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‘Virus’ of nationalism has been smashed repeatedly with dictatorships installed

US foreign policy has often been directed toward destroying the threat of independence.

Shane Quinn

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Among the more significant cases of United States’ determination in preventing independent nationalism, is with regard Chile.

The Chilean example, starting under its 1970 democratically elected president Salvador Allende, was a telling one. Firstly, it lies in the Western Hemisphere. Indeed, Chile is “only” about 5,000 miles from the US border, and an independent path here was deemed an unacceptable threat.

In 1970, President Richard Nixon ordered the CIA to “make the [Chilean] economy scream” in order to “prevent Allende from coming to power or unseat him”. Nixon feared that Chile would become “another Cuba”. Despite friendly relations with Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Allende himself was not a Communist.

The Chilean President was a social democrat of the European model. Allende was born into a privileged family, who had a tradition of political involvement in progressive causes. Allende studied at the University of Chile, following his grandfather’s footsteps by becoming a physician.

Allende’s rise had drawn increasing panic from Washington, and indeed, the mask irresistibly slipped to reveal the face of imperialism. In 1973, National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger said, “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves”.

The crime of the Chilean people was its “irresponsibility” in wanting a brighter future for themselves. Kissinger further said that the “virus” of independence had to be crushed before it “spread contagion”. Allende’s presidential palace was bombed, with the president himself dying in the aftermath, along with thousands of others.

The murderous dictator Augusto Pinochet was installed in 1974, whom CIA reports had described as “hard working” and “honest”. In the midst of the bloodshed and economic inequality, Pinochet also stole $26 million of Chilean cash. He hid the millions in 120 bank accounts, many of them located offshore, while using bogus passports.

The suffering of Chileans paled in comparison to those in Vietnam and the rest of Indochina. When Allende was toppled in 1973, the war against Vietnam was reaching its agonising late stages with US troops finally pulling out.

As with Chile, American concerns about Vietnam were primarily with regard independent policy – and its potential spread to the resource laden regions of south-east Asia.

In the early 1950s, the US had opposed rising Vietnamese nationalism, while supporting French efforts to re-colonise its former territory. This failed when the French were routed in early May 1954, by Ho Chi Minh’s Communist Viet Minh coalition.

This resulted in a political settlement the same year, at the Geneva Conference in Switzerland, which split Vietnam into two states, in the Korean mode. The US regarded these peace accords as “a disaster”, and prevented it from proceeding.

During the next year (1955), the US erected a puppet state in South Vietnam led by the dictator, Ngo Dinh Diem. It was a classic Western client regime, carrying out murders and torture on a vast scale. By the early 1960s Diem’s policies most likely killed between 70,000 to 80,000 people. This was all before the war against Vietnam had even begun.

Diem’s cruel suppression only led to increased resistance against his regime. By 1961, the situation was “out of control” with Diem close to being toppled by popular resistance. This would have been a shattering outcome for US strategic planners.

They were terrified of a “domino effect”. If the entirety of Vietnam came under Communist control, it could conceivably extend to other countries. Malaysia could be next. Or, worst of all, Indonesia – described by Richard Nixon in 1967 as “the greatest prize”, with its abundant riches.

The unmatched might of the US military was called upon. In early 1962, President John F. Kennedy directed the US Air Force to bomb South Vietnam en masse – disguising American aircraft with South Vietnamese markings. So began the 13-year war.

In 1963, the Kennedy administration learned the dictator Diem was making attempts at a peace deal with Communist North Vietnam. Kennedy and his liberal cabinet subsequently organised a coup in which Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, were assassinated. The war against Vietnam escalated until Kennedy himself was killed in late November 1963.

The conflict in Vietnam was continued with vigour by Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Nixon – as “secret wars” spread to the rest of Indochina, Laos and Cambodia. Little is known about the scale of destruction against these defenceless countries. Laos, which is slightly smaller than Britain, suffered the misery of being the most bombed nation in history.

By 1975, millions had died across Indochina. This part of Asia will be fortunate if it ever recovers, as unexploded mines and bombs continue to dot the countryside.

Nor was the punishment limited to Indochina. Indonesia, just over a thousand miles east of Vietnam, was also harassed mercilessly. In 1965, American intervention led to the democratically elected President Ahmed Sukarno being unseated after two decades in power.

President Sukarno was described by the famous Indonesian writer, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, as “the only Asian leader of the modern era able to unify people of such differing ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds without shedding a drop of blood”.

Much blood would be shed during the following 33-year reign of his Western-backed successor, General Hajji Suharto (in power, 1965-1998). Indeed, the Suharto regime inflicted “one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century”.

The bloodshed rivalled Stalin’s purges. Up to a million people, mostly landless Indonesian peasants, were killed during widespread massacres against Communists, or Communist sympathisers, or simply anyone in the way.

With the body count having piled up during the initial genocide of 1965-1966, American corporations waded through the blood to pillage Indonesian resources. Suharto’s “paradise for investors” was to be exploited for full Western benefit.

James Reston, the New York Times’ then prominent voice, described the Suharto takeover as “a gleam of light in Asia”. Reston’s analysis was typical of mainstream commentary of Suharto. For over 20 years, one of the worst mass murderers of the post-World War II period was described as “a moderate leader”, “a moderating voice”, or “at heart benign”, someone who brought “stability” to the region. Later, the Bill Clinton administration described Suharto as “our kind of guy”.

The list continues. America supported apartheid South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s – while also backing Jonas Savimbi’s terrorist UNITA forces in Angola, 900 miles north of South Africa.

The US continued unabashed in their support for the monstrous Savimbi. This despite a CIA account describing him as “terribly brutal” and that “it wasn’t a good idea” to help him. Savimbi was even invited to the White House to meet Ronald Reagan, and later, George H. W. Bush.

In the meantime, South African terrorists were driven out of Angola by Cuban-led forces in early 1976. Years later, troops loyal to Fidel Castro also forced South Africa to end its illegal occupation of neighbouring Namibia. America’s backing of South Africa’s racist regime continued right to the end of Reagan’s second term, in 1989.

That same year a UN report outlined that South African assaults on Namibia, Angola and Mozambique resulted in around 1.5 million lives lost.

Elsewhere in the 1980s, terrorist operations orchestrated by the Reagan administration cost about 200,000 lives across Latin America. It was called the first “war on terror”, as immediately declared by Reagan upon taking office in 1981.

In the Middle East, a rough estimate of four million people have died since the 1991 Gulf War to the current day. Indeed, the death toll may even be higher as a result of Western aggression, to prevent independence and allow control over oil resources. Nobody knows the precise body count in the Middle East, as the crimes have never been investigated.

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It’s Back to the Iran-Contra Days Under Trump

Abrams and his cronies will not stop with Venezuela.

Strategic Culture Foundation

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Authored by Wayne Madsen, via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Showing that he is adopting the neoconservative playbook every day he remains in office, Donald Trump handed the neocons a major win when he appointed Iran-contra scandal felon Elliott Abrams as his special envoy on Venezuela. Abrams pleaded guilty in 1991 to two counts of withholding information on the secret sale of US weapons for cash to help illegally supply weapons to the Nicaraguan right-wing contras, who were battling against the government of President Daniel Ortega. Abrams would have headed to a federal prison, but President George H. W. Bush, an unindicted co-conspirator in the scandal, issued pardons to Abrams and his five fellow conspirators – former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, and former Central Intelligence Agency officials Alan Fiers, Duane “Dewey” Clarridge, and Clair George – on Christmas Eve 1991, during the final weeks of Bush’s lame duck administration.

Abrams escaped being charged with more serious crimes by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh because he cut a last-minute deal with federal prosecutors. Trump, who has made no secret of his disdain for cooperating federal witnesses, would have normally called Abrams a “rat,” a gangster term meaning informant. The man who helped engineer the pardons for Abrams and his five convicted friends was none other than Bush’s Attorney General, William Barr, who has just been sworn in as Trump’s Attorney General. Trump, who is always decrying the presence of the “deep state” that thwarts his very move, has become the chief guardian of that entity.

During a recent hearing of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, newly-minted congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, reminded her colleagues and the world about the sordid background of Abrams.

Omar zeroed in on Abrams’s criminal history:

“Mr. Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony you give today to be truthful.”

Abrams, as is the nature of neocons, refused to respond to Omar and cited her comments as “personal attacks.”

Abrams’s and his fellow criminals’ use of mercenaries and “death squads” to conduct secret wars in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala during the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s has made a re-entrance under Trump. Abrams was brought on board by neocons like National Security Adviser John Bolton, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to oversee a US military build-up in Colombia, said to be 5000 US troops, to support Venezuelan paramilitary and military efforts to topple President Nicolas Maduro. Abrams and Bolton are also believed to have retained the services of another unindicted conspirator in the Iran-contra affair, Michael Ledeen, a colleague of the disgraced and convicted former Trump National Security Adviser, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. Ledeen and Flynn co-authored a book titled, “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and its Allies.” The book contains nothing more than the standard neocon tripe one might expect from the likes of Ledeen.

An official investigation of the Iran-contra scandal by the late Republican Senator John Tower of Texas concluded that Abrams’s and Ledeen’s friend, Iranian-Jewish middleman Manucher Ghorbanifar, a long-time Mossad asset and well-known prevaricator, was extremely instrumental in establishing the back-channel arms deals with Iran. Ghorbanifar has long been on the CIA “burn list” as an untrustworthy charlatan, along with others in the Middle East of similar sketchy credentials, including the Iraq’s Ahmad Chalabi, Syria’s Farid “Frank” Ghadry, and Lebanon’s Samir “Sami” Geagea. These individuals, however, were warmly embraced by neocons like Abrams and his associates.

Abrams, whose links with Israeli intelligence has always been a point of consternation with US counter-intelligence officials, is part of an old cabal of right-wing anti-Soviet Democrats who coalesced around Senator Henry Jackson in the 1970s. Along with Abrams, this group of war hawks included Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, William Kristol, Douglas Feith, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Abram Shulsky, and Paul Wolfowitz. Later, this group would have its fingerprints on major US foreign policy debacles, ranging from Nicaragua and Grenada to Lebanon, Iraq, and Libya. Later, in December 2000, these neocons managed to convince president-elect George W. Bush of the need to “democratize” the Middle East. That policy would later bring not democracy but disaster to the Arab Middle East and North Africa.

Abrams and his cronies will not stop with Venezuela. They have old scores to settle with Nicaraguan President Ortega. The initiation of “regime change” operations in Nicaragua, supported by the CIA and the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Miami, have been ongoing for more than a year.

The Trump administration has already achieved a regime change victory of sorts in El Salvador. Nayib Bukele, the former mayor of San Salvador, who was expelled from the formerly-ruling left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation (FMLN) party and joined the right-wing GANA party, was recently elected president of El Salvador. Bukele has quickly re-aligned his country’s policies with those of the Trump administration. Bukele has referred to President Maduro of Venezuela as a “dictator.” He has also criticized the former FMLN government’s recognition of China and severance of diplomatic ties with Taiwan. It will be interesting to see how a sycophant like Bukele will politically survive as Trump continues to call hapless asylum-seeking migrants from his country, who seek residency in the United States, “rapists, gang monsters, murderers, and drug smugglers.”

Another country heading for a US-installed “banana republic” dictator is Haiti. President Jovenal Moise has seen rioting in the streets of Port-au-Prince as the US State Department removed all “non-essential” personnel from the country. Moise, whose country has received $2 billion in oil relief from Venezuela, to help offset rising fuel prices, has continued to support the Maduro government. However, at the US-run and neo-colonial artifice, the Organization of American States (OAS), Moise’s envoys have been under tremendous pressure to cut ties with Venezuela and recognize the US puppet Juan Guaido as Venezuelan president. Moise’s refusal to do so resulted in armed gangs hitting the streets of Port-au-Prince demanding Moise’s resignation. It is the same neocon “regime change” playbook being used in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

There will be similar attempts to replace pro-Maduro governments in his remaining allies in the region. These include Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Abrams was also brought in as an adviser on Middle East policy in the George W. Bush administration. The carnage of Iraq is a stark testament to his record. In 2005, it was reported that two key Bush White House officials – Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams – gave a “wink and a nod” for the assassinations by Israeli-paid operatives of three key Lebanese political figures seeking a rapprochement with Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah – Member of Parliament Elie Hobeika, former Lebanese Communist Party chief George Hawi, and former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

In 2008, a United Nations panel headed by former Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare later concluded Hariri was assassinated by a “criminal network” and not by either Syrian and Lebanese intelligence or Lebanese Hezbollah as proffered by Abrams and his friends in Washington.

Representative Omar was spot on in questioning why Abrams, whose name is as disgraced as his two fellow conspirators – Oliver North and John Poindexter – whose criminal convictions were overturned on appeal, is working for the Trump administration on Venezuela. The answer is that the neocons, who can sense, like raptors, Trump’s political weakness, have filled the vacuum left by top-level vacancies in the administration.

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Putin: If mid-range missiles deployed in Europe, Russia will station arms to strike decision centers

Putin: If US deploys mid-range missiles in Europe, Russia will be forced to respond.

RT

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Via RT…


If the US deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Moscow will respond by stationing weapons aimed not only against missiles themselves, but also at command and control centers, from which a launch order would come.

The warning came from President Vladimir Putin, who announced Russia’s planned actions after the US withdraws from the INF Treaty – a Cold War-era agreement between Washington and Moscow which banned both sides form having ground-based cruise and ballistic missiles and developing relevant technology.

The US is set to unilaterally withdraw from the treaty in six months, which opens the possibility of once again deploying these missiles in Europe. Russia would see that as a major threat and respond with its own deployments, Putin said.

Intermediate-range missiles were banned and removed from Europe because they would leave a very short window of opportunity for the other side to decide whether to fire in retaliation after detecting a launch – mere minutes. This poses the threat of an accidental nuclear exchange triggered by a false launch warning, with the officer in charge having no time to double check.

“Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapon systems, which can be used not only against the territories from which this direct threat would be projected, but also against those territories where decision centers are located, from which an order to use those weapons against us may come.” The Russian president, who was delivering a keynote address to the Russian parliament on Wednesday, did not elaborate on whether any counter-deployment would only target US command-and-control sites in Europe or would also include targets on American soil.

He did say the Russian weapon system in terms of flight times and other specifications would “correspond” to those targeting Russia.

“We know how to do it and we will implement those plans without a delay once the relevant threats against us materialize,”he said.

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Labour MP split is a cheap and final ploy to derail BREXIT (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 179.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss a small group of UK Labour MPs decision to quit the party and sit as Independent MPs in the house of commons.

Their excuse for leaving Labour was directed at leader Jeremy Corbyn for presiding over an “institutionally anti-Semitic” party. The real reason they are leaving Labour is because they are staunch remain MPs and are hoping to derail Brexit.

The seven Labour MPs quitting the party to become ‘The Independent Group’, are Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey.

RT reports that Luciana Berger, the MP for Liverpool Wavertree took to the stage first, to claim that she could not stay in the party any more because it had become “institutionally anti-Semitic.”

Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham, a prominent ‘People’s Vote’ advocate appealed to all MPs, not just Labour, to join their group, as the current parties are part of the problem, not the solution.

He argued that “It is time we dumped this country’s old fashioned politics.” Umunna claimed the UK needed a political party “fit for the hear and now” and the “first step in leaving the tribal politics behind.”

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Via RT

Twitter has been rocked by the sudden departure of seven Labour MPs to form their own Independent Group, with party supporters feverishly debating whether the move is better for the party, or a wake-up call to Jeremy Corbyn.

Former shadow cabinet minister Chuka Umunna along with MPs Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey have all jumped ship in the biggest Labour Party split since 1981, when the so-called “gang of four” left to form the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

In a press conference, Umunna stated that the established parties “cannot be the change because they have become the problem” arguing that it is “time we dumped this country’s old-fashioned politics.”

Jewish MP Luciana Berger said she was “embarrassed and ashamed” at what the Labour Party had become and criticized her former party for becoming “sickeningly institutionally racist.”

“I am leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation. I look forward to a future serving with colleagues who respect each other,” she added.

Reaction to the news online has been a mixture of shock and dismay, to outright derision. Some Labour supporters were quick to delight in the departures, suggesting the party will be stronger without detractors undermining it from within.

Others though said it was time for Jeremy Corbyn to take the criticism seriously.

Meanwhile, some Twitter users commented on Young Labour’s somewhat barbed response to the situation.

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