just toppled the umpteenth decorative item in the Duke household, inspired Dad to quietly observe...
"Well, he mightn't be graceful but at least he's clumsy."

That observation often springs to mind when I hear a loud-mouthed witless Yankee ideologue telling the world what to think...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 3, 2019 6:29:09 AM | 67

War’s never an option:
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/community_petitions/Free_Web_Community_Stop_Trumps_grabbing_Venezuelan_oil

Posted by: Stanislav | May 3, 2019 7:22:42 AM | 68

this morning i saw some video and images from amaq news rita katz intel news services and i was shocked.
before this i was neutral on maduro now i think he is a mad man. amaq news and debka state that mad dog maduro is using iranian and hezbollah terror squads.every day thousands of innocents are going missing or die of hungers.
hezbollah and irania get paid in gold and drugs they are making hundreds of millions that they take back for wars on innocent jewish folks.
i imagine much of these horrors will be revealed soon maybe bell pottinger and the white helmets need to be reactivated to save the children of caracas
already.
we cannot afford to let russia and china win here these are sick folks that eat pets all the time espreciallt the pets of the enemey

Posted by: kirk | May 3, 2019 7:29:45 AM | 69

thanks for continuing to expose these dangerous psychopaths running u.s foreign policy.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 3, 2019 7:53:49 AM | 70

@68 stanislav

I’m confident anything Avaaz says is as lamentable as the Carter Center statement posted earlier in the thread. Is that why you linked to it? If not, search this website for discussions about “Avaaz”, to see what MoA thinks of that outfit.

Posted by: oglalla | May 3, 2019 8:10:01 AM | 71

Zachary Smith | May 3, 2019 2:35:13 AM | 62 said:

Author Giraldi is right - none of these people have any real morals at all.

They allow themselves anything.

Thus they become the greatest enemy of the US in general and US armed forces in particular and it seems at least some of the people in the Pentagon are intelligent enough to be aware of it. Unless that too is propaganda, it does fit into the "we don't want to but we have no choice but to" narrative.

If it is only more propaganda then there's even more reason for anyone in the US armed forces to get the hell out of any actual fighting and to enable others to do the same. They don't need to leave but they sure need to make themselves and their capacities unavailable.

It's marinated in fifty years of blood-soaked irony that they will have to destroy their livelihood to save their livelihood.

It can be as easy as a box of salt or sugar or other impurities in the fuel, a lack of grease, a loose or missing part or a part too many, a resistor or capacitor suffering an unnoticed unfortunate hard bump, software too complex and ad hoc to ever work as intended, equipment engineered for profit rather than reliability or purpose, investigations (including into whether orders and instructions were lawful) that drag on forever because the likely culprits didn't do what they're accused of.

The road to resist and live has already been prepared by those who allow themselves anything against everyone.

Ejecting is nasty, especially when it happens as a surprise, but it has happened before by accident or assumed manufacturing defects. Large ships are so easy to hit because their massive momentum don't and can't give way at the drop of a hat, it happens at great frequency in NATO navies.

Getting lost in a jungle is so easy it boggles the mind, especially if one can blame it on faulty "high tech" equipment (which does not in any way benefit from being in a jungle or anywhere close to one; bugs that love electricity as if it was an aphrodisiac, molds and fungi thriving on "protected" clean surfaces like magnetic tapes and platters). Moisture and humidity everywhere and all kinds of things getting into places they shouldn't be (including you).

Inexperience is also an acceptable cause. "The enemy wasn't where we weren't supposed to be" is a simple fact and can't be changed. So what you didn't get a promotion. "We do respect the national integrity of Surinam (but where the hell is Surinam guys?) and had no idea we were here" is fair enough and the entire world will gladly believe any such lies from famously geographically challenged Americans.

Live :)

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 3, 2019 9:09:52 AM | 72

Oglalla @ 71, Stanislav @ 68:

Avaaz is indeed a lamentable bunch of regime-change supporters. Avaaz supported a no-fly zone in Libya in 2011; we know how that support turned out. The organisation supported a no-fly zone in Syria in 2011; thank goodness few took notice of its stand that time. One of its founders, Ricken Patel, has done work for the Rockefeller Foundation and the Gates Foundation.

The organisation is also a major supporter of Greta Thunberg's environmental climate change school-strike activism.

Posted by: Jen | May 3, 2019 9:14:01 AM | 73

Kirk at 69 has provided a summary of Mainstream News and popular opinion.

As for the "Carter Center". Carter was a guy not unlike Obama with a fabricated, peacenik reputation - a defender of the common people. They are no more cuddly or people friendly than cold fish warmonger Hillary Clinton.

Carter didn't oppose his lunatic Brzezinski and his Mujahideen "Freedom Fighters" and the black ops directed at the USSR.

Bill Clinton, likewise got a free pass on the destruction of Yugoslavia (When Clinton Lied, Nobody Died). Just as the USA created and funds ISIS, the US and NATO funded and armed Muslims in Yugoslavia. Destroyed that Socialist Nation. (See, Socialism never works!)

There are many parallels with Yugoslavia and recent history in Venezuela. Everything begins with Economic Sanctions, a complicit MSM, and CIA sponsored funded insurrections and false flags.

When Tito died, Yugoslavia began a rotation of successor Presidents and rule by committee which helped to create additional chaos.

We see an attack upon the constitution of Venezuela. Distorting it and twisting it in an effort to confuse people and claim the Presidency for a CIA guyido.

Posted by: fastfreddy | May 3, 2019 9:24:46 AM | 74

# 40
"Stephen Lendman just reprinted an Eric Zuesse 2018 article with the text of a high level top secret plan to unseat Maduro Top Secret US Plan for Toppling Maduro and Eliminating Venezuelan Social Democracy"

I just read part of this. It is horrifying. "Harrowing," which is a word used in the Kidd document. The document should be reprinted in full in as many locations as possible, Not sure what the rules are for posting here (length, etc.)

Simply writing such a document is evidence of the crime to plan murder and mayhem, to a civilian population.

I am speechless.

Posted by: Really? | May 3, 2019 9:40:15 AM | 75

Perhaps one adept in psychological tactics could trigger both Bolton and the President- Bolton into expressing his disdain openly and then Trump firing his sorry ass.

Posted by: morongobill | May 3, 2019 9:41:10 AM | 76

n i c e write!

It is repeatedly said the the US wants the oil. The US could easily buy it but IMO the US really just wants CONTROL of the oil which can be used against other nations that may not agree with the Empire. Same with Iran, Syria and Iraq.

Posted by: ken | May 3, 2019 9:52:51 AM | 77

@ fastfreddy | May 3, 2019 9:24:46 AM

Just as the USA created and funds ISIS, the US and NATO funded and armed Muslims in Yugoslavia

With a friend like you Socialism does not need enemies. Go back into the hole you crawled from, and get informed before you spout more nonsense.
Fascism is Not an Idea to Be Debated, It’s a Set of Actions to Fight

Posted by: ex-SA | May 3, 2019 10:42:09 AM | 78

Scripted moves enshrined in the conventional, quasi-holy, hand-book for Régime Change
by the USA no longer works. --

1) Sanction to create misery, discontent, strife, turn ppl against ‘leaders’

2) Support and create opponents, dissidents, pay, pay, promote the ‘freedom’ BS,
with promises to the greedy sleazes, to furnish corruption niches, money, important posts, other bribes sex etc.

3) Sanction ++ (kill one or another industry.. agri, clean water, med services are prime targets, see Iraq)

4) Paint the ‘leader - Gvmt’ as illegitimate, cruel, inhuman, torturer, starving children, etc.

5) Trump (sic) up some other rationales, anything, deploy false flag

6) Turn to paid-up corrupted underling opposition figure / party / group (works! or no loss if is eliminated, murdered, decamps > find other)

etc. etc.

In Ukraine, a divided and ‘close on’ failed state, it worked (2nd try, > Orange Revolution 2004) for the *last time* imho. Needed the Maidan snipers and more.

Yet, in Ukr. the end result is highly unsatisfactory. Russia de facto won as it re-claimed Crimea, shoved the expensive burden of a depopulating, desperate Ukr. to the W (IMF, etc.), supported, helped, the Donbass so that it remains a part of Ukr., etc.

The primitive play-book agenda ends:

13) Bomb the place to smithereens, take the losses, and think again.

Running down an operations/actions list which ain’t working from the first steps (Chavez 2002) is not likely to pass to page 5, bullet point 13.

Particularly if the Commander in Chief is not keen or supportive.

Posted by: Noirette | May 3, 2019 10:56:10 AM | 79

John Bolton is reported to have claimed that there are some 25,000 Cuban troops in Venezuela. Some indication of the whopper lies that Bolton will tell can be seen by by doing some basic military vedh. Cuba is believed to have some 90,000 active military personnel. Bolton's claim would mean that roughly 25% {give or take a couple of percent} of Cuba's armed forces are in Venezuela. In US Army terms that's around 1.5 to two Army divisions plus support troops. Have no fear, you can bet the MSM, or at least a big chunk of it; will parrot Bolton's clap trap.

Posted by: GeorgeV | May 3, 2019 10:58:35 AM | 80

WATCH: Latest from Canada and the Nazi's Grand-daughter:

'It is Time For the Maduro Regime To Step Aside': FM Chrystia Freeland

https://twitter.com/cafreeland/status/1123758508573372417

Posted by: John Gilberts | May 3, 2019 11:00:25 AM | 81

Lots of interesting stuff here: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/02/politics/us-guaido-venezuela-money/index.html

"support failed to materialize when Guaido launched what he called the final phase of "Operation Freedom" on April 30.
Some analysts say that could be because Guaido had made his announcement a day earlier than he was expected to. The early move left the top brass at the State Department "really caught off guard and pissed," a source familiar with State discussions about the situation told CNN.
As of last Friday, US embassy Caracas staff were being told to get ready to return to the Venezuelan capital, possibly within the next two weeks, to "reopen" the embassy, the source said. "It seemed, in anticipation of something happening."

Posted by: Vasco Valente | May 3, 2019 11:00:31 AM | 82

Zachary Smith @ 62, thank you for the essay on the character of Pompeo and his religious views.
It is hard to align the personal faith of such individuals, which must surely include some ideas
about morality, since the teachings of Christ involve such, with their actions. I think it is
very appropriate and timely to draw attention to this anomoly, as does this article.

I only would quarrel with the author's final summation:

"... It is time to get rid of the Pompeos and Pences to end the charade and restore
genuine morality unencumbered by the book of Revelations together with a national
dignity that is not linked to threats or projection of military power."

I would reword that to say "...unencumbered by a false interpretation
of the book of Revelations..."

The Apocalypse of Saint John is a difficult book to read, and it is frequently
wrongly interpreted. It is a visionary and poetic work. It is not prophecy.
What it describes is what is happening at the time of its writing. That to me
seems so obvious, especially for those who would rather have an historical
interpretation of Biblical literature, that I will only say, read it as the
work of its author who is caught up in revolutionary and terrible events
and you will start to see it is talking about truths that underly each
and every lifetime, not something to happen in the future but what is
happening now.

Posted by: juliania | May 3, 2019 11:01:36 AM | 83

"the stache" isn't catchy enough...i was thinking either "Der Fuhrliper" or "Killford Brimley".

Posted by: the pair | May 3, 2019 11:17:21 AM | 84

Thanks a lot ,mr b.for all your efforts in writing those really-to-the point articles on where the action is.
I completely subscribe jannie's commentary.#2

I think invasion and bombing war is not on the table ,as of today,because of Pentagon opposals.
The one thing Bolton can be sure of,is MSMedia supporting in whichever direction they are in need of lying.So it could be false flag provoking support for invasion and rallying of the so-called alliance countries,with Nato stepping in (without Turkey)and eastern european countries' military filling up the body bags.Most likely the false flag will include Guaido's murder.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
With so many here ,clearly expressing their corroborated opinion in impeccable language,I apologize for my clumsy participation ,but sometimes I just have to put my brick in the wall,which could happen to be the stone the builders refused...

Posted by: willie | May 3, 2019 11:33:01 AM | 85

@kirk
Yeah because saving children was what we did in Iraq?

Posted by: johnny | May 3, 2019 11:56:45 AM | 86

AIPAC America. Trump is doing nothing about the borders like the Democrats and Republicans. They are all the same. The poor people of Venezuela caught between a bunch of criminals like Argentina and much of South America and Soros/Bronfman/Adelson/Kushner/Rothschild-North America.

Posted by: Jerry | May 3, 2019 12:36:48 PM | 87

86

kirk writes a parody or a farce. Unfortunately it too resembles actual American mainstream group think.

Both War Parties, Republican and Democrat, voted for the destruction of Iraq. Both War Parties are in favor of ousting the President of Venezuela.

And American people who watch tv and listen to the radio are engulfed in Propaganda which influences them to favor regime change now and war later.

The average American doesn't know what a Charter School is or what Economic Sanctions do.

Posted by: fastfreddy | May 3, 2019 12:44:00 PM | 88

@ ex-SA #78

All fine and good, but Obama was caging children and he and Hillary created a slave state out of Libya, once the richest African nation. So are you arguing that fascism with a friendly face....executed far, far away, is better than fascism at home? It would seem so.

Posted by: KC | May 3, 2019 12:56:38 PM | 89

Hey Kirk @#69, if you knew more about it you would see and say different things, my friend. Stephen Lendman's posted the operational plan for the war.>

see "Top Secret US Plan for Toppling Maduro and Eliminating Venezuelan Social Democracy

SOCOM commander Adm. KW Kidd drew up the Trump regime’s plan for regime change in Venezuela.

Eric Zuesse discussed it in his article. It includes the complete text of the plot to topple President Maduro and eliminate Venezuelan social democracy titled:

“PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE VENEZUELAN DICTATORSHIP (SIC) ‘MASTERSTROKE’ ”

Zuesse notes what Kidd drew up “was far more than just a military plan. It was comprehensive — directing military, diplomatic, and propaganda policies” to transform Bolivarian Venezuela into a US colony."

<

Gee whiz fellas, when they know your plan, you lose...

They'll have to either be defeated or come up with a new plan...

Of course there's always the Big Muddy... (Pete Seeger"s song about 'Nam)

Posted by: Walter | May 3, 2019 12:56:57 PM | 90

ex-SA@78

The US (CIA) and its NATO allies actually armed equipped and transported several thousand anti-Muslim Salafi/Wahhabite forces many under bin Laden's control into Bosnia-Herzegovina during the three way civil war between Serbians, Muslims and Croats.
https://www.antiwar.com/justin/j102901.html
https://www.mondialisation.ca/bill-clinton-worked-hand-in-glove-with-al-qaeda-helped-turn-bosnia-into-militant-islamic-base/5474094
https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2001-oct-07-mn-54505-story.html

As you know there are several economists (Paul Allen, Michel Chossudovsky, and David Korten) that identified the IMF's draconian structural readjustment program as to pivital event in setting off the Balkan wars.

Milosevic was an industrialist who managed state-owned gas company and later became the director of Beobanka, one of the major state-run banks. In the role of banker he was tied tightly to the Club of Paris and the IMF headquarters in Washington, D.C., often travelling there to arrange deals.

In 1989 Milosevic became President of Serbia at the time of the economic collapse. He was even instrumental in revoking autonomy of the two Serb provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina. This was a requirement of the IMF restructuring program as a cost containment measure. As you remember, Kosovo was economically a great sucking sound for the rest of Yugoslavia. The end of transfer payments from the central bank led to secessionist movements supported and promoted by the West, especially Germany and the Vatican.

Milosevic, and many of his banking buddies got rich on the privatization deals and later on profiteering during the Balkan wars. One might even propose that the IMF was pissed off the Milosevic was better at pirating resources and industries than they were. At any rate Milosevic rapidly gained control of key industries, including the main media outlets. Sanctions only increased Milosevic's power as his mafia paramilitaries were able to run lucrative smuggling operations, often with other players such as the current government of Montenegro.

As DRG.org reported, the Serb paramilitaries allied with Milosevic lost the drug war in Kosovo with the KLA/Albanian mafia in 1997. From that point on Kosovo was on the path to civil war as increasing numbers of Albanians illegally entered Kosovo form Albania. According to the Carnegie Institute some 600,00 people left Kosovo between 1990-1998 due to economic hardship. Based on Kosovo population figures, and estimated birth rates an additional 800,000-1,000,000 Albanians illegally entered Kosovo during that same time period.

So yes I do hold the IMF bankers accountable for the Balkan wars with Milosevic as a co-conspirator. Sadly, few Yugoslav's have been able to see past their own ethnic groups to see that all have been screwed by the IMF.

But then you know all of this!

For further reading you may consider Dr. Paul Allen's paper titled "Why Kosovo? The Anatomy of a Needless War"
https://www.policyalternatives.ca
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
June 1999 ISBN # 0-88627-963-1

Posted by: Krollchem | May 3, 2019 1:54:51 PM | 91

@65 peter au... yes - grabbing guaido would be like grabbing the bulls horns.. it is obvious they are smart enough not to do it..he is the cia's target numero uno when the time is right at this point..

Posted by: james | May 3, 2019 3:34:24 PM | 92

Try this: Bolton the Bellicose and Pompeo the Pompous or Pompeo the Overfed. Stay away from "walrus" and "hippo". Such comparisons are an insult to walruses and hippos.

Otherwise, nobody seems to notice that the declaration of the state of emergency to build THE WALL is the result of an urgency arising from the instability planned for South America and already underway in Central America (to keep out the Chinese, who are now the major investors in the region, U.S. capital being otherwise occupied in the stock market casino). Without THE WALL, the Hew Hess Hay will be facing the same waves of desperate people that have been unloosed on Europe by the instability unloosed on North Africa and the Near and Middle East.

Drumpf's inate racism has been very useful in stirring up fear and hatred of the Latin Americans (e.g. calling them "animals"), for this can only reinfoce popular support for THE WALL and enourage the people of Drumpfdom to see them as scum to be kept out at all costs instead of seeing them as the oppressed and desperate people that the Hew Hess Hay has made them.

The declaration of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization means that it is now legitimate (and legal -- to the extent that that might matter in Drumpfdom) to attack them wherever they are. There, ladies and gentlemen, is the casus belli waiting to be activated.

My reading of the Near East is that Lebanon will be the next target (probably this comign summer), to eliminate Hezbollah, whose existence and fighting power could cause undue complications when Iran is hit.

Iran, however, has highly accurate intermediate range Russian missiles that can hit Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem as well the United States bases in the region. Iran also has bunker busters with uranium warheads (made from the nuclear waste from their enriching process), like the ones that Israel used and tested in south Lebanon in August 2006. (The United Nations Environmental Program, assessing the damage there, found low enriched uranium in the craters thus created.) So, to avoid any hits on Israel (which would result in permanent radioactive contamination), Iran must be hit everywhere at once. This could involve nukes.

Bolton the Bellicose, speaking before the terrorist Mujahideen e Khalq's annual congress in Paris last year (for which he is reported to have pocketed $180,000) declared that he and they will be in Tehran in 2019, letting it be understood afterward that, if such a move somehow does not come off, it will be because there is no more Tehran.

Buckle up, as long Bolton the Bellicose is in the cockpit, the ride is likely to be rough.

Posted by: RJPJR | May 3, 2019 6:50:44 PM | 93

I don't get it; latam colleagues of mine say their Venezuelan friends attest to some dire situation in Venezuela whether it be work, food shortages, etc. Here in Canada, Chrystia Freeland (via tweet vid) voices support for Venezuelans "to take back their country", to much twitter cheerleading from Venz-Canadians. Yet the "alt" reporting is showing that the random Guydo dude has no support, journalists like Max Blumenthal are on the ground there showing normal things like people shopping in malls - the only thing I can think of is lack of contemporary political perspective and education i.e. people that are watching CNN or CP24 for "breaking news"...I never thought id say this, but thank the lord for Rick Sanchez

Posted by: randyslavage | May 4, 2019 7:09:57 PM | 94

The seizure of Venezuelan oil, it seems, was prerequisite to the destruction of Iran. Evidently the "action" in Venezuela went off like a damp squib. One may have expected the esteemed Imperial Junta to re-assess their plans...but it seems that they have elected to go ahead with attacking and destroying Iran anyway. see> USS ‘Abraham Lincoln’ Carrier Strike Group and etc...

No plan survives first contact, fellas. Gunna be an ugly fight. One does hope for peaceful resolution, but the objective evidence strongly suggests a bad outcome.

Land powers now dominate the littoral, Sea power is a liability within range of littoral forces. Carriers are BFT's...and you can guess what that means.

Posted by: Walter | May 6, 2019 9:41:39 AM | 95

@60 French media are reporting on the Syrian "régime, with their Russian allies" closing in on "the rebels" in Idlib with the usual reports of bombed hospitals and schools, with nothing but images of little kids and old women talking about how they're even bombing the animals in the fields, etc. No mention - well, one passing mention - of jihadists.

France has a Twittering president too: Micron has tweeted his "extreme concern" over civilian deaths and says that "no military option is acceptable." That from a little gentleman who pretends to believe that the French-made heavy weaponry still being shipped to KSA (a consignment leaving Le Havre yesterday was protested by citizens) is not killing civilians in Yemen and whose political mentor Hollande - whom he stabbed in the back to become commander-in-chief himself - was sh*tting his breeches with eagerness to be the first to send French planes to bomb Assad when Obama drew his "red line."

Posted by: Gene Poole | May 10, 2019 2:41:42 AM | 96

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