Selective Assassinations of Chavistas by paramilitaries, renegade police and criminal gangs continue
The assassination of followers of the late President Chavez continues to increase at a steady pace. From 2013 – when President Maduro was democratically elected – to the present, many local political leaders, public servants, journalists, bodyguards of left wing politicians, military personnel and operatives of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) have been unfortunate enough to fall into the opposition’s murderous claws.
The ultra-right wing opposition that currently has control of the National Assembly continues with its aim of resurrecting the Fourth Republic in Venezuela. With opposition figures such as the governor of Miranda state, Capriles Radonski, telling his supporters “to take their anger to the streets” and Voluntad Popular’s Leopoldo Lopez whose plan called “The Exit” sparked violent street protests by paid thugs from February to June 2014 costing 43 lives, we can see that unconstitutional political means to gain power are at play here.
Added to these actions by the ultra right wing are assassinations of body guards of revolutionary leaders that are simulated as a robbery or violent street crime, then the right wing media plays its part by putting it all down to “insecurity” caused by an inept government.
The links established between fascist leaders in Venezuela such as Leopoldo Lopez and ex-Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma with ex-Colombian President and enemy of Bolivarianism, Alvaro Uribe, since 2009 have resulted in political, economic and media support for the paramilitary gangs that have been infiltrating Venezuela since about 2005. These gangs expanded into the country from the western Colombo-Venezuelan border and reached the center of the country, including Caracas, in a few short years.
Political and legal support was lent by right wing parties such as Voluntas Popular and Alianza Bravo Pueblo. Economic support came from drug trafficking, contraband and a small sector of business; and finally support by electronic media that are financed from abroad such as La Patilla, NTN24 (both financed from Colombia) and Sumarium owned by the Vecchio-Lopez families. (Carlos Vecchio is now exiled in the US and Leopoldo Lopez is serving 14 years in jail). There were also other minor support groups from other political parties of the right such as UNT, Accion Democratica and Primero Justicia.
With the paramilitaries in place, there were various objectives: the political demobilization and demoralization of militant Chavistas in the popular areas (barrios); and take out of circulation valuable revolutionary cadres either by making them disappear or eliminating them physically. The right wing media would then step in and report on these events with the purpose of destroying the memory and reputation of the murdered comrades.
The aim of practicing this kind of politics is to create indignation, fear and anger in the population that lives in the shadow of such insecurity. For this reason each brutal homicide is dealt with immediately and sensationally by the opposition media. The idea is to have some sensational aspect of any given case covered on a daily basis to maintain the fear factor.
Let us not forget that since 2013 the whole population has been subject to the effects of a fourth generation war – a combination of selective assassinations as described above and an economic war making life increasingly difficult. Foods were hoarded, hidden or smuggled to Colombia creating shortages of basic goods and the resulting huge lines as people stood to buy food.
This, the fear factor plus frustration at not being able to buy basic subsidized goods plus induced galloping inflation, was all blamed on an inept President and his ministerial team, day-in day-out, by the local and international media who all combined to encourage voters to either abstain or switch to supporting the opposition. The latter had promised to “make the lines vanish” if they won control of the National Assembly on December 6 last year. They did win but the lines got worse … and according to the media this is still the fault of the government even though 86% of food distribution is in the hands of the private sector.
Of course, the “make the lines vanish” electoral promise was conveniently never mentioned again by the private media.
To achieve the goal of sensationalizing homicides and sowing fear and discord in the population, the opposition media has a team of “info-mercenaries” who in many cases have contacts with corrupt ranks of the security forces and therefore have access to the gory details before any investigation has even started. Such “inside” or “advance” information is illegal under Venezuelan law. There are also journalists that act in concert with the armed gangs especially in the case of “hits” against security personnel, as there is a higher economic incentive if the details are published in the media.
After the recent intervention of the police headquarters in the opposition-run municipality of Chacao in Caracas, it was discovered that this police force had been behind several high profile killings such as that of retired General Felix Velasquez and revolutionary journalist Ricardo Duran.
Obviously the Mayor of Chacao who is the Commander-in-Chief of this police force did not know anything about the activities in his own police headquarters. The opposition is never involved in these murders even though the police forces they control are never above suspicion. At present 4 policemen are awaiting trial for the assassination of General Velasquez and 14 more for the killing of Duran.
On repeated occasions President Maduro has stated that these assassinations “form part of a non-conventional war that is being waged against the country – and not just now but for many years. Criminal violence emerges when the right wing does not achieve its objectives”.
There follows a list of the revolutionaries and public servants murdered in contract killings due to the politics of violence of the ultra right wing:
In addition to these politically motivated and contract killings by paramilitaries, police and paid thugs in the streets, there are at least 15 professional bodyguards of high-level Chavistas who have been assassinated from 2013–2016.
All the cases mentioned have proven to be contract killings and have been resolved or are under investigation.
It is worth highlighting the fact that no international human rights organization or any NGO affiliated to the US or Spain – countries that are supposedly democratic and believe in the freedom of expression – have taken any interest or made declarations condemning the persecution and assassination of Chavistas. All they have done is attack the government of President Maduro insinuating that it is he who is violating human rights!
Thus, we have a twisted situation where cases of murdered Chavistas are glossed over and no mention of the violation of their human rights is ever made. And on the other hand, the darling of the international right wing, Leopoldo Lopez, is allegedly having his human rights violated because his iPod was removed from his jail cell.
This is the late Eduardo Galeano’s “Upside Down World!”
© Copyright 2016 by AxisofLogic.com
The ominous calls came as courts temporarily froze the referendum process to investigate thousands of fraudulent signatures submitted in the first phase.
Leader’s from Venezuela’s opposition appeared to call for a coup against President Nicolas Maduro, after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that the presidential recall referendum would be temporarily suspended due to fraud committed in the first phase of the process.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said Friday that President Maduro is “in disobedience of the constitution” and called on both the National Assembly and Armed Forces to “make a decision” and have people “respect the constitution.”
The former Venezuelan presidential candidate also said Maduro had vacated his position as president, prompting fears that a coup might be looming.
“Maduro did not only leave the country, he left his position,” Capriles said during Friday’s press conference.
“Maduro declared himself in disobedience, he does not respect the Constitution, and today he left the country, and will leave everything.”
Maduro left Venezuela for various OPEC and non-OPEC countries Thursday to help establish a stable price for oil, which has negatively affected the South American country’s economy.
Capriles, head of Justice First and one of the leaders of the opposition MUD coalition, also called on the nation’s armed forces to intervene.
“Hopefully the armed forces will have people respect the constitution,” he said.
The MUD leader also demanded the government repeal the decision to suspend the signature collection process for the recall referendum and called on opposition members to “take the streets of Venezuela.” Toward the end of his speech, Capriles denied he wanted a coup to oust Maduro and said he does not want to incite violence.
“We don’t want a coup in the country,” said Capriles, “A coup has (already) happened to the people and we have to restore constitutional order.“
Henry Ramos Allup, the president of the National Assembly, also spoke during the press conference and said the National Assembly he leads supports all the decisions and the message promoted by Capriles.
Ramos Allup also called on the Venezuelan Armed Forces “to analyze the abuses to the constitution” allegedly carried out by the government. He also said they were offering a constitutional way out for Maduro through the recall referendum in order to prevent “a violent way out” in the future.
The legislator said a delegation from the assembly will travel to the Organization of American States, or OAS, to demand the OAS apply the so-called Democratic Charter against his country, something the opposition has been requesting for months.
“Venezuelans have always been stronger than its leaders,” he said, before he cast doubt on Maduro’s nationality, suggesting he may actually be Colombian—a common allegation that has no basis.
The National Electoral Council, or CNE, said the decision to postpone the recall referendum process came after the MUD committed the criminal offense of presenting more than 600,000, about 30 percent, of signatures deemed irregular. Among the invalid signatures were almost 11,000 from deceased Venezuelans.
The Supreme Court also declared invalid all acts of the National Assembly after it swore in three legislators who had previously been suspended over irregularities when they were elected.
On Wednesday, the Guardian released an article titled “U.S. and U.K. reject Russian offer of ‘pause’ in airstrikes on Syria.” Aside from the fact it’s riddled with the outlet’s usual pro-U.S.-U.K. and anti-Russian propaganda, the article sank to the lowest of possible lows in an attempt to present the Russian military as an aggressor in Aleppo in which there are allegedly no terrorist groups — only moderate fighting forces.
How? By citing the leader of a terrorist group.
Al-Farouk Abu Bakr, an Aleppo commander in the “powerful Islamist group” Ahrar al-Sham said, speaking from Aleppo:
“‘When we took up arms at the start of the revolution to defend our abandoned people we promised God that we would not lay them down until the downfall of this criminal regime,’ he said, referring to President Bashar al-Assad’s government.”
“There are no terrorists in Aleppo.” [emphasis added]
There are many issues with the Guardian’s publication of this statement. First, in the Guardian’s latest apparent attempt to see how gullible its readers are, the outlet neglects to explain the ideological leanings of Ahrar al-Sham (which is not surprising when you analyze it). Ahrar al-Sham is heavily affiliated with Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official Syrian branch) and has conducted numerous operations together with the al-Qaeda affiliate. The group also used to work with ISIS until January 2014 and only parted ways after ISIS killed one of their members — not because the groups shared any noticeable differing ideologies.
The group has at least 20,000 members, and its stated goal is to establish a Sunni Islamic state within Syria (what would happen to all of the sects of Syrian society?). In 2013, Human Rights Watch reported they massacred 190 civilians and seized over 200 civilians simply because the villagers were from an Alawite-dominated part of Latakia.
If they are not a terrorist group, then what are they?
Further, one cannot ignore that these media outlets are so quick to interview or quote fanatical jihadists yet won’t even lend the same respect to Russian, Iranian, or Syrian military officials. The aforementioned are, after all, fighting against the same fanatical jihadists the Western powers have claimed to be fighting for decades.
The most intellectually damaging aspect of this report is that the same article prefaces the above terrorist leader’s statement with the following paragraph, effectively canceling out its own narrative:
“The Russians appear to be trying to work round both Britain and France by attempting to win the support of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar for a ceasefire that will put pressure on al-Nusra front fighters to leave Aleppo. Estimates of the number of al-Nusra fighters in the city vary between 400 and 900. In Moscow, Shoigu explained Russia is ‘asking the countries wielding influence with the [Syrian] rebels … to persuade their leaders to end fighting and leave the city.’
“Russia has improved its relations with Turkey, and neither Turkey or Saudi Arabia say they want al-Nusra to remain in Aleppo. America has also condemned the al-Nusra presence, saying despite a name change the group remains ideologically affiliated to al-Qaida.” [emphasis added]
So, there are no terrorist groups in Aleppo? But even the Americans have condemned their ‘non-existence?’ Why condemn something that isn’t there?
The Guardian has been the recipient of the British National Newspaper of the Year four times (including as recently as 2013), the Bevins Prize for investigative journalism, and the Best Newspaper category three years running between 2005-2007, among others.
But Bob Dylan just won the Nobel Prize for literature following a career of writing no literature, so maybe this really is great journalism and we are the morons for not being able to understand it.
It has become crystal clear.
For the record, here it is.
She has big ambitions, which she does not spell out for fear of frightening part of the electorate, but which are perfectly understood by her closest aides and biggest donors.
She wants to achieve regime change in Russia.
She enjoys the support of most of the State Department and much of the Pentagon, and Congress is ready to go.
The method: a repeat of the 1979 Brezinski ploy, which consisted of luring Moscow into Afghanistan, in order to get the Russians bogged down in their “Vietnam”. As the Russians are a much more peace-loving people, largely because of what they suffered in two World Wars, the Russian involvement in Afghanistan was very unpopular and can be seen as a cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
This led to the temporary reign of the drunken Boris Yeltsin who – as recounted in Strobe Talbott’s memoirs – was putty in the hands of Bill Clinton. Hillary would like to renew that sort of relationship. Putin is an obstacle.
The new version of this old strategy is to use Russia’s totally legal and justifiable efforts to save Syria from destruction in order to cause enough Russian casualties to incite anti-Putin reaction in Russia leading to his overthrow. (Note State Department spokesman John Kirby’s recent warning that Russia will soon be “sending troops home in body bags”.)
That is the prime reason why the United States is doing everything to keep the Syrian war dragging on and on. The joint Syrian-Russian offensive to recapture the rebel-held Eastern sections of Aleppo might lead to an early end of the war. U.S. reaction: a huge propaganda campaign condemning this normal military operation as “criminal”, while driving ISIS forces out of Mosul with attacks from the East, so that they will move westward into Syria, to fight against the Assad government.
Ukraine is another theater for weakening Putin.
Hillary Clinton’s ambition – made explicit by her own and her close aides’ statements about Libya in emails at the time – is to gain her place in history as victorious strategist of “regime change”, using open and covert methods (“smart power”), thus bringing recalcitrant regions under control of the “exceptional, good” nation, the United States.
This ambition is backed by possession of nuclear weapons.
I am by no means saying that this plan will succeed. But it is very clearly the plan.
The electoral circus is a distraction from such crucially serious matters.
Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Russophobic rants by some European Union leaders and their willful distortion of events in Syria is a reflection of why the 28-member bloc is careering toward disaster. We are witnessing a crisis of appallingly inept leadership.
German, British and French leaders were among the most hawkish voices at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels this week, denouncing what they claimed were Russian “war crimes” in Syria and calling for additional economic sanctions on both Moscow and Damascus.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Russian-backed Syrian air strikes were “inhumane and cruel,” while Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May took the “most shrill prize” with her condemnation of Moscow’s “sickening atrocities.”
French President Francois Hollande echoed their calls for the EU to slap more sanctions on Russia – in addition to those the bloc has implemented over the Ukraine conflict.
This came only days after Belgian F-16 fighter jets reportedly killed six civilians in the Aleppo countryside, adding to a catalog of illegal aggression committed in Syria by French, British and American warplanes bombing the country without any legal mandate.
In the end, good sense among certain member states prevailed, and the EU summit concluded without imposing additional punitive measures. As the Financial Times reported: “Italy’s Renzi forces a retreat from new sanctions on Russia… Germany, France and UK rein in demand for fresh EU sanctions over Aleppo bombardment.”
Italy, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Malta and Cyprus were some of the EU members wary of escalating economic and political problems already incurred from loss of trade with Russia over the Ukraine debacle.
Britain’s premier May gave a particularly asinine speech in Brussels. She called for a “robust and united European stance in the face of Russian aggression.” This from the leader of a government currently embroiled in bitter rows over its divorce from the EU.
So, the British leader wants to bequeath even more tension and economic hardship between the people of Europe and Russia, just before she packs up Britain’s membership.
In the Russophobic rousing, European Council President Donald Tusk also excelled. Despite the EU summit rejecting the adoption of more sanctions against Russia over Syria, Tusk was later threatening that such measures remained an option. Tusk had regaled the summit with a list of alleged Russian “misdemeanors” including “air-space violations, disinformation campaigns, cyber-attacks, interference in the EU’s political processes and beyond. Hybrid tools in the Balkans, to developments in the MH17 investigation.”
Then he declared: “Given these examples, it is clear that Russia’s strategy is to weaken the EU.”
Please note that Tusk is supposed to be a leading light for the EU as it negotiates a raft of existential problems, from intractable international trade deals, migration and border disputes, anti-EU political parties, and ongoing economic stagnation for 500 million citizens.
But if Tusk and other EU leaders like Merkel and Hollande can come out with such inane views on Russia, what chance has the bloc got in dealing effectively with other challenging issues? No wonder, EU citizens are losing respect and faith in political leaders when they are seen to be so utterly incompetent and detached from reality.
Yet to make matters even worse, Tusk and his Russophobic ilk turn around and blame the imploding EU crisis on alleged Russian plots to “weaken and divide.”
Just ahead of the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, Merkel and Hollande met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Berlin for a conference on the Ukraine crisis. The Kiev regime’s President Petro Poroshenko was also in attendance.
The Berlin meeting did not result in any progress toward resolving the Ukraine dispute. While the German and French leaders wanted to penalize Russia over alleged violations in Syria, they seemed oblivious to hundreds of attacks by Kiev’s armed forces on civilian centers in breakaway eastern Ukraine. The assassination of a military commander in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic last week by suspected Kiev agents has heightened fears of a return to all-out war.
Where are Merkel and Hollande’s condemnations and calls for sanctions on the Kiev authorities whom they patronize with billions of dollars in financial aid and NATO military support?
Also, Merkel, Hollande and Britain’s May have little to say about recorded “cruel, inhumane, sickening” massacres in Yemen committed by the Saudi coalition bombing that country. Their silence no doubt is owing to the fact that their governments sell billions of dollars worth of weapons to the Saudi regime even as it slaughters women and children in Yemen.
And, indeed, let’s talk about Syria and the besieged northern city of Aleppo.
The crimes that European leaders allege against Russia and its Syrian ally are based on unverified claims issued by dubious networks evidently under the control of the anti-government militants. The militants besieging east Aleppo are dominated by head-chopping terrorist groups like the internationally proscribed Jabhat Al-Nusra.
When Russia unilaterally implemented a temporary ceasefire this week in Aleppo, an innovative live-streaming broadcast from the appointed humanitarian corridors proved once again the real nature of the violence.
Civilians trapped in the militant-held areas were shown to be held as “human shields” by the insurgents. While buses and other vehicles were waiting to ferry civilians out of the conflict zone, video footage recorded militants shelling and sniping at the humanitarian aid effort.
Those violations corroborated what citizens in east Aleppo have been saying for a long time – that they are being held against their will by the gunmen. Besieged people are even calling on the Syrian and Russian forces to continue in their operations to break the hostage situation and liberate that part of the city.
All across Syria, hundreds of villages and towns have been liberated by the Syrian army and its Russian allies since Putin ordered his air force to intervene in the stricken country at the end of last year.
One of the recent successes was the town of Qudsaya near the capital Damascus. Last week, thousands of residents rallied in the main square cheering President Bashar Assad, the Syrian army and Russia for their “liberation” after the foreign-backed mercenaries were routed from the town.
The foreign backers of the mercenary army that has plunged Syria into horror since March 2011 – with perhaps half a million dead – include the supposedly leading EU members Britain and France. Hollande is on record for admitting that France supplied weapons to insurgents in Syria as far back as 2012, when the siege of Aleppo began, and in breach of a European arms embargo.
What is going on in Syria is a military victory over a foreign-sponsored terrorist war on that country. Russia’s role in the liberation of Syria is principled and commendable.
Those who should be facing prosecution for war crimes include pious, pompous government leaders, past and present, in London and Paris.
If such prominent EU governments can be so wrong and distorting about something so glaringly obvious as Syria and Russia’s support, then no wonder the EU is in free-fall over so many other pressing matters. With criminally incompetent politicians in power, the EU is a bus with its driver slumped at the wheel.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made good on a promise he made in August to steer relations with China toward mutual benefit and bilateral cooperation.
During his visit to Beijing on Thursday Duterte said that he was still committed to discussing the South China Sea territorial dispute in a bilateral fashion with his Chinese counterparts.
Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed the Philippine initiative and warmly shook hands with Duterte saying that both countries had emerged from a relationship of “winds and rains”.
As the first country to visit outside ASEAN since he took office in June the Philippine president is committed to continuously engaging China in a diplomatic dialogue rather than anger officials there.
Relations between the two countries recently took a downturn after the International Court of arbitration in The Hague ruled that China’s historic claims to most of the South China Sea were invalid.
China called the ruling a farce and at the time Xi said he would not accept any proposition or action based on the ruling issued unilaterally, and initiated by the former Philippine government.
Xi described the new turn in their ties as the springtime of our relationship.
In addition to discussing the South China Sea issue the two countries signed 13 agreements and deals worth more than $13 billion.
China also pledged financial support for infrastructure projects in the Philippines and said it would lift travel advisories for Chinese tourists visiting the islands.
Chinese media hailed the visit as a turning point and a welcome U-turn in the two countries’ ties.