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Branson and Bernie get on board with Venezuela regime change

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 183.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s comments on Fox News Sunday, that the Maduro regime’s days are “numbered” and that “every option” is on the table toward making that happen.

Meanwhile globalist billionaire Richard Branson, and 2020 US Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, jumped into the Venezuela debate with Sanders tweeting his support for the neocon “humanitarian aid” looking to destabilize the country, and Branson going even further by sponsoring a “Live Aid” for Venezuela regime change concert, which ended up drawing a paltry crowd of supporters across the border in Colombia.

Zerohedge reports that Pompeo said the US is “going to do the things that need to be done” and this will not stop until “makes sure” that “there is a brighter future for the people of Venezuela,” which includes continued support for self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido. Denouncing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as a “sick tyrant,” Pompeo said in his Sunday morning remarks, “We’re very hopeful in the days and weeks and months ahead the Maduro regime will understand that the Venezuelan people have made its days numbered.”

The threat comes just Guaido announced he would attend a summit of the Lima Group – a meeting of 12 American states which have recognized him as “legitimate” leader of Venezuela.

Crucially, Guaido is to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence at the summit where he will “propose formally to the international community that we should keep open all options for the liberation of our homeland, which is fighting and will continue to fight,” according to a tweeted statement Saturday evening.

Guaido has since Friday evening been addressing the opposition from neighboring Colombia, where he personally attempted to lead failed attempt at seeing an aid caravan across the border into Venezuela.

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Zerohedge reports that US VP Mike Pence is set to announce “concrete steps” for the Venezuela crisis after a sit-down meeting with Juan Guaido took place on Monday…

After the tumultuous events along the border between Venezuela and Colombia this weekend, resulting in humanitarian aid trucks being set on fire as they attempted to cross the Tachira River separating the two countries (with Juan Guaido supporters blaming pro-Maduro forces and vice versa), it appears Washington is prepared to set greater action in motion.

Reuters reports on Sunday that US Vice President Mike Pence will announce “concrete steps” and “clear actions”regarding the Venezuela crisis during a meeting of Latin American heads of state in Bogota, Colombia on Monday, according to a senior administration official.

Self-declared and US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido announced Saturday evening he would attend the Lima group summit  a meeting of 12 American states which have recognized him as “legitimate” leader of Venezuela — despite the Maduro government placing a travel ban on him. Guaido is to meet with Pence at the summit where the opposition head will “propose formally to the international community that we should keep open all options for the liberation of our homeland, which is fighting and will continue to fight,” according to a tweeted statement Saturday evening.

Despite the travel ban, the AP previously reported that Guaido may have crossed the border on a Colombian air force helicopter Friday evening in order to attend the Live Aid-inspired show in Cucuta, Colombia, sponsored by British billionaire Richard Branson:

It’s not clear how Guaido sneaked into Colombia — in one video circulating on social media he appears running across a bridge near the Colombian town of Puerto Santander, while in another he could be seen boarding a helicopter belonging to the Colombian air force.

Guaido has since Friday evening been addressing the opposition from neighboring Colombia, where he personally attempted to lead failed attempt at seeing an aid caravan across the border into Venezuela. He’s also repeated calls for Venezuela’s armed forces to defect, promising amnesty for any officer accused of corruption.

Pence’s speech to the Lima organization is set for around 10:30 a.m. ET (1530 GMT) following his planned meeting with Guaido, according to Reuters. The Reuters source declined to give further details on the content of the speech, but we can expect there to be plenty of echoes of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s hawkish rhetoric first issued on Fox Business Sunday, as well as the introduction of new sanctions.

Discussing the prospect of military action against Caracas, Pompeo said on Sunday morning that the Maduro regime’s days are “numbered” and that “every option” is on the table toward making that happen.

Reuters related only the following details regarding Pence’s upcoming speech at the Lima summit:

“What happened yesterday is not going to deter us from getting humanitarian aid into Venezuela,” the official said on Sunday, speaking with reporters on condition of anonymity.

“The vice president will announce concrete steps,” the official said. “You should expect him to announce clear actions tomorrow as he speaks to the Lima Group.”

On Friday, another senior U.S. official told reporters that Pence would be prepared to announce new sanctions at the Bogota meeting if the aid was met with violence.

US administration officials have condemned the weekend violence that erupted amidst opposition-led efforts to bring in aid trucks from Brazil and Colombia, which US leaders blamed on “Maduro’s thugs” who are led by the “sick tyrant” Maduro for refusing to allow much-needed food and medicine to reach his own people; however, Caracas has reportedly allowed in hundreds of tons of Russian and other international aid of late.

The Maduro government sees American “humanitarian aid” missions, which increasingly involve military transport planes landing in US ally Colombia airstrips, as part of broader efforts to foment coup. Indeed Pompeo’s words on Sunday declaring that Maduro’s “days are numbered” is an affirmation that Maduro’s fears are not unfounded.

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Marcus
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Marcus

My opinion is this is going to play out according to the quote……… “History repeats itself, first as a tragedy then as a farce”. Iraq and Libya were the tragedies and Venezuela will prove to be the farce.

Sandra Gray
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Sandra Gray

Really!? Bernie’s tweet hardly signifies that he supports regime change. Come on. You need to pick better news sources

Platon
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Platon

This character was based on that withered capitalist flower child, Branson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZTvMYQSl_w

Olivia Kroth
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PRESS TV IRAN REPORTS: EU rejects military intervention in Venezuela, calls for peaceful solution Mon Feb 25, 2019 03:26PM [Updated: Mon Feb 25, 2019 05:17PM] The European Union has rejected use of force and military intervention in Venezuela, calling for a peaceful resolution to the political crisis. “We must avoid a military intervention,” Maja Kocijancic, the spokeswoman for the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, told reporters in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday. “What is explicitly quite clear, from our point of view, is that we need a peaceful political and democratic and Venezuelan-owned resolution of this crisis,” she said, adding,… Read more »

Platon
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Platon

The EU is sane once a year.
Tomorrow will be back to normal.

Regula
Guest
Regula

Guaido is really finished. He promised his fancy aid and couldn’t deliver and then ran back to the US to get advice on what to do next. The ri h must have dropped him meanwhile.

Who wants a president who needs continuing advice on how to govern from an adverse foreign power?

Guaido is finished and the US knows it. The next chapter will be proxy war combined with inland death squads organized by Abrams – unless Maduro finds buyers for their oil so the government can continue to function and keep in control.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

President Maduro has got buyers for Venezuelan oil, for example India. India refuses to stop buying Venezuelan oil under US regime pressure.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

TASS reports: Russia ready to mediate Venezuela crisis — UN envoy World February 27, 2:09 UTC+3 Vasily Nebenzya also said that Russia has prepared a draft Security Council statement on Venezuela UN, February 27. /TASS/. Russia is ready to render all possible assistance in the search for a compromise between Venezuela’s conflicting political forces, Russia’s UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya told the UN Security Council on Tuesday. “On our part, we are ready to assist in the search for mutual understanding between all constructive and patriotically-minded forces in Venezuela,” he said. The Russian diplomat also warned against the military scenario, saying… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
Guest

RT en français reports:

The Brazilian Government refuses to let the US regime use Brazilian territory for a military invasion of Venezuela

https://francais.rt.com/international/59496-bresil-refuse-que-son-territoire-serve-eventuelle-intervention-americaine-venezuela

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The conclusion of Russiagate, Part II – news fatigue across America

The daily barrage of Russiagate news may have been a tool to wear down the American public as the Deep State plays the long game for control.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Presently there is a media blitz on across the American news media networks. As was the case with the Russiagate investigation while it was ongoing, the conclusions have merely given rise to a rather unpleasant afterbirth in some ways as all the parties involve pivot their narratives. The conclusion of Russiagate appears to be heavily covered, yet if statistics here at The Duran are any indication, there is a good possibility that the public is absolutely fatigued over this situation.

And, perhaps, folks, that is by design.

Joseph Goebbels had many insights about the use of the media to deliver and enforce propaganda. One of his quotes runs thus:

The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.

and another:

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

If there has ever been a narrative that employed these two principles, it is Russiagate.

A staggering amount of attention has been lavished on this nothing-burger issue. Axios reports that an analytics company named Newswhip tallied an astounding 533,074 web articles published about Russia and President Trump and the Mueller investigation (a number which is being driven higher even now, moment by moment, ad nauseam). Newsbusters presently reports that the networks gave 2,284 minutes to the coverage of this issue, a number which seems completely inaccurate because it is much too low (38 hours at present), and we are waiting for a correction on this estimate.

Put it another way: Are you sick of Russiagate? That is because it has dominated the news for over 675 days of nearly wall-to-wall news cycles. The political junkies on both sides are still pretty jazzed up about this story – the Pro-Trump folks rejoicing over the presently ‘cleared’ status, while of course preparing for the upcoming Democrat / Deep State pivot, and the Dems in various levels of stress as they try to figure out exactly how to pivot in such a manner that they do not lose face – or pace – in continuing their efforts to rid their lives of the “Irritant-in-Chief” who now looks like he is in the best position of his entire presidency.

But a lot of people do not care. They are tired.

I hate to say it (and yes, I am speaking personally and directly), but this may be a dangerous fatigue. Here is why:

The barrage of propaganda on this issue was never predicated on any facts. It still isn’t. However, as we noted a few days ago, courtesy of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, at present, 53% of US registered voters believe that the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

That means 53% of the voting public now believes something that is totally false.

Many of these people are probably simply exhausted from the constant coverage of this allegation as well. So when the news came out Sunday night that there was no evidence of collusion and no conclusive evidence, hence, of obstruction of justice by the Trump Administration – in other words, this whole thing was a nothing burger – will this snap those 53% back into reality?

Probably not. Many of them may well be so worn down that they no longer care. Or worse, they are so worn out that they will continue to believe the things they are told that sustain the lie, despite its being called out as such.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this peculiarity of human nature, in particular in the seventh book of his Chronicles of Narnia. After a prolonged and fierce assault on the sensibilities of the Narnians with the story that Aslan, the Christ figure of this world, was in fact an angry overlord, selling the Narnians themselves into slavery, and selling the whole country out to its enemy, with the final touch being that Aslan and the devilish deity of the enemy nation were in fact one and the same, the Narnians were unable to snap back to reality when it was shown conclusively and clearly that this was in fact not the case.

The fear that was instilled from the use of false narratives persisted and blocked the animals from reality.

Lewis summarized it this way through the thoughts of Tirian, the lead character in this tale:

Tirian had never dreamed that one of the results of an Ape’s setting up as a false Aslan would be to stop people from believing in the real one. He had felt quite sure that the Dwarfs would rally to his side the moment he showed them how they had been deceived. And then next night he would have led them to Stable Hill and shown Puzzle to all the creatures and everyone would have turned against the Ape and, perhaps after a scuffle with the Calormenes, the whole thing would have been over. But now, it seemed, he could count on nothing. How many other Narnians might turn the same way as the Dwarfs?

This is part of the toll this very long propaganda campaign is very likely to take on many Americans. It takes being strongly informed and educated on facts to withstand the withering force of a narrative that never goes away. Indeed, if anything, it takes even more effort now, because the temptation of the pro-Trump side will be to retreat to a set of political talking points that, interestingly enough, validate Robert Mueller’s “integrity” when only a week ago they were attacking this as a false notion.

This is very dangerous, and even though Mr. Trump and his supporters won this battle, if they do not come at this matter in a way that shows education, and not merely the restating of platitudes and talking points that “should be more comfortable, now that we’ve won!”

The cost of Russiagate may be far higher than anyone wants it to be. And yes, speaking personally, I understand the fatigue. I am tired of this issue too. But the temptation to go silent may have already taken a lot of people so far that they will not accept the reality that has just been revealed.

Politics is a very fickle subject. Truth is extremely malleable for many politicians, and that is saying it very nicely. But this issue was not just politics. It was slander with a purpose, and that purpose is unchanged now. In fact things may even be more dangerous for the President – even risking his very life – because if the powers that are working behind the people trying to get rid of President Trump come to realize that they have no political support, they will move to more extreme measures. In fact this may have already been attempted.

We at The Duran reported a few months ago on a very strange but very compelling story that suggested that there was an attempted assassination and coup that was supposed to have taken place on January 17th of this year. It did not happen, but there was a parallel story that noted that the President may have been targeted for assassination already no fewer than twelve times.  Hopefully this is just tinfoil-hat stuff. But we have seen that this effort to be rid of President Trump is fierce and it is extremely well-supported within its group. There is no reason to think that the pressure will lighten now that this battle has been lost.

The stakes are much too high, and even this long investigation may well have been part of the weaponry of the group we sometimes refer to as the “Deep State” in their effort to reacquire power, and in their effort to continue to pursue both a domestic and geopolitical agenda that has so far shown itself to be destructive to both individuals and nations all over the world.

Speculation? Yes. Needless? We hope so. This is a terrible possibility that hopefully no reasonable person wants to consider.

Honestly, folks, we do not know. But we had to put this out there for your consideration.

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Parliament Seizes Control Of Brexit From Theresa May

Zerohedge

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Schaeuble, Greece and the lessons learned from a failed GREXIT (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 117.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine a recent interview with the Financial Times given by Wolfgang Schäuble, where the former German Finance Minister, who was charged with finding a workable and sustainable solution to the Greek debt crisis, reveals that his plan for Greece to take a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone (in order to devalue its currency and save its economy) was met with fierce resistance from Brussels hard liners, and Angela Merkel herself.

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Via FT

“Look where we’re sitting!” says Wolfgang Schäuble, gesturing at the Berlin panorama stretching out beneath us. It is his crisp retort to those who say that Europe is a failure, condemned to a slow demise by its own internal contradictions. “Walk through the Reichstag, the graffiti left by the Red Army soldiers, the images of a destroyed Berlin. Until 1990 the Berlin Wall ran just below where we are now!”

We are in Käfer, a restaurant on the rooftop of the Reichstag. The views are indeed stupendous: Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower on Alexanderplatz loom through the mist. Both were once in communist East Berlin, cut off from where we are now by the wall. Now they’re landmarks of a single, undivided city. “Without European integration, without this incredible story, we wouldn’t have come close to this point,” he says. “That’s the crazy thing.”

As Angela Merkel’s finance minister from 2009 to 2017, Schäuble was at the heart of efforts to steer the eurozone through a period of unprecedented turbulence. But at home he is most associated with Germany’s postwar political journey, having not only negotiated the 1990 treaty unifying East and West Germany but also campaigned successfully for the capital to move from Bonn.

For a man who has done so much to put Berlin — and the Reichstag — back on the world-historical map, it is hard to imagine a more fitting lunch venue. With its open-plan kitchen and grey formica tables edged in chrome, Käfer has a cool, functional aesthetic that is typical of the city. On the wall hangs a sketch by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who famously wrapped the Reichstag in silver fabric in 1995.

The restaurant has one other big advantage: it is easy to reach from Schäuble’s office. Now 76, he has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1990, and mobility is an issue. Aides say he tends to avoid restaurants if he can, especially at lunchtime.

As we take our places, we talk about Schäuble’s old dream — that German reunification would be a harbinger of European unity, a step on the road to a United States of Europe. That seems hopelessly out of reach in these days of Brexit, the gilets jaunes in France, Lega and the Five Star Movement in Italy.

Some blame Schäuble himself for that. He was, after all, the architect of austerity, a fiscal hawk whose policy prescriptions during the euro crisis caused untold hardship for millions of ordinary people, or so his critics say. He became a hate figure, especially in Greece. Posters in Athens in 2015 depicted him with a Hitler moustache below the words: “Wanted — for mass poverty and devastation”.

Schäuble rejects the criticism that austerity caused the rise of populism. “Higher spending doesn’t lead to greater contentment,” he says. The root cause lies in mass immigration, and the insecurities it has unleashed. “What European country doesn’t have this problem?” he asks. “Even Sweden. The poster child of openness and the willingness to help.”

But what of the accusation that he didn’t care enough about the suffering of the southern Europeans? Austerity divided the EU and spawned a real animus against Schäuble. I ask him how that makes him feel now. “Well I’m sad, because I played a part in all of that,” he says, wistfully. “And I think about how we could have done it differently.”

I glance at the menu — simple German classics with a contemporary twist. I’m drawn to the starters, such as Oldenburg duck pâté and the Müritz smoked trout. But true to his somewhat abstemious reputation, Schäuble has no interest in these and zeroes in on the entrées. He chooses Käfer’s signature veal meatballs, a Berlin classic. I go for the Arctic char and pumpkin.

Schäuble switches seamlessly back to the eurozone crisis. The original mistake was in trying to create a common currency without a “common economic, employment and social policy” for all eurozone member states. The fathers of the euro had decided that if they waited for political union to happen first they’d wait forever, he says.

Yet the prospects for greater political union are now worse than they have been in years. “The construction of the EU has proven to be questionable,” he says. “We should have taken the bigger steps towards integration earlier on, and now, because we can’t convince the member states to take them, they are unachievable.”

Greece was a particularly thorny problem. It should never have been admitted to the euro club in the first place, Schäuble says. But when its debt crisis first blew up, it should have taken a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone — an idea he first floated with Giorgos Papakonstantinou, his Greek counterpart between 2009 and 2011. “I told him you need to be able to devalue your currency, you’re not competitive,” he says. The reforms required to repair the Greek economy were going to be “hard to achieve in a democracy”. “That’s why you need to leave the euro for a certain period. But everyone said there was no chance of that.”

The idea didn’t go away, though. Schäuble pushed for a temporary “Grexit” in 2015, during another round of the debt crisis. But Merkel and the other EU heads of government nixed the idea. He now reveals he thought about resigning over the issue. “On the morning the decision was made, [Merkel] said to me: ‘You’ll carry on?’ . . . But that was one of the instances where we were very close [to my stepping down].”

It is an extraordinary revelation, one that highlights just how rocky his relationship with Merkel has been over the years. Schäuble has been at her side from the start, an éminence grise who has helped to resolve many of the periodic crises of her 13 years as chancellor. But it was never plain sailing.

“There were a few really bad conflicts where she knew too that we were on the edge and I would have gone,” he says. “I always had to weigh up whether to go along with things, even though I knew it was the wrong thing to do, as was the case with Greece, or whether I should go.” But his sense of duty prevailed. “We didn’t always agree — but I was always loyal.”

That might have been the case when he was a serving minister, but since becoming speaker of parliament in late 2017 he has increasingly distanced himself from Merkel. Last year, when she announced she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party that has governed Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, Schäuble openly backed a candidate described by the Berlin press as the “anti-Merkel”. Friedrich Merz, a millionaire corporate lawyer who is the chairman of BlackRock Germany, had once led the CDU’s parliamentary group but lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002, quitting politics a few years later. He has long been seen as one of the chancellor’s fiercest conservative critics — and is a good friend of Schäuble’s.

Ultimately, in a nail-biting election last December, Merkel’s favoured candidate, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, narrowly beat Merz. The woman universally known as “AKK” is in pole position to succeed Merkel as chancellor when her fourth and final term ends in 2021.

I ask Schäuble if it’s true that he had once again waged a battle against Merkel and once again lost. “I never went to war against Ms Merkel,” he says. “Everybody says that if I’m for Merz then I’m against Merkel. Why is that so? That’s nonsense.”

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