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New Russian Carribean military base

Sour comment by US Secretary of State rankles Moscow and Caracas, as two Tu-160 supersonic bombers land in Venezuela for military drills.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Moscow has apparently decided to set up a military base in the Caribbean Sea. This base would be on the island of La Orchila, roughly 120 miles northeast of Caracas. The recent arrival of two Tu-160 supersonic bombers is for this new base.

This move reportedly is a response to US President Donald Trump’s intent to abandon the Intermediate Range Nuclear Missile treaty signed with the Soviet Union decades ago. This news was reported by Tsarizm.com:

Russia has decided to develop a long-term military presence in the Caribbean in conjunction with the socialist nation of Venezuela, on one of its islands in the Caribbean Sea. The move seems to be a response to the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The recent flights of Russian Tu-160 long-range nuclear bombers are part of this effort.

“According to military envoys, Russian authorities have made a decision (and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro did not object) to deploy strategic aircraft to one of Venezuela’s islands in the Caribbean Sea, which has a naval base and a military airfield. Ten years ago, Russian experts and Armed Forces commanders had already visited the island of La Orchila, located 200 kilometers northeast of Caracas. Venezuelan laws prohibit the setup of military bases in the country, but a temporary deployment of warplanes is possible,” reported Russian state news agency TASS.

“It is the right idea to include Venezuela in long-range aviation missions,” military expert Colonel Shamil Gareyev told the Russian newspaper Novaya Gozeta, adding that it was also economically reasonable. “Our strategic bombers will not only not have to return to Russia every time, but also won’t perform aerial refueling while on a patrol mission in the Americas. Our Tu-160 aircraft arrive to their base in Venezuela, conduct flights, execute their missions and are then replaced on a rotating basis. This is how it should be done.”

The arrival of Russia’s Tu-160 strategic bombers to Central America is kind of a signal to Trump to make him realize that abandoning nuclear disarmament treaties will have a boomerang effect,” added another Russian military expert.

On December 10 and 11, TASS, the Russian News Agency, reported that two Russian Tu-160 supersonic strategic bombers and other heavy military aircraft were sent to the troubled nation of Venezuela for participation in that country’s joint military drills. However, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used Twitter to slam this action, in most undiplomatic language:

The were greeted by a rather enthusiastic RT reporter in this video:

However, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, used Twitter to slam both Russia and Venezuela for this action, using very undiplomatic language:

The United States regards the Western Hemisphere as its own “domain”, this due to the attitude espoused by the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, which opposed European colonialism in the Americas. However, Russia is arguably not attempting to make Venezuela a colony – or is it? However, the Tsarizm piece does indicate a Russian response to US intentions.

Before this most recent update, the situation was being treated as more of a diplomatic scandal. On Dec 11, Sputnik News and TASS both reported on the Russian and Venezuelan reactions to Secretary Pompeo’s statement:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments about the deployment of Russian aircraft to Venezuela were not in keeping with his role as the US’s top diplomat, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

“We understand, of course, that the Twitter format does not usually oblige anyone in the United States to anything; users are free to speak out as they please, and decide for themselves whether they wish to step outside the boundaries of elementary decency. However, in this case we are talking about a public figure, therefore such a clear disregard for the norms of diplomatic etiquette cannot just be considered as just a passing episode. What was said by the Secretary of State is unacceptable, not to mention completely unprofessional,” the ministry statement said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Pompeo’s claims “quite a serious accusation,” and said they were “absolutely inappropriate.”

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza called Pompeo’s reaction to the Tu-160 flight “outrageous” and hypocritical, hitting back at the secretary on Twitter.

“@SecPompeo’s reaction to military cooperation between Russia & Venezuela is not only disrespectful but also cynical: the US possesses at least 800 (known) military bases in 70 countries. Today, 75 out of 107 US security assistance programs operate in Latin America.  

“It’s outrageous that the US gov’t questions our sovereign right to defense and security cooperation with other countries when @realDonaldTrump has threatened us publicly with a military intervention. If you want to cooperate, lift your sanctions against Venezuela.

“If the US is so concerned about squandering money,it should review its enormous &unjustified military budget of over $674 billion for 2019.Certainly the 50 million poor people and families with no access to health care in the US can suggest a better purpose for those funds”

Sputnik also noted that relations between Washington and Caracas have been poor for almost twenty years, made arguably more bitter by a recent attempt by US-allied political forces to overthrow President Hugo Chavez in 2002. It is certainly the case that Venezuela serves at least as the propaganda straw man for the United States’ viewpoint on domestic security and foreign policy overall in the Western Hemisphere.

Venezuela’s close relations with the Russian Federation, give the two countries a rather unique status as the part of “whipping posts” of the East and West for American foreign policy wonks. Given this set of attitudes, Mike Pompeo’s comments can easily be seen in context, but they are tiring for the Russians, who repeatedly maintain that they do not have hostile intentions towards the West.

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov offered more comments as covered by TASS:

“It certainly is rather undiplomatic,” he said, commenting on Pompeo’s statements. “We consider this statement to be totally inappropriate,” Peskov added.

He pointed out that US President Donald Trump also could evaluate those statements.

“Perhaps, an evaluation of Mr. Pompeo’s undiplomatic statements will follow in the future,” the Kremlin spokesman said.

He noted that Moscow did not agree with Pompeo who had said that the mission was a misuse of public funds. “Moreover, it is not appropriate for a country half of whose defense expenditure would be enough to feed all of Africa’s people to make such statements,” Peskov said. According to him, Russia continues to search for ways to build constructive relations with the United States and expects Washington to respond in kind.

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Shaun RameweOlivia Kroth Recent comment authors
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Olivia Kroth
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Pompeo is not only a pompous ass but also an elephant in a porcelain shop. To call him a “top diplomat” is probably meant ironic.

Pompous Pompeo should mind his own business and go on a slimming diet. Too fat, too loud-mouthed.

Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

I hope Russia sets up loads of bases throughout the region and puts long and intermediate range nuclear missiles in all of them. NATerrorO will start to realize how it feels.

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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