Archive | October 29th, 2016

How Britain’s “Party of War” Gave the Green Light to the Saudi Attack on Yemen

British Labor Leader Corbyn: “ISIS Created by UK and US”

This week’s Yemen vote demonstrates something apparent since the vote to invade Iraq: the party of war holds a majority in the Commons

Last month, Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected as Labour leader. It was his second victory by an overwhelming majority in a year, and it should have given Corbyn uncontested authority.

Yet he is still regarded with mutinous contempt by a significant proportion of his own side. They flatly refuse to accept Corbyn’s leadership.

I have reported politics from Westminster for almost 25 years and can recall few more shocking parliamentary events

This became clear on Wednesday night, when more than 100 Labour MPs failed to support a three-line whip on British policy towards the Yemen. It was disloyalty on an epic scale.

Corbyn cannot be faulted for calling a debate on Yemen. For the past 18 months, Britain has been complicit with mass murder as our Saudi allies have bombarded Yemen from the air, slaughtering thousands of innocent people as well as helping fuel a humanitarian calamity.

Corbyn clearly felt that it was his duty as leader of a responsible and moral opposition to challenge this policy. He nevertheless bent over backwards to make sure that the Yemen vote was uncontroversial. The Labour motion therefore stopped short of calling for the suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia which has been demanded by many charities and campaign groups.

This is because Corbyn and his foreign affairs spokeswoman Emily Thornberry were mindful that some Labour MPs represented constituencies where local jobs depended on the arms industry. So they contented themselves with demanding an independent United Nations inquiry into crimes committed by all sides – not just the Saudis – in this terrible and bloody conflict. They reasonably suggested that Britain should suspend support for the Saudis until this investigation was completed.

Green light to Saudi

This is the position taken by the bulk of the international community, by all reputable aid agencies and, as far as I can tell, by almost all ordinary Yemenis. In her excellent speech on Wednesday afternoon, Thornberry set out the reasons why the Saudis could no longer be trusted to investigate their own affairs.

But for Labour abstainers and absentees, Corbyn’s motion would have been carried and parliament would have voted for an independent investigation

Yet more than 100 Labour MPs – not far short of half the Labour Party – defied Corbyn. As a result, Labour’s call for an independent inquiry was defeated by 283 votes to just 193, a majority of 90. But for Labour abstainers and absentees, Corbyn’s motion would have been carried and parliament would have voted for an independent investigation.

The vote is bound to be interpreted by Saudi King Salman as a vote of confidence in his deeply controversial assault on the Yemen.

It will also lift pressure on the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as he resists a growing international clamour for Britain to throw its weight behind an independent UN investigation.

To sum up, on Wednesday night, the British parliament sent the green light to Saudi Arabia and its allies to carry on bombing, maiming and killing. I have reported politics from Westminster for almost 25 years and can recall few more shocking parliamentary events.

Party of War

Shocking – but not surprising. The Yemen vote demonstrates something that has been apparent ever since the vote on 18  March 2003 to support the invasion of Iraq: the party of war holds a majority in the Commons.

It comprises virtually all of the Conservative Party and the Blairite wing of Labour. As Nafeez Ahmed wrote in July, there is a clear and demonstrable connection between the vote for war in Iraq, opposition to an Iraq inquiry, support for the calamitous intervention in Libya, and opposition to Jeremy Corbyn.

For the past 15 years, parliament has been governed by a cross-party consensus in favour of war

Ahmed showed the majority of those who tried to unseat Corbyn last summer were interventionist. Some 172 supported the motion of no confidence in Corbyn’s leadership. By coincidence or not, exactly the same number of MPs have supported Britain’s calamitous overseas wars.

Now let’s look at the Labour MPs who put a smile on the faces of King Salman and Boris Johnson by defying Corbyn’s three-line whip and abstaining in Wednesday night’s vote: once again we are at least partly talking about a confederacy of Blairites.

It turns out that Ann Clywd, who made such a sparkling speech in favour of war during the 2003 Iraq debate, has abstained over Corbyn’s call for an independent investigation of Yememi war crimes. So have John Spellar, Gloria de Piero, Fiona MacTaggart, Barry Sheerman, Angela Eagle, Liz Kendall, Luciana Berger, Lucy Powell, Mike Gapes, Stephen Kinnock, Tristram Hunt, Margaret Hodge etc etc.

Even Keith Vaz, who was born in Aden and makes a big deal of his Yemeni antecedents, defied Labour’s three-line whip and abstained.

It is important to highlight the fact that some of the most prominent opponents of Jeremy Corbyn did traipse through the division lobbies with their leader on Wednesday night. Alan Johnson, Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper are just three examples. And, of course, the majority of those who abstained on Wednesday were not in parliament for the Iraq vote in 2003.

The Neocons and the unforgiven

Nevertheless there is a telling pattern here. For the past 15 years, parliament has been governed by a cross-party consensus in favour of war. During that period, Britain has undertaken three major foreign interventions, each one of them utterly disastrous. In each one, military success was swiftly followed by political and, ultimately, state failure.

Despite the hard-won experience of 15 years, there is still a parliamentary majority in favour of intervention.

There is an intimate connection between politicians who style themselves as moderate and neoconservative policies overseas

Very few parliamentarians opposed all these interventions. Jeremy Corbyn was among them and he has never been forgiven for it.

This brings me to the final paradox of Wednesday night’s vote: the intimate connection between politicians who style themselves as moderate or occupying the centre ground in Britain and neoconservative policies overseas.

For the past 20 years, the so-called “modernisers”, whether Blair’s Labour or Cameron’s Conservatives, have been in charge at Westminster. As has been well-documented (not least by Labour’s Jon Cruddas), they have hollowed out British politics through techniques of spin and electoral manipulation.

It is these same modernisers who have caused havoc in the Middle East, condemning the region to bloodshed and war. They were at it again on Wednesday by sending a signal to the Saudi dictatorship that it was acceptable to carry out its murderous policies in the Yemen. Thirteen years after Iraq, neoconservatism still rules.

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Myanmar: “Human Rights Champion” Aung San Suu Kyi Jails Dissidents

Myanmar

Myanmar’s defacto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi of the  National League for Democracy (NDL) political party, has paved her time since coming to power earlier this year with both irony and hypocrisy. She has not only illegally declared herself “leader” of the Southeast Asian state in contravention of its constitution, she has also embarked on an iron-fisted purge of her political opponents identical to the one she fought against as she struggled to seize power to begin with.

During elections earlier this year, Myanmar’s constitution prevented Suu Kyi from holding the nation’s highest office due to her inordinate amount of time overseas, her status of having been married to a foreign, and her children’s dual citizenship. Instead of adhering to the law, her party once in power, simply contrived an entirely new post for her, State Counsellor of Myanmar, which makes her the “defacto leader” of Myanmar.

Canada’s Globe and Mail in an article titled, Stéphane Dion says Aung San Suu Kyi is the ‘de facto’ leader of Myanmar,” would note that Canada’s government recognized this legal side-stepping, stating:

Dion called Suu Kyi, now Myanmar’s foreign minister, “the de facto national leader” of her country “because they have a strange rule that if you have married somebody who’s not of the country, you cannot be the leader of the government and of the state.”

Suu Kyi, the internationally recognized democracy advocate, is barred from becoming president because her late husband was British, as are her two sons. The rule was crafted during Myanmar’s decades of military rule, which Suu Kyi fought against during years of house arrest before finally prevailing last fall.

In essence, she is unelected, and illegally holding power. For a woman who’s Western backers – particularly in the United States and United Kingdom – have held her up as a champion for democracy and the rule of law, she and her party’s first act upon taking power was trampling both.

The Inhumane Humanitarian

Another myth built up around Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi by the West has been her advocacy for “human rights.” Her advocacy for human rights, however, appears only to extend out to protect only as far as her immediate political allies are concerned. For groups beyond this self-serving political protection, and particularly regarding her political opponents, she and her NDL are just as eager to jail, crush, or kill political opponents as they claimed the ruling military government had been.

In addition to escalating violence targeting the nation’s Rohingya’s population, several activists online have been sent to jail for “insulting” the ruling government and Western-backed media fronts and organizations.

Myanmar’s Eleven Media Group (EMG) in its article,Facebook offender brought to court for insulting Suu Kyi,” attempted to distance what Suu Kyi and her political supporters had once called draconian censorship as now, a simple matter of enforcing the law. It would state:

A Facebook user named Zaw Zaw (aka Nga Pha) was brought to the North Dagon Township court on October 24 to face prosecution for his defamatory posts about State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. 

He has been charged under Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law. 

“He’s being sued for defamatory writing and photos about the State Counsellor [posted on Facebook],” said plaintiff Nay Myo Kyaw, a 34-year-old resident of North Okkalapa Township. 

Around 50 people showed up at the hearing wearing shirts affiliated with a group called the Network of Supporters of the Rule of Law. They shouted: “You deserved it for insulting a good person.”

The article also admits:

The Myawady Township Court sentenced Aung Win Hlaing (aka A Nyar Thar), the first man to be prosecuted under the current government, for defamatory posts on Facebook about President Htin Kyaw, to nine months in jail after he was convicted under Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law. 

Aung Myint Tun (aka Ko Pho Htaung), a member of the National League for Democracy, is still facing legal action under the same law for the wording of a resignation letter. 

Another man named Yar Pyay was arrested and is being prosecuted for creating a fake Facebook account under the name of Nay Myo Wai, the chairman of Peace and Diversity Party. 

Hla Phone was also arrested and is being prosecuted for defamatory posts on Facebook about the Commander-in-Chief.

EMG – ironically awarded for its work in opposing the previous military-led government by Reporters without Borders – would also admit that it itself had taken advantage of Myanmar’s laws to silence its own critics, claiming:

Eleven Media Group (EMG) also filed complaints about repeated defamatory posts on Facebook against the group. Though EMG lodged complaints against film director Mike Tee, who is the owner of a Facebook account named Than Tun Zaw, and another Facebook user named Myat Maw for offensive posts about the group and its staff, the legal process has yet to begin. EMG lodged the complaints on January 27 and March 31 this year.

One would expect such a tidal wave of abuse – as defined by the West in regards to media, governance, and censorship around the world – to be met with sweeping condemnation from the West’s various human rights advocacy organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and a no doubt embarrassed Reporters Without Borders – yet the silence is as deafening as it is telling.

Taking Over Where Accused Dictators Left Off 

The West’s champions of democracy, rule of law, and human rights in Myanmar appears to have simply taken over right where Suu Kyi and her NDL party had claimed the military-led government left off. And despite the overt nature of Suu Kyi’s breaches of Western standards of “democracy” and “human rights,” the US is on track to lift all sanctions from Myanmar as Suu Kyi and her government open the nation, its people, and its resources to exploitation by Western corporations.

The overt nature of both the West’s and Suu Kyi’s hypocrisy illustrates that “democracy,” “rule of law,” and “human rights” are merely facades behind which the West and its proxies wield their power – hiding behind such principles rather than truly upholding them. And in reality, such behavior undermines these principles more than any overt abuse by an openly  tyrannical regime ever could – because genuine advocates thus become associated with hypocrites like the Western governments supporting the current regime in Myanmar, their faux-nongovernmental organizations aiding and abetting the regime, and proxies like Suu Kyi and her NDL themselves.

International audiences must keep this example of hypocrisy in mind as the West attempts to overturn other governments in Southeast Asia and beyond under similar pretexts and using similar rhetoric – supporting supposed “pro-democracy” and “pro-human rights” advocates who have every intention of trampling both upon seizing power.

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Jews blamed for Holocaust at House of Lords event

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Image result for JEWISH HOLOCAUST CARTOON

Event hosted by the British House of Lords in which Jews were blamed for the Holocaust and ‘Israel’ was compared to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

The session marked the launch of the Balfour Apology Campaign ahead of the Balfour Declaration centenary. The 1917 declaration pledged British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

According to the Times, an audience member was applauded after suggesting Hitler only decided to kill Jews after being provoked by anti-German protests led by a Zionist rabbi, Stephen Wise, in New York.

“[He] made the boycott on Germany, the economic boycott… which antagonized Hitler, over the edge, to then want to systematically kill Jews wherever he could find them.”

The speaker also said Zionist Rabbi Wise told the New York Times in 1905 there were “6 million bleeding and suffering reasons to justify Zionism.”  This quote is often used to suggest the figure of 6 million Jews later killed by the Nazis was a myth.

The audience member – reportedly a member of the anti-Zionist strictly Orthodox Neturei Karta sect – also compared ‘Israel’ to IS.

“Just as the so-called Jewish state in Palestine doesn’t come from Judaism. This Islamic State in Syria is nothing with Islam. It is a perversion of Islam just as Zionism is a perversion of Judaism.”

Another audience member said, to applause: “If anybody is anti-Semitic, it’s Israelis themselves.”

The event run by Baroness Tonge, a former Liberal Democrat MP.  Tonge reportedly made no attempt to challenge the comments.

Campaigners are calling on Britain to apologize for the Balfour Declaration and show remorse for its past colonial crimes in Palestine.

 

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“Palestinian Art Behind the Bars,” 1984 publication on Palestinian prisoners’ culture of liberation

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palestinian-art-behind-bars

The following historical booklet of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement was originally released in 1984 in English and Arabic by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Committee, based in Damascus, Syria, and is now being made available online for download and distribution by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

While focusing on depictions of Palestinian art created inside Israeli prisons – often on pillowcases, with smuggled and secreted materials, and removed covertly from the prison walls – the booklet also contains facts and descriptions about the situation faced by Palestinian prisoners in 1984.

Some of the art in this book was also featured in the Made In Palestine exhibition, which debuted in 2003 at the Station Museum in Houston, Texas. Its curator, James Harithas, was introduced to the broad spectrum of Palestinian art by featured artist Samia Halaby, whose new book of artwork commemorating the massacre of Kufr Qassem is soon to be released. (Some of the artists featured here are also included in Halaby’s work, Liberation Art of Palestine, which traces prisoners’ art as part of the overarching stream of liberation art produced by Palestinian artists in the movement.) Zuhdi al-Adawi, one of the artists featured in the booklet, traveled to New York City in 2006 for the opening of the exhibition. The film, Crayons of Askalan, also features some of these works and the story of Palestinian prisoner artists.

The booklet contains excerpts from the London Sunday Times’ 1977 investigation into torture in Israeli prisons, the same investigation that helped to bring the torture of Rasmea Odeh and Palestinian women prisoners to a Western audience. It includes an overview of the various prisons were Palestinian political prisoners were held at the time of publication in 1984, the forms of torture used under interrogation, living conditions in prisons, medical mistreatment and prisoners’ resistance. It ends with a call to people around the world to take action to support Palestinian prisoners, “form support committees everywhere,” and “unite all efforts to help secure the just demands of these prisoners and condemn the inhumane Zionist practices,” a call to action that remains just as critical today as it was 32 years ago.

The book is available for view and download below in PDF.

Download PDF (Palestinian Art Behind the Bars, 1984)

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Nazi Border Guards Who Killed Pregnant Palestinian Mom & Her Brother Will Not Be Charged

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maram_ibrahim

In April 2016, a 16-year old boy and his 23-year old pregnant sister were shot and killed near the largest Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank, Qalandia. The two Israeli border guards who killed the two family members have faced no charges or discipline, and now, Israeli prosecutors have officially closed the case, and determined that no charges were warranted against the guards.

A gag order was placed on the case by Israeli officials, and only after reporters from the Israeli paper Ha’aretz asked for the removal of the gag order was it discovered that no charges will be filed against the two guards.

According to Israeli prosecutors, there is no proof that the two guards acted improperly when they killed the unarmed child and his older sister.

Maram Taha, 23, and Ibrahim Taha, 16, her brother, were walking near Qalandia checkpoint on April 27th, and were around 65 feet away from the checkpoint when the guards claim that they seemed to be acting suspiciously, and shot them both.

Their bodies were held by Israeli officials for over a month, preventing the family from carrying out burial rites.

Maram was five months pregnant, and a mother of two children; Sarah, 6, and Remas, 4.

While Israeli prosecutors claimed that surveillance video footage at the checkpoint showed Maram attempting to throw a knife, they have refused to make the alleged video public.

Initially, on the day that she was killed, Israeli officials told the media that Maram was wearing an explosive belt. But when this was clearly not the case, when it was shown that she was pregnant, they simply stopped repeating the claim. They never officially retracted that claim, but it was not mentioned when the case was submitted to the military court system for review.

Over the past year, Israeli soldiers have been witnessed planting knives on or next to Palestinians that they have killed. This has led to suspicions among Palestinians in the case of Maram and Ibrahim Taha, particularly since Israeli officials have refused to release the surveillance video of this killing.

The case against the two Israeli border guards who shot the young mother and her little brother was submitted to prosecutors with a recommendation that no charges be brought against the guards.

Israeli prosecutors apparently agreed with this assessment, and decided not to prosecute the two unnamed Israelis who killed Maram and Ibrahim.

The Taha family has no legal recourse to appeal this decision by the Israeli military authorities, which govern the Palestinian Territories with martial law.

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Islamic State Terrorists (ISIS-Daesh) Set Iraqi Oil Fields on Fire

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Iraqi Civilians Choke As Fire and Smoke Are Visible From Space…

US ARMY SOLDIER WALKS TOWARDS BURNING OIL WELL IN SOUTHERN IRAQ

Qayyarah may have been liberated from IS, but noxious gases and burning oil fields have left residents gasping for clean air

QAYYARAH, Iraq – When Islamic State militants were chased out of the small Sunni town of Qayyarah, the town’s 13,000 or so remaining residents were praised by the Iraqi government for staying put during the fighting.

By not fleeing the Islamic State’s occupation, they did not add to the growing population displacement crisis in Iraq, and they also showed steely determination to withstand the brutality of the most hated terror group in the world.

But if marauding militants were not enough to force the largely Sunni town to flee, it appears the toxic pollution created by IS’s masochistic violence just might be.

On leaving the town, the groups few remaining militants set fire to the nearby oil fields. The fields are small, particularly compared to others in Iraq, producing around 10,000 barrels of heavy, sulphurous oil per day, according to Patrick Osgood of the Iraq Oil Report.

Retreating IS militants torched part of the Mishraq sulphur plant, releasing noxious sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide into the air (MEE / Gareth Browne)

Primarily retained for domestic use, the oil field was an important employer, giving jobs to hundreds of the town’s residents, and with thousands more financially dependent on their relatives employment in the industry.

According to Osgood, an estimated $150,000 worth of oil is being burned each day, in just one oil field, ejecting a thick plume of black smoke that gives the whole town an apocalyptic feel.

They also serve as a scar, a reminder that the Islamic State group is still a threat. Indeed as you wander around the town, machine gun fire is plainly audible and the ash-black carcasses of car bombs are everywhere. The Iraqi army’s frontlines are just a few hundred metres outside the town’s perimeter.

An Iraqi soldier looks on as the oil fields of Qayyarah give off vast plumes of sulphurous black smoke after being set on fire by Islamic State group militants (MEE/ Gareth Browne)

One man, a resident of the town, who gave his name as Ahmed, explains why he had stayed through it all. “When they came to Qayyarah, they would execute people in the street. They killed my brother. I stayed through all of that because this is my home. The Islamic State will not last forever and I knew we must stay to rebuild Qayyarah, to rebuild Iraq, so that it is standing long after Daesh (IS) are exterminated. It was my responsibility.”

Despite his stoicism, however, now even he is considering leaving. “Every morning I wake up and I feel ill. I can’t stop coughing. IS didn’t kill me, but I’m fearful that the fumes might.”

Liberated but toxic

Ahmed is not alone. Several hundred of the town’s residents have been hospitalised for respiratory problems as a result of the plumes, and at least 30 deaths have been reported.

Qayyarah now finds itself in a situation where, despite being liberated, its remaining residents are beginning to flee. They fear that the toxic smoke might achieve what the Islamic State group were unable to do.

Medical clinics in the area are reopening, but they lack the resources to deal with the effects of smoke inhalation – notably bottled oxygen – and they tend to prioritise combat wounds instead.

One person to have already fled the plumes of smoke is Muna. She returned to her home in Qayyarah briefly following the town’s liberation. But after two days she returned to a makeshift camp on the outskirts of Erbil. “There is nothing for me to go back to,” she said. “My husband is gone and I can’t live a simple life there. I will not raise my children amid the poison.”

She elaborates saying, “Even under Daesh we could try to stay out of trouble. We would stay indoors and pray when they told us to pray, but you cannot hide from the smoke,” she added. “When I returned I was coughing all the time, the doctors there could do nothing, they couldn’t help me. I had to help myself.”

Qayyarah’s 13,000 remaining residents were praised by the Iraqi government for staying put during the fighting (MEE / Gareth Browne)

Although official measurements have yet to be taken, Timothy Atkin, a consultant geologist, suggests that the levels are almost certainly above US-proscribed pollutant limits, adding that “at these sorts of levels the pollutants, which initially cause mainly coughing and headaches, can be immediately dangerous to life”.

There are no signs of the situation improving. Following the routing of his army from Kuwait in the first Gulf war, Saddam Hussein set fire to some of the country’s largest oil wells. The largest of those burned for more than 10 months, and they were only put out following the efforts of specialist teams from the United States.

However, there is no sign that similar efforts are being made to extinguish the fires in Qayyarah or elsewhere. As Osgood of Iraq Oil Report says: “Rocket and mortar attacks continue in the area, so the security situation prevents the close-quarters fire fighting needed to pump enough water at the wellheads.”

In the days before MEE’s visit, at least three cars laden with explosives blew up in the town. Fortunately, they were brought to a halt outside the city but the threat is still very real. Even if the safety situation was to finally be brought under some semblance of control, authorities still lack the capability to tackle the blazes.

An Iraqi soldier walks near the carcass of an exploded car bomb outside Qayyarah (MEE / Gareth Browne)

Osgood explains: “The North Oil Company likely lacks the equipment to tackle a severe fire of this size. There are probably not many who can. The Iraqi government has claimed to have made progress putting out fires, but the reality is all the wells [that were] lit, remain lit. Meanwhile Iraq is lobbying the US for assistance, but no contractor is going to put men on the ground when they might take fire or be killed by another explosion. So until the area is secure, the fires will leak and burn, perhaps for many more weeks to come.”

Smoke seen from space

The issue has become even more lethal in recent days. Retreating IS militants torched at least part of the nearby Mishraq Sulphur plant, one of the largest such factories in the region. Noxious sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide are now also being released into the air in plumes visible from the International Space Station. Local authorities claim that at least two people have been killed, and more than 30 hospitalised.

Shifting winds have sent the fumes towards the nearby Qayyarah airbase, where hundreds of US military personnel have been forced to operate in gas masks.

The Iraqi army too has provided some of their nearby personnel with respirators, but the reality is that it is local residents who are most at risk. Few have gas masks or realise the danger the fumes pose.

A sudden change in wind direction also poses serious risks to the operation to take back Mosul. Nearby frontlines to the east of Mosul are mainly manned by Kurdish Peshmerga forces, very few of whom have the equipment to protect themselves against, and operate in the toxic smoke.

Acid rain threat

Both forms of pollution – the thick black smoke from the burning oil and the chemical output from the sulphur plant, also present serious risks to Iraq’s environment in the long term.

As Timothy Atkin warns, “when sulphur dioxide is mixed with water it can form sulphuric acid, which once in the atmosphere can cause acid rain,” and with Iraq’s winter – a period during which approximately 90 percent of the country’s annual rainfall comes down – fast approaching, the risk is deadly and growing.

But the risk extends beyond simply adverse health effects. Acid rain is likely to kill much of the vegetation in the areas it falls on, whilst a lack of sunlight courtesy of the oil plumes poses similar risks to both vegetation and residents.

Qayyarah may have been liberated from the Islamic State group, but it is clear the biggest threats to its residents and authorities are yet to come. It is perhaps symptomatic of the sort of challenges a post-IS Iraq will face.

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Deterioration of the Rights of African Americans during Obama’s Presidency. “Servant of the Ruling White Elite” ‘Video’

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Inter-racial conflict in the US continues to escalate despite the fact that a black president has been leading the country for 8 years. All of the various ethnic groups that comprise American society, hoped that Barack Obama would be able to “sew” together the fabric of a nation torn by racial and social divisions, but racism is still on the rise. This poses a significant threat to US homeland security. Government institutions and big business continue to be controlled by the white elites and the perilous social situation of ethnic minorities continues to be accompanied by an increase in crime. This causes growing racial intolerance at all levels. People are frustrated by the lack of change in inter-racial relations, which has led to a new round of racial violence.

The most striking example of the exacerbation of racial conflict is the situation prevailing around so-called police violence. Every case of the killing of an unarmed African American in recent years becomes an occasion for demonstrations, which very often degenerate into riots. The new mass protest movements are thriving and growing in influence, aided by social media. For example, “Black Lives Matter,” which is compared to the ‘Black Panthers’ of the 70s. Despite the lack of talented leaders and clear programs, in such associations, their ongoing radicalization is evident. That was demonstrated by the riots in Ferguson of 2014 and the case of the murder of police officers in Baton Rouge.

The indignation of the African American population at police actions is justified. The level of police violence in the United States is quite high. It is known that American cops kill 5 times more people than Canadian police, 40 times more than German police, and 140 times more than  police in England and Wales.

Video

All segments of the American population are suffering from a disproportionate use of force by police. According to the resource “Mapping police violence”, from the 1st of  January, 2013 to the 31st of December 2015, 3,486 people were killed by police, or approximately 1100 people per year. Of these, 571 were Hispanic (16%), 949 African-American (27%) and 1522 (43%) were White. These figures must be compared to the fact that Whites are 64% of the US population, African-Americans are 13% of the overall population, while 16% are Hispanic. However, the divergent behavior of the white population is much rarer due to a higher level of income and social stability. Of course, most of those killed by police were carrying weapons, and the lives of the policemen were in danger. But it is generally thought that US cops are more willing to open fire on people of color, because the policemen believe that the level of criminality and readiness for violence of Hispanics and African Americans is much higher. Additional factors which lead to an increase in racial tensions are racial prejudices and the established practice of cops consistently being acquitted by the U.S. court system.

Largely because of the actions of the US ruling elites, there now exists a group of people who are above the law whose members have a license to kill. Shooting at unarmed people, including children and teens, beating of pregnant women, shooting at people with disabilities and other “controversial” actions of American cops all are commonplace occurrences in the United States. The Members of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted that in the United States there exists such inhumane methods as testing experimental medicines on inmates (predominantly African American) in prisons, the forced sterilization of minority women, and numerous incidents of police abuse of power directed towards the non-white population. However, the increased use of cameras amongst both the civilian population and police departments has facilitated increasingly frequent recordings of such cases of violence and has helped in gaining them publicity. That increased awareness that, in turn, has led to the outrage of the African-American population.

Many US police forces continue to subject African Americans to more thorough searches and more forceful tactics during arrests. Unofficially, they explain these practices by referring to statistical data presented by such sources as American Renaissance and Daily Stormer. For example, blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery. They are also three times more likely to use a hand gun, and twice more likely to use a knife. A number of police officers believe that “special attention” to African American citizens improves crime detection rates. However, it has a significant impact on the rise in police dissatisfaction. Although the number of attacks on police and their killings has declined in recent years, experts explain it by the fact that US police are increasingly avoiding “black” neighborhoods, where they can be particularly vulnerable.

Moreover, a large part of the US population is puzzled with the public position of President Obama who invariably condemns the actions of the police and grieves for the black victims of police violence, but is silent about the cases of murder of police officers in the course of discharging their official responsibilities. Such a situation leads to an increase in real crime, which is not reflected in official statistics. We should not forget that the number of firearms in the United States recently surpassed the number of inhabitants and according to various estimates there are more than 320 million guns in the US, of which more than 270 million are in the hands of the civilian population. Therefore, a further escalation of violence in the American society, at any time, can lead to very dire consequences.

In general, ethnic tensions peaked since the beginning of the Barack Obama presidency. Thus, according to the official FBI statistics, in 2015 the number of white-on-black murders and vice versa reached their highest levels in 2008. The number of white-on-black murders has increased by 12%, while the number of black-on-white murders increased 22%.

According to the report of the Chair-Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent Ricardo III Sunga (Philippines), the US maintains “structural racism”. It is a correct assessment of the situation. Despite the fact that the police officers are under the special protection of the state, laws aimed at fighting race discrimination, have the opposite effect of reverse discrimination, harming ordinary Americans. The use of unofficial, but very real quotas for the appointment of people of color at schools and businesses sometimes does not allow qualified “white” experts to get jobs or promotion. In case of conflicts of a civil nature between people with different skin color, they are usually subjected to racial profiling. At the same time, public opinion and the Supreme Court often find themselves on the side of national minorities.

On the other hand, the US still has a low level of political representation of ethnic minorities. As of November 2015, there have been a total of 1,963 members of the United States Senate, but only nine have been black, including Barack Obama. Out of 10,884 US Representatives, only 131 have been black. At present, there are no black governors at all. This lack of political representation also leads to more social tension.

No improvement has been observed during the final year of the first US African American presidency, instead, considerable aggravation of interracial conflict has been noted, to the point of it becoming one of the most dangerous threats to homeland security. Obama failed to cope with social problems, although he managed to stabilize the economy following the crisis. Still, 27% of African Americans continue to live below the poverty line, an average of 12% do not have steady employment. In some cities this figure reaches 40% and even as high as 50%. The level of culture, education and labor skills is also low. All this leads to an increase in crime among African Americans, and thus foments racist sentiment in society at large. This also leads to an exacerbation of black on black crime. For example, in Chicago, over the past 3 years, 75% of murder victims are young black males and 72% of murder perpetrators are also young black males. Social conditions in such places are affected by the fact that a large percentage of children grow up in broken homes.

As far as inter-party competition is concerned, it is obvious that in spite of the election of a black president, the Democrats failed to improve the lives of African Americans. Their criticism of the GOP’s harsh race rhetoric in order to attract voters, this is also an attempt to hide the fact they are not interested in changing the status quo. Paradoxically, only Republicans with their strict “law and order” approach are truly interested in the implementation of certain changes. Although the consequences of their policies in the event of capturing the White House, remain to be seen.

Summing up President Obama’s activities in the sphere of interracial relations, we can say that he has not developed a new national idea in order to deal with the problem of racism. US history will remember the first black president not as an idealist fighting for the rights of the oppressed, but as a servant of the ruling white elite and its interests.

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Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Terrorist “Car Bomb Attacks” in Syria

NOVANEWS
Al Qaeda Terrorist “Car Bomb Attacks” in Syria: The Means To Combat Them
iraq-bombing-car

On October 28, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian Al-Qaeda branch) and its ‘moderate allies’ launched a fresh full-scale offensive in order to break the siege from militant-controlled areas of Aleppo city.

Since the start of operation, the joint terrorist forces have been massively using car bombs  (also known as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices or suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive devices).

The usage of car bombs remains a significant threat to the Syrian government forces and has already allowed al-Nusra & Co to achieve some gains in western Aleppo. How this strategy can be countered? South Front provides an answer.

Car Bombs

A suicide bomber of the group “Islamic State” attacked a convoy of the Iraqi military east of Mosul, as reported by the Kurdish Firat agency. According to the agency, the attack took place on October 17, 2016 near the village of Bilavet in an area to the east of Mosul. At the time, the column of Iraqi military vehicles and accompanying infantry were advancing to attack IS forces in the city. The resultant explosion killed about 70 soldiers.

There are reports on the use of suicide car bomber by IS and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria on an almost daily basis. Such vehicles have historically been used for attacks against troops and civilians many times before, but the “Islamic State” began to utilize them on a massive scale, and to aid them in achieving tactical battlefield victories.

In order to determine how to deal with this enemy threat, adversaries of IS need to understand the improvised weapons themselves, as well as the methods and tactics of their use.

Now, we define the purpose of the use car bombs. They are:

  1. The destruction of command and control points, checkpoints, staging points;
  2. Defeat the enemy’s manpower by causing mass casualties;
  3. The demoralization of the armed forces and intimidation of the civilian population.

It is necessary to identify the means used by the terrorists in employing these improvised explosive vehicles. Their design depends on the available transport purposes and degrees of importance of the target. The means of transport is dominated by the use of pickup trucks, vans, dump trucks, and military all-terrain and on-road trucks. As a rule, they are further improving armored protection in the form of welding on steel pipes, mounting mesh netting to defeat grenades and shape charges, and layering on iron sheets for additional protection. It is worth noting that in recent times there were cases where additional crew would man car bombs in case of the death or incapacitation of the driver. In this case, the injured or killed primary driver could be replaced by another suicide bomber within the team. Examples of car bombs can be seen on Figures 1-4.

1

Fig. 1. Car bomb on the basis of a pickup truck. The metal sheets cover the entire body. Protection is provided from RPG hits on the cab through use of a steel grid or mesh.

2

Fig. 2. Car bomb on the basis of a van. The metal sheets cover the entire body.

3

Fig. 3. Shahid-mobility on the basis of a truck. Only the cab is enclosed by armor.

4

Fig. 4. Car bomb based on a 3-axle army truck. The metal sheets cover the entire body.

In regards to defeating their use, you need to identify the means and methods to counter these types of car bombs. These measures include:

Engineering

During defensive action, a huge role for the protection units from undermining car bombs is played by the engineering of physical barriers. The most effective means to counter suicide bombers can be accomplished through the erection of tank ditches, obstacles, hedgehogs, escarpments and counter-escarpments. It is also necessary to take into account the terrain around the point to use the natural obstacles to defensive advantage. Also, the erection of watchtowers for the early detection of the approach of car bomb vehicles, and the provisioning of the materials to construct them, is advisable. If time and resources are available, it is also advisable to build reactive obstacles with antitank and antipersonnel minefields around the most important areas.

Firepower 

The most effective, and in the offensive, perhaps the only way to defeat car bombs can be considered adequate firepower. Insurgents constantly show ingenuity in terms of increasing the chances of transport survivability, as well as taking measures to ensure successful operations by reinforcing vehicle crews to overcome the weakness of only a single driver. Firstly, the chief means of fire damage afforded are heavy machine guns (12.7mm and 14.5mm in caliber) and automatic cannons (23mm and 30 mm in caliber). At the onset it is most appropriate to mount these weapons on pickup trucks for mobility and quick reaction. It is possible to mount these vehicles with machine guns DSHK (1×12,7mm or 2×12,7mm). Anti-aircraft guns ZPU-4 (4 KPVT gun caliber 14.5 mm) or ZU-23-2 (2×23 mm automatic guns) can be mounted on trailers in the form of standard trailers hauled by prime movers of varying size, or mounted in the beds of all terrain trucks. In reinforcing or substituting the above vehicles, in the defense, you can add armored fighting vehicles such as the BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle, equipped with a 30 mm automatic gun.

Communication and Cooperation

A large number of military equipment used by government forces has been rendered out of order in the course of prolonged hostilities, so the armed forces are forced to use civilian vehicles. These same civilian vehicles are also used by the terrorists. This creates great difficulties in the recognition of “friend-or-foe”. To overcome these obvious difficulties it is necessary to organize effective means of communication and cooperation with neighboring units. Of course, this does not solve the whole problem, because the cycle of “challenge-response” takes time; however, it gives you a chance to save the lives of your troops.

Troops Formation

Analyzing explosions of car bombs, we can conclude that the terrorists are trying to hit the places of the greatest congestion of people and vehicles. Therefore, in defense and attack, as much as possible, it is important to spread out the troops and at the same time be able to concentrate fire on dangerous or suspicious objects.

Counterintelligence

Any terrorist act is prepared beforehand. In our case, car bombs are not an exception. Long before the attacks, terrorists are identifying targets (exhibiting interest in targeted areas or points of interest and sending reconnaissance), and preparing the transport (acquiring metal grids and steel sheets and mounting them). They are also preparing a large quantity of explosives (from artillery shells to the derivatives of ammonium nitrate). Such transport, during the preparation and release at the starting line, will be heavily guarded and masked from observation. Therefore, it is important to work with the local population, as for the preparation of a terrorist attack event can not be completely hidden from outsiders. The effective organization of counterintelligence activities against the terrorists, who are interested in important facilities, will protect the troops or objects being targeted.

Warning fire 

In case of the approach of suspicious vehicles towards defensive positions, especially when there is no forewarning or communications received from the neighboring troops or orders from staff, it makes sense to open warning fire (several bursts in the direction of the approaching vehicle). If it is friendly forces, then they will stop and try to identify themselves. On the contrary, terrorists would respond by increasing speed in an effort to rush to the target point.

Finally, I want to mark the occasion of the attack on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice which occurred July 14, 2016, when a truck driver rammed a crowd of people who gathered to watch the fireworks display on the occasion of Bastille Day. The truck did not stop; zigzagging, pressuring people for nearly two kilometers of waterfront, while the driver also opened fire. He was eventually eliminated by the police. 80 people became victims of the attack. In this case, the terrorist did not even have to additionally acquire and armor the vehicle or acquire any explosives. The success of the operation was due to the element of surprise, and that the police were armed with small arms, which could not immediately kill the terrorist or disable the vehicle. A high level of vigilance, as well as the combination of a complex of organizational and firepower measures against these vehicular weapons, will minimize losses and keep troops alive.

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The Failure of Democracy: How The Oligarchs Plan To “Steal The Election”

NOVANEWS
trump-clinton-1

I am now convinced that the Oligarchy that rules America intends to steal the presidential election. In the past, the oligarchs have not cared which candidate won as the oligarchs owned both. But they do not own Trump.

Most likely you are unaware of what Trump is telling people as the media does not report it.

Video of Trump Statements regarding the Oligarchs

A person who speaks like this is not endeared to the oligarchs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYozWHBIf8g&app=desktop

Who are the oligarchs?

—Wall Street and the mega-banks too big to fail and their agent the Federal Reserve, a federal agency that put 5 banks ahead of millions of troubled American homeowners who the federal reserve allowed to be flushed down the toilet. In order to save the mega-banks’ balance sheets from their irresponsible behavior, the Fed has denied retirees any interest income on their savings for eight years, forcing the elderly to draw down their savings, leaving their heirs, who have been displaced from employment by corporate jobs offshoring, penniless.

—The military/security complex which has spent trillions of our taxpayer dollars on 15 years of gratuitous wars based entirely on lies in order to enrich themselves and their power.

—The neoconservartives whose crazed ideology of US world hegemony thrusts the American people into military conflict with Russia and China.

—The US global corporations that sent American jobs to China and India and elsewhere in order to enrich the One Percent with higher profits from lower labor costs.

—Agribusiness (Monsanto et.al.), corporations that poison the soil, the water, the oceans, and our food with their GMOs, hebicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, while killing the bees that pollinate the crops.

—The extractive industries—energy, mining, fracking, and timber—that maximize their profits by destroying the environment and the water supply.

—The Israel Lobby that controls US Middle East policy and is committing genocide against the Palestinians just as the US committed genocide against native Americans. Israel is using the US to eliminate sovereign countries that stand in Israell’s way.

What convinces me that the Oligarchy intends to steal the election is the vast difference between the presstitutes’ reporting and the facts on the ground.

According to the presstitutes, Hillary is so far ahead that there is no point in Trump supporters bothering to vote. Hillary has won the election before the vote. Hillary has been declared a 93% sure winner.

I am yet to see one Hillary yard sign, but Trump signs are everywhere. Reports I receive are that Hillary’s public appearances are unattended but Trumps are so heavily attended that people have to be turned away. This is a report from a woman in Florida:

“Trump has pulled huge numbers all over FL while campaigning here this week. I only see Trump signs and stickers in my wide travels. I dined at a Mexican restaurant last night. Two women my age sitting behind me were talking about how they had tried to see Trump when he came to Tallahassee. They left work early, arriving at the venue at 4:00 for a 6:00 rally. The place was already over capacity so they were turned away. It turned out that there were so many people there by 2:00 that the doors had to be opened to them. The women said that the crowds present were a mix of races and ages.”

I know the person who gave me this report and have no doubt whatsoever as to its veracity.

I also receive from readers similiar reports from around the country.

This is how the theft of the election is supposed to work:

The media concentrated in a few corporate hands has gone all out to convince not only Americans but also the world, that Donald Trump is such an unacceptable candidate that he has lost the election before the vote.

By controllng the explanation, when the election is stolen those who challenge the stolen election are without a foundation in the media. All media reports will say that it was a run away victory for Hillary over the misogynist immigrant-hating Trump.

And liberal, progressive opinion will be relieved and off guard as Hillary takes us into nuclear war.

That the Oligarchy intends to steal the election from the American people is verified by the officially reported behavior of the voting machines in early voting in Texas. The NPR presstitutes have declared that Hillary is such a favorite that even Republican Texas is up for grabs in the election.

If this is the case, why was it necessary for the voting machines to be programmed to change Trump votes to Hillary votes? Those voters who noted that they voted Trump but were recorded Hillary complained. The election officials, claiming a glitch (which only went one way), changed to paper ballots. But who will count them? No “glitches” caused Hillary votes to go to Trump, only Trump votes to go to Hillary.

The most brilliant movie of our time was The Matrix. This movie captured the life of Americans manipulated by a false reality, only in the real America there is insufficient awareness and no Neo, except possibly Donald Trump, to challenge the system. Americans of all stripes—academics, scholars, journalists, Republicans, Democrats, right-wing, left-wing, US Representatives, US Senators, Presidents, corporate moguls and brainwashed Americans and foreigners—live in a false reality.

In the United States today a critical presidential election is in process in which not a single important issue is addressed by Hillary and the presstitutes. This is total failure. Democracy, once the hope of the world, has totally failed in the United States of America. Trump is correct. The American people must restore the accountability of government to the people.

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Selective Assassinations of Chavistas by paramilitaries, renegade police and criminal gangs continue

NOVANEWS
Image result for Chavez CARTOON
By Arturo Rosales 

The assassination of followers of the late President Chavez continues to increase at a steady pace. From 2013 – when President Maduro was democratically elected – to the present, many local political leaders, public servants, journalists, bodyguards of left wing politicians, military personnel and operatives of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) have been unfortunate enough to fall into the opposition’s murderous claws.

The ultra-right wing opposition that currently has control of the National Assembly continues with its aim of resurrecting the Fourth Republic in Venezuela. With opposition figures such as the governor of Miranda state, Capriles Radonski, telling his supporters “to take their anger to the streets” and Voluntad Popular’s Leopoldo Lopez whose plan called “The Exit” sparked violent street protests by paid thugs from February to June 2014 costing 43 lives, we can see that unconstitutional political means to gain power are at play here.

Added to these actions by the ultra right wing are assassinations of body guards of revolutionary leaders that are simulated as a robbery or violent street crime, then the right wing media plays its part by putting it all down to “insecurity” caused by an inept government.

Paramilitaries &Policemen

The links established between fascist leaders in Venezuela such as Leopoldo Lopez and ex-Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma with ex-Colombian President and enemy of Bolivarianism, Alvaro Uribe, since 2009 have resulted in political, economic and media support for the paramilitary gangs that have been infiltrating Venezuela since about 2005. These gangs expanded into the country from the western Colombo-Venezuelan border and reached the center of the country, including Caracas, in a few short years.

Political and legal support was lent by right wing parties such as Voluntas Popular and Alianza Bravo Pueblo. Economic support came from drug trafficking, contraband and a small sector of business; and finally support by electronic media that are financed from abroad such as La Patilla, NTN24 (both financed from Colombia) and Sumarium owned by the Vecchio-Lopez families. (Carlos Vecchio is now exiled in the US and Leopoldo Lopez is serving 14 years in jail). There were also other minor support groups from other political parties of the right such as UNT, Accion Democratica and Primero Justicia.

With the paramilitaries in place, there were various objectives: the political demobilization and demoralization of militant Chavistas in the popular areas (barrios); and take out of circulation valuable revolutionary cadres either by making them disappear or eliminating them physically. The right wing media would then step in and report on these events with the purpose of destroying the memory and reputation of the murdered comrades.

The aim of practicing this kind of politics is to create indignation, fear and anger in the population that lives in the shadow of such insecurity. For this reason each brutal homicide is dealt with immediately and sensationally by the opposition media. The idea is to have some sensational aspect of any given case covered on a daily basis to maintain the fear factor.

Let us not forget that since 2013 the whole population has been subject to the effects of a fourth generation war – a combination of selective assassinations as described above and an economic war making life increasingly difficult. Foods were hoarded, hidden or smuggled to Colombia creating shortages of basic goods and the resulting huge lines as people stood to buy food.

This, the fear factor plus frustration at not being able to buy basic subsidized goods plus induced galloping inflation, was all blamed on an inept President and his ministerial team, day-in day-out, by the local and international media who all combined to encourage voters to either abstain or switch to supporting the opposition. The latter had promised to “make the lines vanish” if they won control of the National Assembly on December 6 last year. They did win but the lines got worse … and according to the media this is still the fault of the government even though 86% of food distribution is in the hands of the private sector.

Of course, the “make the lines vanish” electoral promise was conveniently never mentioned again by the private media.

To achieve the goal of sensationalizing homicides and sowing fear and discord in the population, the opposition media has a team of “info-mercenaries” who in many cases have contacts with corrupt ranks of the security forces and therefore have access to the gory details before any investigation has even started. Such “inside” or “advance” information is illegal under Venezuelan law. There are also journalists that act in concert with the armed gangs especially in the case of “hits” against security personnel, as there is a higher economic incentive if the details are published in the media.

After the recent intervention of the police headquarters in the opposition-run municipality of Chacao in Caracas, it was discovered that this police force had been behind several high profile killings such as that of retired General Felix Velasquez and revolutionary journalist Ricardo Duran.

Obviously the Mayor of Chacao who is the Commander-in-Chief of this police force did not know anything about the activities in his own police headquarters. The opposition is never involved in these murders even though the police forces they control are never above suspicion. At present 4 policemen are awaiting trial for the assassination of General Velasquez and 14 more for the killing of Duran.

Wider Strategy

On repeated occasions President Maduro has stated that these assassinations “form part of a non-conventional war that is being waged against the country – and not just now but for many years. Criminal violence emerges when the right wing does not achieve its objectives”.

There follows a list of the revolutionaries and public servants murdered in contract killings due to the politics of violence of the ultra right wing:

1_1

2_2

3_2

4_1

In addition to these politically motivated and contract killings by paramilitaries, police and paid thugs in the streets, there are at least 15 professional bodyguards of high-level Chavistas who have been assassinated from 2013–2016.

All the cases mentioned have proven to be contract killings and have been resolved or are under investigation.

It is worth highlighting the fact that no international human rights organization or any NGO affiliated to the US or Spain – countries that are supposedly democratic and believe in the freedom of expression – have taken any interest or made declarations condemning the persecution and assassination of Chavistas. All they have done is attack the government of President Maduro insinuating that it is he who is violating human rights!

Thus, we have a twisted situation where cases of murdered Chavistas are glossed over and no mention of the violation of their human rights is ever made. And on the other hand, the darling of the international right wing, Leopoldo Lopez, is allegedly having his human rights violated because his iPod was removed from his jail cell.

This is the late Eduardo Galeano’s Upside Down World!

Posted in VenezuelaComments Off on Selective Assassinations of Chavistas by paramilitaries, renegade police and criminal gangs continue


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