Archive | May 18th, 2019

USA: “$1 Trillion Nuclear Weapons Plan”. Take out Russia, Iran and North Korea?

“The Doomsday Forum”: Senior Military, Nuclear Weapons Officials Convene… America’s “$1 Trillion Nuclear Weapons Plan”. Take out Russia, Iran and North Korea?

Author’s Note

This article was first published on July 8, 2016

America’s pre-emptive nuclear doctrine was firmly entrenched prior to Donald Trump’s accession to the White House. The use of nukes against North Korea has been on the drawing-board of the Pentagon for more than half a century. 

In June 2016 under the Obama administration, top military brass together with the CEOs of the weapons industry debated the deployment of nuclear weapons against Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

The event was intended to sensitize senior decision makers. The focus was on building a consensus (within the Armed Forces, the science labs, the nuclear industry, etc) in favor of pre-emptive nuclear war 

It was a form of “internal propaganda” intended for senior decision makers (Top Officials) within the military as well as the weapons industry. The emphasis was on “building peace” and “global security” through the “pre-emptive” deployment of nukes (Air, Land and Sea) against four designated “rogue” countries, which allegedly are threatening the Western World. 

One of keynote speakers at the Doomsday Forum, USAF Chief of Staff for Nuclear Integration, Gen. Robin Rand, is presently involved under the helm of Secretary of Defense General Mattis in coordinating the deployment of strike capabilities to East Asia. Gen. Robin Rand heads the Air Force’s nuclear forces and bombers. His responsibility consists in “moving ahead with plans to deploy its most advanced weapons to the [East Asian] region…” Recent reports confirm an unfolding consensus within the military establishment:

“Military leaders regularly, and since the change of administration, have listed China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and ISIS as the major areas of concern for the future. From a security standpoint, tensions with North Korea continue to escalate, with reverberations throughout the region. In response to Pyongyang’s nuclear missile program, … the U.S. sped up the deployment of THAAD anti-missile interceptors to South Korea. This may reassure Seoul, and to a lesser extent Tokyo, but it has incensed Beijing.” Defense One, March 17, 2017

The DPRK is a a buffer state, a “stepping stone”. The unspoken truth is that the THAAD missiles stationed in South Korea are not intended for the DPRK, they are also slated to be used against China and Russia.

Michel Chossudovsky, April 28, 2017, revised January 21, 2017

*     *     *

On June 21, 2017,  250 top military brass, military planners, corporate military-industrial  “defense” contractors, top officials and scientists from the nuclear weapons laboratories as well as prominent  academics gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico to discuss, debate and promote the Pentagon’s One Trillion Dollar Nuclear Weapons program.

Russia is allegedly “threatening the Western World”. The objective is to develop the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons (i.e. nuclear war as a means of self-defense).

The event organized by “The Strategic Deterrent Coalition” (a non profit organization) was  funded by Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Orbital ATK, BAE Systems  among other generous donors.

Among the main speakers (see program here)  were Adm. Cecil Haney, Commander of the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, Dep. USAF Chief of Staff for Nuclear Integration, Gen. Robin Rand, Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command, Gen. (ret.) Frank Klotz, Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), as well senior officials from America’s top weapons labs including Sandia, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore. Representatives from the UK, Canada, Denmark and the Republic of Korea (ROK) were also in attendance.

According to STRATCOM Commander Adm. Cecil D. Haney, (image right) “America is quickly running out of time to ensure the viability of its nuclear deterrence and must invest the funds to upgrade not only its nuclear weapons stockpile, but the missiles, submarines and bombers capable of delivering a strike we hope we never have to make”. (Albuquerque Journal, June 22, 2016)

Adm Haney refers to “deterrence”, a Cold War concept which was officially scrapped in 2002 (under the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review). What is contemplated under America’s nuclear doctrine is the first strike pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons against both nuclear as well as non-nuclear states.

The enemies of America were clearly identified. The aggressor nations against which the “preemptive” use (for self-defense) of  advanced nuclear weapons is contemplated were  explicitly mentioned:

Haney presented an overview of the world’s “strategic environment” which he said may be at its most precarious point in history – in large part because of the actions of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida.

Russia poses a threat just by virtue of the size of its nuclear arsenal, which it continues to modernize, but it’s also improving its conventional military forces, maintaining a significant quantity of non-strategic nuclear weapons and aggressively pursuing new war-fighting technologies, he said. (Albuquerque Journal, June 22, 2016)

The event sponsored by the Strategic Deterrent Coalition (SDC) was geared towards the “education of decision-makers on the importance of a “valid nuclear triad” – strategic bombers, land-launched missiles and submarine-launched missiles – according to its board president, Sherman McCorkle.” The notion of Triad “relates to the fact that U.S. strategic nuclear weapons are based in the water, on land and in the air”

Propaganda: Sensitizing “Top Officials”

The SDC’s “educational endeavor” largely consists in building a consensus in favor of pre-emptive nuclear war (within the Armed Forces, the science labs, the nuclear industry, etc). It’s is a form of “internal propaganda” intended for senior decision makers (Top Officials) within the military as well as the weapons industry. The emphasis is “building peace” and “global security” through the “pre-emptive” deployment of nukes (Air, Land and Sea) against four designated “rogue” countries, which allegedly are threatening the Western World.

The debate was coupled with veiled threats pointing to the possible use of nuclear warheads on a first strike basis against Russia, North Korea and Iran:

Coupled with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric and “destabilizing actions in Syria and Ukraine,” Haney cautioned that “Russia must understand that it would be a serious miscalculation to consider nuclear escalation as a viable option.”

North Korea continues to undermine regional stability by conducting nuclear tests and advancing its ballistic missile technology, Haney said.

Iran’s continued involvement in Middle East conflicts and development of ballistic missile programs and cyberspace capabilities require vigilance, particularly if there are any shifts in Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he said. (Albuquerque Journal, June 22, 2016)

Theater of the absurd: the US is intent upon using nuclear weapons as a means of self defense against Al Qaeda and ISIS under the Administration’s counter-terrorism initative:

And the United States is part of an international campaign against violent extremist organizations groups “seeking to destroy our democratic way of life.”

To effectively keep adversaries and potential adversaries in check, America must maintain “a safe, secure, effective and ready nuclear deterrent.”

Lest we forget, Al Qaeda was created by the CIA and the ISIS is supported and funded by two of America’s staunchest allies: Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

The One Trillion Dollar Question: “Blow up the Planet”, “Bankrupt  the Country”

“Blowing up the Planet” through the use of “peace-making nuclear bombs” is a money making undertaking, a corporate bonanza  for what Eisenhower called “the military industrial complex”:  “All three legs of the “nuclear triad” must receive considerable investments to ensure their long-term viability” (Adm. Haney, op cit).

The expenditure is for a 30-year program to “modernize” the US nuclear arsenal and production facilities. … This plan, which has received almost no attention by the mass media, includes redesigned nuclear warheads, as well as new nuclear bombers, submarines, land-based missiles, weapons labs and production plants. The estimated cost? $1,000,000,000,000.00 — or, for those readers unfamiliar with such lofty figures, $1 trillion.

Critics charge that the expenditure of this staggering sum will either bankrupt the country or, at the least, require massive cutbacks in funding for other federal government programs. (Prof. Lawrence S. Wittner,  The History News Network)

Hillary Clinton –whose election campaign is also supported by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman et al favors the first strike use of nuclear weapons:

… “the nuclear option should not at all be taken off the table. That has been my position consistently.” (ABC News, December 15, 2015)

I want the Iranians to know that if I’m president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.” (ABC “Good Morning America.”, quoted by Reuters, April 22, 2008 during 2008 presidential election campaign)

The World is at a dangerous crossroads. A new arms race has been launched. It’s planning horizon is thirty years. The money allocated by the US federal government to the development of America’s pre-emptive nuclear war arsenal is of the order of one trillion dollars, that is the preliminary estimate, an astronomical amount (which could be increased):

“Today, our stockpile is the oldest it’s ever been, with the average age of a (nuclear) warhead at 27 years and growing,” he said.

The nation’s national security labs – like Sandia, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore – are key to ensuring the viability of the nuclear arsenal.

Despite the challenges, Haney said, “U.S. Strategic Command is a ready force capable of delivering comprehensive war-fighting solutions.”

In  response to this venue, the Los Alamos Study Group (LASG) organized a counter-event symposium on June 20-21. The LASG referred to the  Strategic Deterrent Coalition’s Symposium as the “Doomsday Forum”.

According to Los Alamos Study Group (LASG) director Greg Mello: “This Symposium comes at a time when ambitious US nuclear weapons plans, expected to cost $1 trillion over the next 30 years, are coming under withering criticism from recent US senior military and civilian defense officials, independent analysts, members of Congress, and diplomats”.

The nuclear weapons plan constitutes a multibillion dollar bonanza, ironically, for the military industrial contractors which generously financed the Symposium:  “…Air Force nuclear weapons replacements and upgrades are expected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Much of that money would go to the sponsors of this symposium.

This important event –which consists in building a consensus in favor of a possible first strike pre-emptive US nuclear attack against Russia, China, Iran and North Korea– has barely been covered by the mainstream media.

Oops….The organizers must have got their countries mixed up: North Korea was on the list of invitees. Canada was not mentioned. (see below)


Posted in USA, Iran, North Korea, RussiaComments Off on USA: “$1 Trillion Nuclear Weapons Plan”. Take out Russia, Iran and North Korea?

United States and Venezuela: A Historical Background


“Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and they own it and we want it” — (Anonymous Trump official)


US hostility and efforts to overthrow the Venezuelan government forms parts of a long and inglorious history of US intervention in Latin America going back to the second decade of the 19th century.

In 1823 US President Monroe declared, in his name, the ‘Monroe Doctrine” – the US right to keep Europeans out of the region, but the right of the US to intervene in pursuit of its economic, political and military interests.

We will proceed to outline the historical phases of US political and military intervention on behalf of US corporate and banking interests in the region and the Latin American political and social movements which opposed it.

The first period runs from the late 19th century to the 1930’s, and includes Marine invasions , the installation of US client dictatorships and the resistance of popular revolutions led by several revolutionary leaders in El Salvador, (Farabundo Marti), Nicaragua, (Augusto Sandino), Cuba (Jose Marti) and Mexico [Lazaro Cárdenas].

We will then discuss the Post-WWII US interventions, the overthrow of popular governments and the repression of social movements, including Guatemala (1954), Chile coup (1973), US invasion of the Dominican Republic (1965), Grenada (1982),and Panama (1989).

We will then exam US efforts to overthrow the Venezuela government (1998 to the present).

US Policy to Latin America: Democracy, Dictatorship and Social Movements

US General Smedley Butler summarized his 33 years in the military as a ‘muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers . . . I helped Mexico safe for American oil interest in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for National City Bank to collect revenue . . . I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the . . . House of Brown Brothers in 1902 – 1912. I brought a light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interest in 2016. I helped make Honduras right for American fruit companies in 1903 . . . looking back on it, I could have given Al Capone a few hints’!

During the first 40 years of the 20th century the US invaded Cuba , converted it into a quasi-colony and repudiated its hero of independence Jose Marti; it provided advisers and military support to El Salvador’s dictator, assassinated its revolutionary leader Farabundo Marti and murdered 30,000 landless peasants seeking land reform. The US intervened in Nicaragua, fought against its patriotic leader Augusto Sandino and installed a dictatorial dynasty led by the Somoza regime until it was overthrown in 1979. The US intervened in Cuba to install a military dictatorship in 1933 to suppress an uprising of sugar workers. Between 1952 – 1958 Washington armed the Batista dictatorship to destroy the revolutionary July 26 Movement led by Fidel Castro. In the late 1930s the US threatened to invade Mexico when President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized the US oil companies and redistributed land to millions of landless peasants.

With the defeat of fascism (1941-45), there was an upsurge of social democratic governments in Latin America. But the US objected. In 1954 the US overthrew the elected Guatemala president Jacobo Arbenz for expropriating the banana plantations of United Fruit Company. It backed a military coup in Brazil in 1964; the military remained in power for 20 years. In 1963 the US overthrew the Dominican Republic’s democratically elected government of Juan Bosch and invaded in 1965 to prevent a popular uprising. In 1973 the US supported a military coup overthrowing democratic socialist president Salvador Allende and backed the military regime of General Augusto Pinochet for nearly 20 years.

Subsequently, the US intervened and occupied Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989.

US propped up rightwing regimes throughout the region which backed US banking and corporate oligarchs which exploited resources, workers and peasants.

But by the early 1990’s powerful social movements led by workers, peasants, middle class public employees/doctors and teachers challenged the alliance of domestic and US elite rulers. In Brazil the 300,000 strong rural workers movement (MST) succeeded in expropriating large fallow estates; in Bolivia indigenous miners and peasants including coca farmers overthrew the oligarchy. In Argentina general strikes and mass movements of unemployed workers overthrew corrupt rulers allied with City Bank. The success of the popular nationalist and populist movements led to democratic elections won by progressive and leftist Presidents throughout Latin America, especially Venezuela.

Venezuela: Democratic Election, Social Reforms and the Election of President Chavez

In 1989 the US backed President of Venezuela imposed austerity programs that provoked popular demonstrations which led to the government ordering the police and military to repress the demonstrators: several thousand were killed and wounded. Hugo Chavez, a military official, rebelled and supported the popular uprising. He was captured, arrested, later freed and ran for presidential office.. He was elected by a wide margin in 1999 on a program of social reforms, economic nationalism, an end of corruption and political independence.

Washington began a hostile campaign to pressure President Chavez to accept Washington’s (President Bush) global war agenda in Afghanistan and around the world. Chavez refused to submit. He declared, “You don’t fight terror with terror”. By late 2001 the US Ambassador met with the business elite and a sector of the military to oust President elect Chavez via a coup in April 2002. The coup lasted 24 hours ..Over a million people, mostly slum dwellers, marched to the Presidential palace, backed by military loyalists .They defeated the coup and restored President Chavez to power. He proceeded to win a dozen democratic elections and referendums over the following decade.

President Chavez succeeded in large part because of his comprehensive program of socio-economic reforms favoring the workers, unemployed and middle class.

Over 2 million houses and apartments were built and distributed free to the popular classes; hundreds of clinics and hospitals provided free health care in the populer neighborhoods; universities, training schools and medical centers for low income students were built with free tuition.

Thousands in neighborhood community centers and ‘local collectives’ discussed and voted on social and political issues – including criticism and recall of local politicians, even elected Chavez’ officials.

Between 1998 and 2012, President Chavez won four straight Presidential elections, several congressional majorities and two national referendums, garnering between 56% and over 60% of the popular vote. After Chavez died President Maduro won elections in 2013 and 2018 but by a narrower margin. Democracy flourished, elections were free and open to all parties.

As a result of the inability of US backed candidates to win elections, Washington resorted to violent street riots, and appealed to the military to revolt and reverse the electoral results. The US applied sanctions beginning with President Obama and deepen with President Trump. The US seized billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets, and oil refineries in the US. The US selected a (non-elected) new President (Guaido) who was directed to subvert the military to revolt and seize power.

They failed: about one hundred soldiers out of 267,000 and a few thousand rightwing supporters heeded the call. The “opposition” revolt was a failure.

US failures were predictable as the mass of voter defended their socio-economic gains; their control of local power; their dignity and respect. Over 80% of the population including the majority of the opposition – rejected a US invasion.

US sanctions contributed to hyper-inflation and the death of 40,000 Venezuelan citizens due to the scarcity of medical products.


The US and the CIA followed in the footsteps of the past century seeking to overthrow the Venezuelan government and seize control of its oil and mineral resources. As in the past the US sought to impose a submissive dictatorship which would repress the popular movements and subvert the democratic electoral processes. Washington sought to impose a electoral apparatus which would ensure the election of submissive rulers as it did in the past and as it has done in recent times in Paraguay, Brazil and Honduras.

So far Washington has failed, in great part because of the peoples’ defense of their historical gains. Most poor and working people are aware that a US invasion and occupation will lead to mass killing and the destruction of sovereignty and dignity.

The people are aware of US aggression as well as the mistakes of the government. They are demanding corrections and rectifications .The government of President Maduro favors a dialogue with the non-violent opposition; Venezuelans are developing economic ties with Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, Bolivia, Mexico and other independent countries.

Latin America has experienced decades of US exploitation and domination; but it has also created a history of successful popular resistance including revolutions in Mexico, Bolivia and Cuba; successful social movements and voting outcomes in recent years in Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Venezuela.

President Trump and his murderous cohort of Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams have declared war against the Venezuelan people but they have thus far been defeated.

The struggle continues.

Posted in USA, VenezuelaComments Off on United States and Venezuela: A Historical Background

Who’s Behind the Pro-Guaidó Crowd Besieging Venezuela’s D.C. Embassy?

The intimidation tactics by the pro-coup embassy besiegers not only failed to deter the peace activists around the embassy, they left Venezuela’s D.C.-based opposition with a serious PR problem. After a week of hateful outbursts, a handful of marketing strategists emerged as de facto spokespeople for the mob.


After a rough and revealing start, the reins of the campaign to seize Venezuela’s embassy in Washington are being taken over by a group of well-connected marketing and online strategists.

In this article, we will examine the backgrounds of these individuals, the platforms they use to disseminate their message, and the tactics they have employed to clamor for an embassy seizure that violates international law. We will also address how they may stand to benefit directly from an escalation of Washington’s hybrid war and a potential regime-change scenario in Venezuela.

Washington serves as a magnet for many elite and upper-middle-class professionals from countries that have been targeted by U.S. regime-change efforts. In their home countries, some of these elements may function as the shock troops or intellectual beacons of empire, forming the front lines of American-backed color-revolution-style destabilization campaigns. In the U.S., some upwardly mobile members of the diaspora also become lobbyists for regime change. They position themselves as the true voices of “the people” of their nation, while the poor and working class majorities of those countries are left behind, ignored by the corporate media and unable to travel north.

This sensibility is perfectly reflected by the crowd of pro-coup Venezuelan exiles and diaspora members that has besieged the Venezuelan Embassy in a bid to starve out the American activists who have staged a round-the-clock protest inside.

In early April, peace activists were invited by Venezuela’s government into its embassy in D.C., after the Trump administration ordered the country’s diplomats to depart. Over twenty wound up taking up residence in the embassy, hoping to prevent an illegal seizure of the building.

On April 30 – the same day self-proclaimed “president” Juan Guaidó staged a failed military coup – pro-Guaidó Venezuelans initiated their siege of the embassy. As they converged on the premises, some unleashed a wave of violentmisogynistic, and racist attacks on peace activists both inside and outside the building.

Some of the pro-Guaidó militants are believed to have since carried out physical attacks, made death threats, and harassed the family members of embassy defenders. Some are also believed to have committed acts of property destruction, wrecked the tents of activists, and ransacked an embassy office while promoting ultra-Zionism and praising President Donald Trump and the policeTeleSUR’s correspondent Alina Duarte has faced a torrent of threats from some of the pro-Guaidó extremists, returning home one night to find that someone had attempted to break into and enter her apartment.

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MintPress News@MintPressNews

All was going according to plan for the Embassy Protection Collective, until April 30 when the opposition descended on the building en masse. The Secret Service has allowed them to besiege the embassy, vandalize it and assault embassy protectors.


The intimidation tactics not only failed to deter the peace activists around the embassy, they left Venezuela’s D.C.-based opposition with a serious PR problem. After a week of hateful outbursts, a handful of marketing strategists emerged as de facto spokespeople for the mob. They are now delegated for interviews with national media outlets, deploying a combination of liberal-sounding language and identity politics to deflect from the presence of violent, sociopathic elements within the mob, some of whom will also be identified in this article.

The well-groomed spokespeople for regime change

Dilianna C. Bustillos (also known as Dillianna Bustillos Vivas) has become a poster child for the pro-Guaidó mob. A senior manager at Oracle, she previously worked for MarketBridge and for the advocate marketing firm Influitive. Oracle, a computer technology corporation and one of the largest companies in the world, also works closely with aerospace and defense companies. In 2018 it had global revenues of $39.83 billion.

Bustillos previously volunteered with Visión Democrática, a pro-opposition Venezuelan lobbying outfit in D.C. that claims to focus on “democracy promotion” — code for regime change. Francisco Márquez, the executive director of Visión Democrática, is the political advisor to Juan Guaidó’s fake ambassador in Washington.

fellow of the “Democracy in Hard Places Initiative” at Harvard’s Ash School for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Marquez has held meetings with Vice President Mike Pence and is a key figure of the pro-coup Venezuelan lobby in Washington. Visión Democrática also employs Carlos Figueroa, who attended a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) meeting in Washington on the potential for a military invasion of Venezuela.

In her media interviews, Bustillos never reveals her top-level corporate marketing position nor her support for political groups that advocate for sanctions and U.S. intervention.

Rather, she has presented herself as just another concerned Venezuelan citizen, with nothing special to gain and no agenda beyond saving her country from the evildoers. In a media interview outside of the embassy, Bustillos claimed that she was “not for U.S. intervention.” Such claims have been accepted at face value by the New York Timeswhich wrote: “Mr.

Guaidó’s supporters insist they are not making a case for American military intervention in Venezuela, but only want the Americans to leave a building that does not belong to them.”

Dilianna C. Bustillos | Dillianna Bustillos Vivas

A screenshot from the Vice video featuring Dilianna C. Bustillos (AKA Dillianna Bustillos Vivas)

However, Bustillos’s Twitter timeline reveals that she has openly advocated for U.S. sanctions, which we now know collectively punish the country’s population. She also openly supports Guaidó, who himself has suggested he would support a U.S. attack on his own country. Guaidó’s fake ambassador, Carlos Vecchio, has asked the head of the U.S. Southern Military Command to begin “strategic and operational planning” towards intervening in the country.Support for a U.S. invasion has also been voiced by many other pro-coup/pro-GuaidóVenezuelan-Americans outside the embassy including one of the leaders of the crowd, Robert Nasser.

Some in the pro-Guaidó crowd have claimed that they want to see the embassy seized by Guaidó’s forces simply so they can renew their passports. However, an embassy for a government that does not exist and holds no territory in Venezuela would clearly have no ability to renew a passport.

In fact, seizing the embassy is aimed at setting up a parallel government and pushing for U.S. invasion or civil war, but under the guise of diplomatic officialdom. This is where the contradiction of those who express themselves as the authentic voices of “the Venezuelan people” is exposed, as they support the collective punishment of Venezuelans through sanctions, internal destabilization, and U.S. intervention, while demanding that their countrymen and women be delivered from economic crisis.

Alex Rubinstein


NOT FIT for public consumption, @askavenezuelan deleted their tweet in which they admitted to me that the escualidos harassing and assaulting embassy protectors and vandalizing the building are members of the Venezuelan upper class

On cue, the pro-coup lobby tells people to follow the hashtag #AskAVenezuelan. Caracas Chronicles, a U.S.-based blog popular with anti-Chavista Venezuelan-Americans, has also promoted the hashtag. This hashtag and the website under the same name ( have quickly become a marketing mantra for the pro-Guaidólobby in D.C.

Advanced marketing strategies have also been used by others seeking to escalate conflict, such as with the professional Syrian-American activists who called in recent years for U.S. military intervention in Syria. Some Nicaraguan-American groups in D.C. have also successfully promoted the financial strangulation of their country by the U.S. empire through the NICA Act.


So who owns the website According to a search through, the website is owned by Nelli Romero, a computer repair consultant who also owns a company called On Twitter, Romero goes by Nellie Belén Izarza. The company’s site on Zoominfo claims it has an annual revenue of $4.2 million.

On her Linkedin page, under the name Nelli R., she describes herself as an expert in “political and social media engineering” in Washington, D.C.

Romero has also worked as a consultant and lobbyist with the liberal Sunlight Foundation non-profit. Yet, in old social media posts, Romero supported and hyped up the violent guarimba protests that resulted in numerous deaths. One tactic familiar to the guarimbas was the guaira, where pro-coup militants tied razor wire across streets that then resulted in the deaths of motorcyclists and passersby, some by decapitation.

Nellie Romero | Nellie Belén Izarza

A screenshot of the LinkedIn page of Nellie Romero (AKA Nellie Belén Izarza)

In March of 2019, in apparent outrage that Washington had not yet authorized a military invasion of her homeland, Romero tweeted out (in Spanish): “With no U.S. Marine Corps there is no paradise.”

The pro-Guaidó spokespeople often insist to reporters that the group is neither right-wing nor left-wing in its political ideology, and that they do not want war or intervention. However, a quick glance over the “Ask a Venezuelan” website shows that it has repeatedly promoted Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) calls for U.S. intervention and brutal sanctions. Both Romero and Bustillos have often retweeted and praisedRubio, a neoconservative considered one of the most militaristic members of the U.S. Congress.

In a testament to how astroturfed the #AskAVenezuelan campaign is, the website admits that it was only started in response to a massive mobilization of anti-war activists in Washington who were protesting against Trump’s sanctions and intervention. In the “About” section, they say they “witnessed first-hand the high levels of misinformation about the situation in Venezuela.”

Ask Rubio

A screenshot from the website

With the Republican Party in the U.S. already fully invested in the coup, ensuring support for regime change within the Democratic Party establishment, along with favorable coverage from liberal-leaning media outlets, is at the top of the opposition’s agenda. This is where Romero and Bustillos enter the picture, as both describe themselves as liberal Democrats, even while they support the ultra-militarism of Marco Rubio. Romero has taken on an important lobbying role, meeting recently with Hillary Clinton’s former 2016 running mate, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).

For her part, Romero advocates for LGBTQ rights even while apparently controlling the #AskAVenezuelan brand. She is clearly not happy with those in the pro-Guaidó mob that have unleashed tirades of vitriolic homophobia against their political foes across the street and in the embassy. Together with Bustillos, she is appearing to do all she can to repackage the angry, entitled roar of a largely right-wing mob into a bipartisan message that appeals to a war-weary U.S. public.

Beyond the PR strategy that governs the embassy siege, D.C.’s pro-Guaidó lobby appears intent on consolidating a new status quo where Caracas is permanently isolated both diplomatically and economically, and an escalation of the conflict is just over the horizon.

The D.C. regime-change crew

Besides the marketing strategists, a number of well-connected Venezuelan exiles and diaspora members from the D.C. area have mobilized alongside some demonstrably violent figures each day outside the embassy.

One pro-coup activist seen on embassy grounds is Emerson Hevia, a Senior Principal Architect at the arms manufacturer Raytheon. The company is considered one of the biggest war profiteers in human history.

Alex Rubinstein


Here is Nica Lenin, the guy who shouted slews of racist slurs at embassy protectors yesterday. Read about it here 

View image on Twitter

Alex Rubinstein


“Venezuelans here and in Venezuela want US intervention,” reads this opposition activist’s sign

View image on Twitter
40 people are talking about this

Also present at the protests has been Moises Rendon, a fellow at the hawkish Center for Strategic and International Studies. Backed by NATO, defense contractors, and Gulf monarchies, this D.C. think tank was exposed by The Grayzone for hosting a private roundtable of Trump and Guaidó advisors to discuss the use of military force against Venezuela.

Alejandro Perez Barrios — a former employee of the World Bank and currently a senior manager at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group — has also taken part in the embassy siege.

Another prominent pro-coup activist is Carlos Alaya (also known as Carlos Alfredo Ayala Quintero), a marketing strategist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). One of Washington’s most important international financial institutions (IFIs) promoting neoliberal austerity across the hemisphere, the IDB recently hired a key architect of the coup in Venezuela, Ricardo Hausmann. The son of the President of the Venezuelan Association of Constitutional Law, Alaya has berated peace activists with vile epithets.

In fact, it has been common for many of the pro-coup activists to verbally assault female CODEPINK members, hurl racist invective at black anti-war activists, anti-Semitic slurs at reporters, and play jingoistic Trump speeches on loudspeakers.

Rania Khalek


Outside the Venezuelan embassy in dc, the pro Guaido crowd is getting very aggressive. They were shouting “you’re running out of time” and saying they’re going to take their embassy back. They’re also very white.

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Rania Khalek


My experience so far with Venezuelan opposition has been abuse and hate. This guy and his friends just started calling me a “fucking bitch.” I was just standing with other journalists watching the protest. You’ll never get people on your side talking like that.

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Another character known as “Mohamed” has aggressively attempted to rip food away from embassy protectors and briefly broke into the embassy, where he ransacked an entire room. He was then allowed by Secret Service police to walk freely among the mob outside, where he was seen providing private security to Guaidó’s faux ambassador Carlos Vecchio.

Alex Rubinstein


Embassy protectors drop the food off in front of the opposition intruder’s door

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Alex Rubinstein


This woman with the opposition ran up to block a female Embassy Protection Collective member who was delivering food. “No food for anybody,” she said.

Secret Service took control of the situation before saying everyone would have to leave the embassy at some point in time.

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Cathy Caminero is a consistent participant of the pro-coup mob. She has been seen openly in public making threatening gestures against embassy defenders.

Her partner, Cesar Caminero, has also taken part in the pro-coup siege. On his Linkedin profile, Cesar Caminero states that he is a senior level IT Engineer with an active Department of Defense (DoD) secret clearance. DoD secret clearances are provided only to either DoD employees or approved employees of a DoD associated contractor. Caminero currently works as a senior Windows engineerteam leader for Navstar Inc., a firm that provides IT and other services for U.S. intelligence agencies and the Department of State. Video on Twitter shows Cesar together with Guaidó’s fake ambassador Carlos Vecchio.

Cesar Caminero

A screenshot of the LinkedIn page of Cesar Caminero

Perhaps the most prominent non-Venezuelan supporter of the embassy siege is a neighbor of the embassy. He is Jim McCarthy of CounterPoint Strategies. According to its website, CounterPoint has “specialized in an aggressive, combative style of crisis management.” Earlier in his career, McCarthy is said to have “handled a variety of Fortune 500 and foreign government accounts” for two major public relations agencies in Washington. With a slew of wealthy clients, his company has been said to be “often at odds with Greenpeace” while “McCarthy helped pioneer the practice of using Google ads to target journalists.” On Twitter, McCarthy has denounced Venezuela’s elected government and promotes an interventionist position.

Many in the pro-Guaidó mob appear to work for either international financial institutions, hawkish D.C. think tanks, or arms- and military-oriented contractors.

Candid audio of members of the opposition recorded surreptitiously and obtained by MintPress Newsexpresses fear of revealing their identities linked to their professions (including one opposition protester who describes herself as being involved in “national security”).

Hailing from affluent backgrounds and overflowing with entitlement, the regime-change crew besieging the embassy does not mind brutalizing the anti-war activists that stand in their way. As numerous media reports show, the so-called “peaceful” and “pro-democracy” mob enjoys blaring 120 dB air horns just inches away from the eardrums of anti-war activists, and flashing bright strobe and scuba lights directly in the eyes of embassy defenders, even the elderly. Secret Service officers coordinating with Trump’s Department of State have stood by and done little to nothing. Violating international law, electricity has been cut off to the embassy and recently D.C. police themselves began to actively stopfood and water from getting to those inside.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Hasta La Victoria, Siempre@SanrioSocialist

Loving school teacher, or just a big bully? @MarlonEcorrea has been intimidating, verbally abusing, and assaulting peace protectors since Tuesday. Don’t you have papers to grade?

One anti-coup activist often present outside the embassy wondered if the fake ambassador, Vecchio, had hired a top-flight PR firm to control the messaging of the pro-coup mob. He explains:

Between Tuesday and Wednesday [May 7-8] there was a huge, concerted shift. People were seen coaching young Venezuelan-American women on how to cry and to wave their passports. They removed some of the more vitriolic opposition and dressed up some golpistas [coup supporters] in rainbow LGBTQ flags to downplay their rampant homophobia.”

On May 7, oppositionists wrapped themselves in at least a dozen pride flags, but the following day, the flags had totally disappeared.

Morgan Artyukhina@LavenderNRed

Wear all the rainbow flags you like, but I’ve still been called a f*ggot and a sissy more times by the Opposition in the last week than I have in the previous two years, at least.



After being exposed for homophobia, misogyny, and racism on camera, the right-wing opposition is on a mission to clean up their vile image. Grade A pinkwashing, folks! #HandsOffVenezuela

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As national media focuses its lenses on the delegated spokespeople of the pro-coup mob outside the Venezuelan Embassy, the voices of millions of working-class Venezuelans who voted in large numbers for their elected government, or even just those who do not want to see an escalation of the conflict, have been wholly ignored. Instead, Americans are instructed to consult a carefully conceived “Ask a Venezuelan” campaign that was designed by corporate marketing strategists. It is the brainchild of elite members of the diaspora with ties to the U.S. government, the military-industrial complex, and the Guaidó coup administration. And, as with a number of other PR campaigns, it is designed to distract Americans from the deeply unsettling reality unfolding in the heart of their nation’s capital.

Posted in USA, VenezuelaComments Off on Who’s Behind the Pro-Guaidó Crowd Besieging Venezuela’s D.C. Embassy?

Oil and Global Rivalry


When we talk about today’s geopolitical hotspots, we need to talk about petroleum.

At the UN General Assembly in 2018, Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl broke an unwritten taboo by talking about oil and war. “The recent wars imposed on the Middle East were…fought in the name of oil. Now Syria is a victim of the instability created by all these wars.” For decades, petroleum issues (related to both oil and natural gas) have remained a largely ignored aspect of disputes. In fact, global rivalry over petroleum goes back to the beginning of Middle Eastern exploration.

Petroleum is the lifeblood of modern economies, the most important commodity in world trade, and a source of enormous wealth. Since the terrorist attacks on the U.S. of September 11, 2001, petroleum has been part of numerous interventions and clashes. Iraq, Libya, Iran and Venezuela have vast petroleum resources. Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine have a strategic location for pipelines. Somalia and Yemen border strategic sea routes for petroleum.

All these countries are caught up in rivalries among the U.S., China and Russia. The U.S. sees itself as an ex- exceptional country, entitled to control the seas and take action anywhere in the world. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said recently, “when America leads, peace and prosperity almost certainly follow.” Americans see their global reach as benevolent, but some countries around the world see it otherwise.

Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves. Iran has the world’s fourth largest reserves of oil and the second largest of gas. The two countries have been in Washington’s crosshairs for decades. Oil is an economic weapon: Washington wants to shut down Venezuelan and Iranian petroleum exports completely. It wants regime change.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton was explicit on this point in an interview with Fox Business earlier this year.

“It will make a great difference to the United States economically,” he said, “if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”

The neoconservative hawk later warned other countries and companies not to buy oil from Venezuela.

Oil and regime change were unmentioned reasons for the Iraq and Libyan wars. Though former U.S. president George W. Bush insisted at the time that his illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq was not about oil, now the evidence that it was is overwhelming.

Already in 2001, the State Department had created a working group to formulate a new oil policy for a liberated Iraq that would open the sector to international oil companies. Speaking in 2007, the retired U.S. general John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command, said, “Of course it’s about oil. Oil fuels a lot of geopolitical moves.” In the U.K. it fuelled the pre-war deliberations of the Blair government, according to journalist Greg Muttitt, who learned the Foreign Office was “determined to get a fair slice of the action for British companies in a post-Saddam Iraq.”

The NATO war on Libya was packaged and sold under a Responsibility to Protect label. Libya happens to have the world’s ninth largest oil reserves, and its oil is top quality. Libya’s late president Moammar Gadhafi had used the oil wealth to Libyan advantage, providing health care and education for all. Under the leadership of a Canadian general, NATO flew 9,700 strike sorties, devastating Libya’s infrastructure. After the intervention, Libya was fragmented, bankrupt, in crisis. Eight years later, its oil exports are sporadic and still a source of fighting among rival factions. Libya is a failed state.

The U.S., China and Russia dominate the world’s geopolitics. Each of these powerful countries has its own reasons to be concerned about oil and gas.

The United States is the world’s largest user of petroleum and regards the resource as a vital interest. It forges strategic relationships with producing countries, notably Saudi Arabia, and pays extraordinary attention to petroleum in its foreign policy. Washington has literally hundreds of officials monitoring world energy — at the departments of state, energy, commerce, and at the National Security Council, Pentagon and CIA. No other government matches this scale of coverage. For many decades the U.S. has benefited economically from the use of the U.S. dollar in world petroleum trade. It wants U.S. dollar dominance to continue.

With its fracking boom of the last decade, the U.S. has become the world’s largest oil producer, dramatically reducing its dependence on foreign sources — from 60% of consumption in 2005 to 19% in 2017. Today, the U.S. is the world’s second largest oil importer, with Canada providing almost half of those imports.

China is the world’s largest oil importer. Its major concern is potential blockades of sea routes bringing oil from the Middle East. With its NATO allies, the U.S. patrols several narrow waterways including the South China Sea. To reduce its vulnerability, China has invested in alternative routes — huge oil and gas pipelines from Central Asia, others from Siberia, and yet others across Myanmar.

Russia is a petro-state and the world’s largest exporter of both oil and gas. Pipelines and sea routes to market are vital to its economy. Russia is building pipelines from Siberia to China and trying to build more to Europe. Some of Russia’s plans have been thwarted by the U.S. government and European Commission. Russia and China have joined in strategic co-operation, concerned about U.S. policies of containment. U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in September that the U.S. Navy can blockade Russia if needed, “to make sure that their energy does not go to market.”

The U.S. used to import liquefied natural gas (LNG). Now, with a dramatic expansion in production of fracked gas, it wants to export its LNG to Europe, which would displace Russian exports. Europe is a vital energy market for Russia. The U.S. sees this as a wedge issue to be exploited.

In the Soviet era, pipelines to export gas were built via Ukraine. Today, facing a hostile government in Ukraine, Russia plans new gas pipelines bypassing it to the north and south. The U.S. claims the new pipelines threaten European energy security. Secretary of State Pompeo says the U.S. will do everything in its power to stop the Nord Stream 2 project from bringing gas from Russia to Germany. Included are threats to place sanctions on participating European corporations.

Natural gas is prized for its clean burning and low sulphur content. It is environmentally less air-polluting than liquid fuels and much less so than oil sands bitumen. To reduce horrendous air pollution, China is abandoning coal and switching to natural gas. As the world’s third largest producer of gas, Canada is looking to export gas from British Columbia to China. It is also hoping to export oil sands bitumen there via the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Canada’s arrest of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou chilled relations with China, with implications for future trade.

Petroleum rivalry among countries is like a game, as I describe in my new book, Oil and World Politics. In this game, governments take actions to improve their own geopolitical advantage vis-à-vis others. Actions may be overt or covert, diplomatic, economic or military, promoted by a country itself or through proxies.

Petroleum features in America First policies. In 2017, sounding a bit like Canada’s last prime minister, President Donald Trump said the U.S. “will seek not only American energy independence … but American energy dominance.” In oil trade, four countries — China, Russia, Iran and Venezuela — are moving away from petrodollars, the crucial driver of U.S. world financial dominance. When Iraq and Libya threatened to abandon the petrodollar, they were attacked.

Canada supports U.S. sanctions against various petroleum countries, most recently Venezuela. Whether sanctions enhance democracy or human rights is highly questionable. For sure, sanctions have reduced Venezuela’s ability to export oil to U.S. refineries, enabling Canadian bitumen producers to fill the gap. Canada benefits when oil elsewhere is taken off the market and prices rise. Canadian officials overlook this reality in public comments. Media seldom mention it.

Under the UN charter, wars for resources are illegal. Perhaps that’s why petroleum has been largely ignored. Petroleum features in big power politics, intelligence gathering, regime change efforts, diplomatic discussions, even sanctions. Petroleum, power and politics all go together. Petroleum is the rarely mentioned aspect of conflict stories. Its role in ongoing disputes deserves exposure.

Posted in USA, Europe, Middle EastComments Off on Oil and Global Rivalry

Green Party of the United States Statement – Venezuelan Embassy


The United Nations recognizes Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela. It is illegal under international law for the U.S. to facilitate control of the embassy to opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has asserted a claim to the office.

The Embassy Protection Collective released a statement recently saying that eviction and arrests of the individuals, inside the embassy with the approval of the Venezuelan government, would violate international law.

“Today’s action creates a horrific precedent. International law protects foreign embassies” said Margaret Flowers, Green Party of the United States Co-chair, and one of the activists arrested today as part of the nonviolent effort to prevent the takeover. “The Trump Administration is violating the Vienna Convention by not only allowing the illegal seizure of diplomatic premises but by facilitating it. Such action raises concerns for the safety and security of diplomatic staff and embassies, including our own, throughout the world.”

The Green Party platform states that “the U.S. must recognize the sovereignty of nation-states and their right of self-determination.” The Green Party has called for a policy of non-intervention and for sanctions against Venezuela to be lifted.

Posted in USA, VenezuelaComments Off on Green Party of the United States Statement – Venezuelan Embassy

1919 Winnipeg General Strike: Lessons for Creating a Better World in 2019


4 guests assess the legacy of the Winnipeg General Strike and its meaning for today

The worker must get a more equitable share of the wealth of the world. And this Strike has already demonstrated the ability of the workers to get his if he consolidated their forces. Withdraw your labour power from the machine, said he, at once profits cease.” – published in Western Labor News, Strike Buletin (May 20, 1919). [1]


Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The period following the end of the first World War was one of considerable labour unrest in North America and around the world. [2]

Revolutions had sprung up in Russia, Germany and Hungary. One in five wage labourers in the United States went on strike in 1919, including a general strike in Seattle, 300,000 striking steel workers, 400,000 striking coal miners, 120,000 striking textile workers, and 50,000 striking men’s clothing workers. General or near general strikes took hold in twenty Canadian cities from Victoria, British Columbia to Amherst, Nova Scotia. [3]

Winnipeg had the distinction of hosting what is now recognized as the largest labour action in Canadian history. More than 35,000 workers in a city of 180,000 walked off the job on May 15, 2019. This included workers in the metal, building, sewing, and manufacturing trades, along with telephone operators, carpenters, electricians, city and government employees, postal workers, and domestic workers. Restaurants were shut down. Print outlets stopped functioning as pressmen left their workplaces. Even city police and firefighters supported the Strike, although they stayed on the job, at the request of the Central Strike Committee to preserve public safety. Soldiers returning from the War demonstrated in support of the Strike as well. The city effectively ground to a halt. [4]

After six weeks, the strike ended following the events of June 21st when the Royal North West Mounted Police together with hired ‘Special Police’ violently attacked a crowd near Portage and Main, leaving two men killed and many others injured. Strike leaders were jailed, some workers were deported, and strike action demands generally unfulfilled. [5][6]

Given this apparent defeat, what significance does the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike have historically, and what instructive lessons are available for today’s organizers? On a week, marking the centenary of the start of the Strike, the Global Research News Hour attempts to address these questions with four special guest analysts.

We start the show with Professor Leo Panitch. In a discussion convened at host radio station CKUW 95.9FM in WinnipegProfessor Panitch places the Strike in an historical and international context, he discusses how the rise of the populist xenophobic right is connected to reformist approaches favoured by social democrats as opposed to more transformative struggles rooted in a class analysis, and he speculates on the possibility of social gains being achieved in Canada and around the world in an era of austerity and neoliberalism.

We continue this discussion in our second half hour with three guests: Winnipeg-based academic and author Julie Guard, Winnipeg-based anti-poverty and welfare advocate Harold Dyck, and Toronto-based anti-poverty organizer and crusader John Clarke. In this ‘round table’ conversation, we address the legacy of the 1919 Strike, useful bonds of solidarity beyond the trade unions, some of the failures of labour organizers in recent years, and the prospects for a similar mobilization of the working class in 2019.

Winnipeg-based listeners take note, a number of 1919 Strike commemorations are taking place locally throughout May and June. A complete list, including a May 25th “Solidarity Forever” parade and concert can be found on the Mayworks calendar of events at

Julie Guard is Professor of Labour Studies and History at the University of Manitoba. She has authored numerous academic articles and chapters in books. Her research focuses on Canadian labour history, social movement history, history of dissent and repression, history of the Canadian left, women’s history, consumer and food history She is the author most recently of the 2019 book Radical Housewives: Price Wars and Food Politics in Mid 20th Century Canada.

Harold Dyck is a long time anti-poverty and welfare advocate based in Winnipeg. He has played prominent roles with a number of Winnipeg-based anti-poverty organizations including the Manitoba Committee for Economic Justice, the National Anti poverty Organization and the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. He is also the long-time director of the Low Income Intermediary Project which conducts advocacy work for people on social assistance.

John Clarke is a long time organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, a grassroots antipoverty organization based mostly in Toronto that combines collective struggles on behalf of individuals fighting for tenant rights, welfare access, and those threatened with eviction and deportation, with larger political campaigns geared toward policy changes in support of the most marginalized in our society.

(Global Research News Hour Episode 260)


Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at . Excerpts of the show have begun airing on Rabble Radio and appear as podcasts at

The Global Research News Hour now airs Fridays at 6pm PST, 8pm CST and 9pm EST on Alternative Current Radio (

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia, Canada. – Tune in  at its new time – Wednesdays at 4pm PT.

Radio station CFUV 101.9FM based at the University of Victoria airs the Global Research News Hour every Sunday from 7 to 8am PT.

CORTES COMMUNITY RADIO CKTZ  89.5 out of Manson’s Landing, B.C airs the show Tuesday mornings at 10am Pacific time.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 6am pacific time.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 10am.

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday Morning from 8:00 to 9:00am. Find more details at

RIOT RADIO, the visual radio station based out of Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario has begun airing the Global Research News Hour on an occasional basis. Tune in at

Radio Fanshawe: Fanshawe’s 106.9 The X (CIXX-FM) out of London, Ontario airs the Global Research News Hour Sundays at 6am with an encore at 4pm.

Los Angeles, California based airs the Global Research News Hour every Monday from 6-7pm Pacific time.


  1. Dennis Lewycky (2019) Magnificent Fight: The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, p. 37, published by Fernwood Publishing
  3. ibid
  4. Lewycky op. cit., pg ix, 2, 3, 14
  5. Lewycky op. cit., pg 43-45
  6. Lewycky op. cit., pg 153, 154

Posted in Europe, WorldComments Off on 1919 Winnipeg General Strike: Lessons for Creating a Better World in 2019

Nazi Firm Meddled in Africa, Asia and Latin America Elections

Israel Firm Meddled in Africa, Asia and Latin America Elections

An Israel-based campaign to meddle in the elections of several African, Asian and Latin American countries has been uncovered by social media giant Facebook.

Facebook announced today that it had deactivated dozens of accounts found to be spreading disinformation by posing as local journalists and influencers. The social media giant traced these accounts to Archimedes Group, a private company based near Tel Aviv which had engineered the campaign.

Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, told reporters that the platform had deleted 65 accounts, 161 pages and dozens of groups linked to the misinformation campaign, noting that this activity had garnered 2.8 million followers and hundreds of thousands of views. Gleicher also told reporters that Archimedes has now been banned from Facebook, Haaretz reported.

For its part, the Times of Israel quoted Gleicher as saying that

“these are actors that were essentially facilitating deception, and they appear to be commercially engaged to do this”.

He added:

“That type of business does not have a place on our platforms so we are removing them from the platform and our teams will continue to investigate to look for other instances of this type of behaviour, [whether] for commercial or other strategic purposes.”

Archimedes’ operations are thought to have focused on Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia, as well as a handful of Asian and Latin American countries. It is thought that the campaign has spent over $800,000 on Facebook adverts since 2012.

Relatively little is known about Archimedes Group. The Washington Post noted that the group presents itself as “a consulting firm involved in campaigns for presidential elections,” using the slogan “winning campaigns worldwide”. The website also features a vague description of the group’s “mass social media management” software, which it claims can enable the operation of an “unlimited” number of online accounts.

The Washington Post added that Archimedes is headed by Elinadav Heymann, citing Swiss negotiations consultancy Negotiations.CH. Heymann is also reported to have been Executive Director of the European Friends of Israel since 2012 and an “advisor to various parties [in] the Israeli Knesset for 3 terms”.

Facebook’s Gleicher said he could not speculate as to whether Archimedes’ motives were political, and as yet it is not known who solicited and paid for the group’s services. However, given the campaign’s focus on predominantly central and west African countries – a region in which the Israeli state has recently tried to increase its influence – questions to this effect are likely to be raised going forward.

In January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Chad to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries, which were severed in 1972. Speaking at a press conference before his departure, Netanyahu said that the visit was “part of the revolution we are doing in the Arab and Muslim world,” claiming that such an initiative “greatly worries, even greatly angers” Palestinians and the wider Arab world.

Though Israel’s normalisation drive in Africa has material benefits – often including lucrative arms deals, memorandums for economic cooperation and the use of airspace which will significantly shorten flight paths for commercial Israeli airlines – the initiative is also pursued for its propaganda value. Netanyahu has long been keen to emphasise these diplomatic successes, particularly in the run up to Israel’s general election which took place last month.

Posted in Africa, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Nazi Firm Meddled in Africa, Asia and Latin America Elections

War and Peace: Bolton and Trump Tell a Confused Story About Possible Military Action against Iran

The New York Times reported earlier in the week that top Trump administration national security officials asked for and received a briefing on military plans that would send some 120,000 US troops to the Middle East should Iran take aggressive actions against American forces there or resume work on nuclear weapons. That article set off furious tweetstorms from national security policy experts suggesting that National Security Adviser John Bolton was once again (see: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003) steering the United States into war in the Middle East on false pretenses.


?? Jon B. “Globalist” Wolfsthal


There is no legal authority to use military force against Iran. US officials have been clear they want depose the Iranian regime. Anything they say should be suspect and not taken at face value.

The aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln last week in the Persian Gulf. As a precaution, the Pentagon has moved an aircraft carrier and more naval firepower to the gulf region.

White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War

The plans call for up to 120,000 American troops but not a land invasion of Iran. They were updated at the request of John R. Bolton, the national security adviser.

See ?? Jon B. “Globalist” Wolfsthal’s other Tweets

Colin Kahl


I oversaw Iran policy and planning at the Pentagon from 2009-2011, at the height of concerns over Iran’s nuclear progress, and no plausible contingency except invasion and regime change would require sending 120,000 US forces to the Middle East. 

The aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln last week in the Persian Gulf. As a precaution, the Pentagon has moved an aircraft carrier and more naval firepower to the gulf region.

White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War

The plans call for up to 120,000 American troops but not a land invasion of Iran. They were updated at the request of John R. Bolton, the national security adviser.

3,236 people are talking about this

President Trump denied the Times report the next day, in a way that, as has often been the case, made a foreign affairs situation more rather than less confused:

“I think it’s fake news, OK? Now, would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we’re not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that,” Reuters quoted Trump as saying.

The confusion continued as the Trump administration repeated claims that it had sent a carrier task force and other military assets to the region to counter unspecified threats to American troops and facilities in the region. These claims were subsequently downplayed by British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, the deputy commander of the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, who, according to the Times, said:

“No, there has been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria.”

The US Central Command responded almost immediately by saying Ghika’s comments run “counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region.”

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that

“three distinct Iranian actions have triggered alarms: information suggesting an Iranian threat against US diplomatic facilities in the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Irbil; US concerns that Iran may be preparing to mount rocket or missile launchers on small ships in the Persian Gulf; and a directive from Khamenei to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and regular Iranian military units that some US officials have interpreted as a potential threat to US military and diplomatic personnel.”

But in a stunning addition to a week of speculation about war with Iran, the Post article was headlined “Trump, frustrated by advisers, is not convinced the time is right to attack Iran” and quoted a senior unnamed administration official to the effect that Trump is frustrated with Bolton’s martial approach. The president, the official said, “wants to talk to the Iranians; he wants a deal,” not war.

Of course, some social media observers noted an obvious implication of the Post headline—there is a right time to attack Iran, it’s just not now. And others demanded what they see as another obvious implication of the situation: Bolton needs firing.

Ankit Panda


Fire John Bolton then: Trump, frustrated by advisers, is not convinced the time is right to attack Iran 

Trump, frustrated by advisers, is not convinced the time is right to attack Iran

“They are getting way out ahead of themselves, and Trump is annoyed,” one official said of aides pushing for aggressive action.

In general, while reporting the chaotic and shifting signals about the possibility of war with Iran—a possibility that seemed to spring from nowhere this week, supported only by vague assertions of Iranian threats—the major news media have not done a particularly good job of explaining why major US military action in Iran would be, in practical terms, so likely to end in disaster. David Frum takes a stab at such explication in a piece for The Atlantic, but his blade largely misses the target, with Frum, a former speechwriter for former President George W. Bush, spending most of the article explaining and apologizing for his support of the Iraq War of 2003.

For those interested in understanding why the probability of a successful US military effort against Iran is so horribly low, I recommend a reading (or re-reading) of this 2004 article by Atlantic correspondent James Fallows. Though not the most scintillating prose Fallows has ever written (sorry, Jim), the article lays out clearly and completely what a fool’s errand a US attack on Iran—a country that has been girding itself to thwart a US invasion for decades—would quickly become. The article details a carefully conducted war game of options in regard to Iran, played out by top experts. A concluding quote from the article says much about the options available to a US president, then—and now.

“After all this effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers,” retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner said of the exercise. “You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work.”

Posted in USAComments Off on War and Peace: Bolton and Trump Tell a Confused Story About Possible Military Action against Iran

Amnesty International’s “Kangaroo Report” on Human Rights in Syria


This article was first crossposted in February 2017.


Amnesty International (AI) has done some good investigations and reports over the years. This has won them widespread support.  However, less well recognized, Amnesty International has also carried out faulty investigations contributing to bloody and disastrous actions. One prominent example is in Iraq, where AI “corroborated” the false story that Iraqi soldiers were stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. The deception was planned and carried out in Washington DC to influence the public and Congress. 

A more recent example is from 2011 where false accusations were being made about Libya and its leader as Western and Gulf powers sought to overthrow the Gaddafi government. AI leaders joined the campaign claiming that Gaddafi was using “mercenaries” to threaten and kill peacefully protesting civilians. The propaganda was successful in muting criticism. Going far beyond a UN Security Council resolution to “protect civilians”, NATO launched sustained air attacks and toppled the Libyan government leading to chaos, violence and a flood of refugees. AI later refuted the “mercenary” accusations but the damage was done.

The Sensational New Amnesty International Report

On 7 February Amnesty International released a new report titled “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison”. It has received huge uncritical review in mainstream and liberal media.

Like the Iraq/Kuwait incubator story and the Libyan ‘mercenary’ story, the “Human Slaughterhouse” report is coming at a critical time. The consequences of the AI report are to accuse and convict the Syrian government of horrible atrocities against civilians.  AI explicitly calls for the international community to take “action”.

As will be shown below, the AI report is biased and partial. To the extent that it is resulting in a widespread kangaroo conviction of the Syrian government, the AI release can be called a “Kangaroo Report”.

Problems with the Report

1) The Amnesty International report on Syria violates their own research standards.  As documented by Prof Tim Hayward here, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, claims that Amnesty does its research in a very systematic, primary, way where we collect evidence with our own staff on the ground. And every aspect of our data collection is based on corroboration and cross-checking from all parties, even if there are, you know, many parties in any situation because of all of the issues we deal with are quite contested. So it’s very important to get different points of view and constantly cross check and verify the facts.’ As documented below, the Amnesty report fails on all counts: they rely on third parties, they did not gather different points of view and they did not cross-check.

2) The report conclusions are not based on primary sources, material evidence or their own staff; they are solely based on the claims of anonymous individuals, mostly in southern Turkey from where the war on Syria is coordinated.

3) Amnesty gathered witnesses and testimonies from only one side of the conflict: the Western and Gulf supported opposition. For example, AI consulted with the Syrian Network for Human Rights which is known to seek NATO intervention in Syria. AI “liased” with the Commission for International Justice and Accountability. This organization is funded by the West to press criminal charges against the Syrian leadership. These are obviously not neutral, independent or nonpartisan organizations. If AI was doing what the Secretary General claims they do, they would have consulted with organizations within or outside Syria to hear different accounts of life at Saydnaya Prison.  Since the AI report has been released, the AngryArab has published the account of a Syrian dissident, Nizar Nayyouf, who was imprisoned at Saydnaya. He contradicts many statements in the Amnesty International report. This is the type of cross-checking which Amnesty International failed to do for this important study.

4) Amnesty’s accusation that executions were “extrajudicial” is exaggerated or false. By Amnesty’s own description, each prisoner appeared briefly before a judge and each execution was authorized by a high government leader. We do not know if the judge looked at documentation or other information regarding each prisoner. One could argue that the process was superficial but it’s clear there was some kind of judicial process.

5) Amnesty’s suggestion that all Saydnaya prisoners are convicted is false.  Amnesty quotes one of their witnesses who says about the court: “The judge will ask the name of the detainee and whether he committed the crime. Whether the answer is yes or no, he will be convicted.” This assertion is contradicted by a former Saydnaya prisoner who is now a refugee in Sweden. In this news report the former prisoner says the judge “asked him how many soldiers he had killed. When he said none, the judge spared him.” This is evidence that there is a judicial process of some sort and there are acquittals.

6) The Amnesty report includes satellite photographs with captions which are meaningless or erroneous. For example, as pointed out by Syrian dissident Nizar Nayyouf, the photo on page 30 showing a Martyrs Cemetery is “silly beyond silly”. The photo and caption show the cemetery doubled in size. However, this does not prove hangings of prisoners who would never be buried in a “martyrs cemetery” reserved for Syrian army soldiers. On the contrary, it confirms the fact which Amnesty International otherwise ignores:  Syrian soldiers have died in large numbers.

7) The Amnesty report falsely claims, based on data provided by one of the groups seeking NATO intervention, “The victims are overwhelmingly ordinary civilians who are thought to oppose the government.”  While it’s surely true that innocent civilians are sometimes wrongly arrested, as happens in all countries, the suggestion that Saydnaya prison is filled with 95% “ordinary civilians” is preposterous. Amnesty International can make this claim with a straight face because they have effectively “disappeared” the reality of Syria. Essential facts which are completely missing from the Amnesty report include:

a) western powers and Gulf monarchies have put up billions of dollars annually since 2011 to fund, train, weaponize, provide salaries and propaganda in support of a violent campaign to overthrow the Syrian government;  b) tens of thousands of foreign fanatics have invaded Syria;

c) tens of thousands of Syrians have been radicalized and paid by Wahabi monarchies in the Gulf to overthrow the government;

d) over 100 THOUSAND Syrian Army and National Defense soldiers have been killed defending their country. Most of this is public information yet ignored by Amnesty International and other media in the West. They have done a massive distortion and cover-up of reality.

8) Without providing evidence, Amnesty International accuses the highest Sunni religious leader in Syria, Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, of authorizing the execution of “ordinary civilians”. The Grand Mufti is a personal victim: his son was murdered by terrorists near Aleppo. Yet he has consistently called for reconciliation. Following the assassination of his son, Grand Mufti Hassoun gave an eloquent speech expressing forgiveness for the murderers and calling for an end to the violence. What does it say about Amnesty International that they make these kind of specific personal accusations, against people who have personally suffered, yet provide zero evidence?

9) Amnesty uses sensational and emotional accusations in place of factual evidence. The title of the report is  “Human Slaughterhouse”. What goes with a “slaughterhouse”?  Why of course ….. a “meat fridge”!  The report uses the expression “meat fridge” seven separate times, presumably in an attempt to buttress the association.  Even the opening quotation is hyperbolic: “Saydnaya is the end of life – the end of humanity”.  This report is in sharp contrast with fact-based objective research and investigation; it is closer to perception management and manipulation.

10) Amnesty International accusations that the Syrian government is carrying out a policy of “extermination” are contradicted by the fact that the vast majority of Syrians prefer to live in government controlled areas. When the “rebels” were finally driven out of East Aleppo in December 2016, 90% of civilians rushed into government controlled areas. In recent days, civilians from Latakia province who had been imprisoned by terrorists for the past 3 years have been liberated in a prisoner exchange. The following video shows the Syrian President and first lady meeting with some of the civilians and gives a sense of the joy.

11) The Amnesty report is accompanied by a 3 minute cartoon which gives the false narrative that Syrian civilians who protest peacefully are imprisoned and executed. The cartoon is titled “Saydnaya Prison: Human Slaughterhouse”. Apparently Amnesty International is in denial of the fact that there are many tens of thousands of violent extremists in Syria. They set off car bombs, launch mortars and otherwise attack civilian areas every day. While there are mistakes from time to time, and also cases of corruption and bribery, it makes no sense that Syrian security or prison authorities would be wasting time and resources with non-violent civilians when there are tens of thousands of foreign sponsored actual terrorists in the country. The AI accusation is also contradicted by the fact that there are many opposition parties in Syria. They compete for seats in the National Assembly and campaign openly for public support from both the right and left of the Baath Party.

12) The Amnesty claim that Syrian authorities brutally repress peaceful protest is also contradicted by the Syrian reconciliation process. For the past several years armed opposition militants have been encouraged to lay down their weapons and peacefully rejoin society. This is largely unreported in western media because it contradicts the false stereotype presented by Amnesty International and western media in general. A recent example is reported here.

13) The Amnesty report cites the “Caesar” photographs as supporting evidence but ignores the fact that nearly half the photographs show the opposite of what was claimed. The widely publicized “Caesar photographs” was a Qatari funded hoax designed to sabotage the 2014 Geneva negotiations as documented here .

14) The Amnesty report makes many accusations against the Syrian government but ignores the violation of Syrian sovereignty being committed by western and Gulf countries. It is a curious fact that big NGOs such as Amnesty International focus on violations of “human rights law” and “humanitarian law” but ignore the crime of aggression, also called the crime against peace.  According to the Nuremberg Tribunal, this is “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister and former President of the U.N. General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto, is someone who should know. He says, “What the U.S. government is doing in Syria is tantamount to a war of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the worst possible crime a State can commit against another State.” Amnesty International ignores this.

Background and Context

The co-author of this Amnesty International report is Nicolette Waldman (Boehland). She was uncritically interviewed on DemocracyNow on 9 February. The background and previous work of Waldman shows the inter-connections between influential Washington “think tanks” and the billionaire foundation funded Non Governmental Organizations that claim to be independent but are clearly not. Waldman previously worked for the “Center for Civilians in Conflict”. This organization is directed by leaders from George Soros’ Open Society, Human Rights Watch, Blackrock Solutions and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). CNAS may be the most significant indication of political orientation since it is led by Michele Flournoy, who was predicted to become Secretary of Defense if Hillary Clinton had won the election. CNAS has been a leading force behind neo-conservatives plan to escalate war in Syria. While past work or associations do not always define new or future work, in this case the sensational and evidence-free accusations seem to align with neoconservative political goals.


Amnesty International has previously published false information or “corroboration” which justified western aggression against Iraq and Libya. This seems to be the same role they are playing now in Syria.

The Amnesty International report is a combination of accusations based on hearsay and sensationalism. Partially because of Amnesty’s undeserved reputation for independence and accuracy, the report has been picked up and broadcast widely.  Liberal and supposedly progressive media outlets have dutifully echoed the dubious accusations. In reality this report amounts to a Kangaroo court with the victim being the Syrian government and people who have borne the brunt of the foreign sponsored aggression. If this report sparks an escalation of the conflict, which Amnesty International seems to call for, it will be a big step backwards not forward ….just like in Iraq and Libya.

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The Pompeo Bolton Tag Team from Hell


There was little pretense that when former UN Ambassador John Bolton became President Trump’s National Security Adviser and former Rep. Mike Pompeo moved into the Secretary of State position, that either would bring a professionally credible and respectable presence to  world diplomacy or foreign affairs.

It is fair to say that both have surpassed any of the bleak expectations and proven to be more extreme in their ideology, more personally amoral and malevolent than previously feared.  What we are seeing now is as if all constraints have been removed with free rein to fulfill their zio-neocon agendas specifically against Venezuela and Iran.

  • While speaking to a student audience recently at Texas A&M University, Pompeo revealed his utter contempt for a democratic government based on the rule of law when he bragged about “lying, cheating and stealing” as CIA Director. To an audience of undergraduates which clapped and laughed throughout, Pompeo offered

What’s the cadet motto at West Point? You will not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do. I was the CIA Director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. (laughing as if he had said something humorous) We had entire training courses. (Audience applause and cheers) It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.” (emphasis added)

First in his class at West Point and a graduate of Harvard Law School, Pompeo prides himself on having “come to an understanding of Jesus that fundamentally changed“ his life as a cadet and today claims to  be a “man of faith.”  It is not clear who Pompeo thinks he is kidding with the religious fervor schtick but for sure it is not any divine deity which will one day sit in Judgment on his character and integrity.  The Texas A&M exchange reveals an unscrupulous bully who knows no limit to his omnipotence and a willingness to condone war crimes on behalf of the disreputable Empire he serves.

  • Keynote speaker at AIPAC’s 2019 conference, Pompeo proved where his fidelity lies when he declared “Let me go on record: Anti-zionism is anti-semitism” which has become the new rallying cry for the poor, beleaguered state of Israel.
  • As the State Department is now defining the term ‘anti Zionism,’ Pompeo appointed Elan Carr as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism with the ultimate goal to intimidate and criminalize critics of Israel’s foreign policy objectives.

In describing his responsibilities, Carr’s stated priorities will be to “reduce the feelings of insecurity”, review “indoctrination of anti semitic textbooks” and “focus relentlessly on eradicating this false distinction between anti Zionism and anti-semitism.”  It takes living in a simulated reality to not grasp the distinction between criticism of Israel’s apartheid policy toward the Palestinians and its belligerent foreign policy in the Middle East and a genuine prejudice or discrimination based on one’s religious preference or ethnic differences.

At his press briefing, Carr was immediately in the weeds and lost total control of the narrative before being shut down by the State Department official spokesman.

As a one dimensional thinker,  Mr. Carr never described who or how anti-semitism will be identified. Will the State Department issue a weekly list of anti-Semitic offenders and what will  be the penalty?  Will State provide a list of forbidden anti-semitic words? How will deliberate intent be determined?   If a non-jew utters words like apartheid, yenta, yarmulke or illegal settlements, will they be considered proof of anti-Semitic?   Will the Nazis still be permitted to march in Skokie?  Will the tech giants rewrite their algorithms to search for ‘banned’ words?

  • On April 10thOmar Barghouti (image on the right), a prominent Palestinian human rights defender and a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement was denied entry by the US Consulate before departing Ben Gurion Airport despite having valid travel documents and having visited the US previously. Barghouti responded that

Supporters of Israeli apartheid in the US are desperately trying to deny US lawmakers, media, diverse audiences at universities, a bookstore and a synagogue, their right to listen, first-hand, to a Palestinian human rights advocate calling for ending US complicity in Israel’s crimes against our people.

  • In a 2016 report, the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda initiated an investigation into possible war crimes in Afghanistan involving the torture of 61 prisoners committed by the US Army and the torture and rape of 27 prisoners committed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at CIAprison sites in Poland, Romania and Lithuania.

In response to the ICC inquiry in 2018, Bolton warned

“We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system. We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans,”

In March 2019, Pompeo repeated the ICC threats with no apology in a straight forward defense of torture and war criminals.

“Since 1998, the US has declined to join the ICC because of its broad unaccountable prosecutorial powers and the threat it poses to American national sovereignty.  We are determined to protect the American and allied military and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation.   I’m announcing a policy of US visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of US personnel. These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis without allies consent. These visa restrictions will not be the end of our efforts.We are prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions, if the ICC does not change course,

After the Court responded that itwould continue its investigation with “war crimes and crimes against humanitywere, and continue to be, committed by foreign government forces in Afghanistan,”  Reference to ‘allied” personnel and Israeli involvement in US war crimes remains impenetrable.  True to his word, in early April Pompeo revoked the visa for Bensouda (image on the left).

In a devastating setback for the ICC, its pre-trial chamber recently refused to approve the investigation from moving forward citing a lack of US cooperation.  Certainly the Pompeo – Bolton threat to criminally prosecute and personally sanction the Court’s judges or that the US would ‘use any means necessary ” had nothing to do with that decision.  Bensouda says she will appeal the chamber’s decision.

  • After the January meeting with North Korea ended in failure, NK’s Deputy Defense Minister, who took part in the meeting, revealed that while Trump had shown a willingness to lift some sanctions based on NK’s moratorium on missile tests, he was later overridden by Pompeo and Bolton who brought “an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust” to the table with their “gangster like behavior.”

As the zio-neocons continue to move on Venezuela and/or Iran as uncontrollable malevolent fiends, loose cannons with no concept of international law or the need for global harmony, men of no conscience and no morality, it is only a matter of time before cosmic law balances the scale.

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