All posts by Eric Zuesse

Reality-Denial Among America’s Democratic Party Faithful

I used to be a Democrat, until the majority of Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted in 2002 for George W. Bush’s 2003 catastrophic invasion of Iraq, even though everything that Bush and his Administration were alleging the invasion to be based on were mere lies, by him and his Administration. A Senator or Representative is supposed to represent the interests of the American public, not of the billionaires who control Lockheed Martin and ExxonMobil and Halliburton, etc., but those Democrats (and virtually all Republicans also) represented those billionaires, and certainly NOT the American public. Among the 29 Democratic Senators who, on that fateful day of 11 October 2002, voted to authorize Bush to invade Iraq, were the Party’s 2004 Presidential nominee John Kerry, and its 2016 Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and its likely 2020 nominee Joe Biden. (Barack Obama wasn’t yet a member of Congress in 2002.) In other words: the Senators who did, included the ones whom Democrats chose (and still are expected to choose) as their Presidential nominees.

There is no apology for such treachery as those Senators (and 68% of the House, too) perpetrated by authorizing that criminal invasion, other than to say “I made a mistake,” but if I could see, even at that time, that it was all mere lies, then were they, our most successful Senators (and Representatives), really such nitwits that they could not — they, who are surrounded by lobbyists and not actually by the people they are supposed to represent? They joined in with George W. Bush’s lies, because they chose to be surrounded by such lobbyists, even though all of Bush’s efforts to get the U.N. to endorse an invasion of Iraq turned out to be fruitless. And, then, on 17 March 2003, he, our American President, suddenly warned the U.N. weapons-inspectors to leave Iraq immediately so Bush could invade that country, which had never invaded, nor even threatened to invade, the United States. This was a clear case of international aggression, just like what Justice Robert Jackson, who headed the U.S. prosecution team at the Nuremberg Tribunal after WW II, charged Hitler’s top henchmen for having done, and for which those men became executed.

Why not Bush, now, for Iraq; why not Obama, now, for Libya; why not Obama, now, for Syria; why not Trump, now, for Syria; why not Trump, also, for Venezuela, if he also invades there? Fascists, all of them, but in today’s America, the public are unconcerned about that, and respond only as political partisans, supporting Democratic Party billionaires’ candidates against Republican Party billionaires’ candidates, or vice-versa, and not even giving a damn about the millions of senselessly slaughtered in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere, for which America’s top responsible officials should therefore be internationally prosecuted, and perhaps hung (like at Nuremberg). So, the only reason, now, to have any loyalty to either of America’s Parties is a mixture of stupidity and psychopathy. And that describes today’s Democrats, just as much as it does today’s Republicans.

The leading political news-site for Democratic-Party operatives and loyal followers is politicalwire.com, and their reader-comments display starkly the mentality that — on this Party’s side — guides the Party’s electorate. Those reader-comments display a Party that’s a dream for the Democratic Party’s billionaires, because the mentality they display is slavish — not physically slavish, but mentally slavish, the slavery of people who hug their prejudices, and who hate anyone (even fellow-Democrats) that challenges their prejudices (tries to help free them from their mental slavery). So: Democratic Party voters’ prejudices have become locked-in, and those people refuse to allow any way out of their existing prejudices. These operatives and voters insist upon retaining their prejudices, exactly as they are. For the Democratic Party’s billionaires’ lobbyists, and media, and think tanks, to have their way with those people, is so easy — it’s like dealing with a slave who says, “Whip me again, Mas’r.” It’s a pathetic political form of self-flagellation, which views the master as being rightfully superior to one’s self — to one’s own mental faculties — handing the whip to that ‘superior’ or master. Is this what American politics has now come down to? It’s what has caused the Democratic Party to be as neoconservative — American imperialist — as is the Republican Party.

On August 8th, Political Wire headlined “Russian Interference Likely Did Not Affect 2016 Result,” and summarized, and linked to, an extremely careful and well-planned and executed, thoroughly scientific, study, which concluded that, “I find no evidence that Russian attempts to target voters in key swing states had any effect on the election results in those states. Instead, the results were almost totally predictable based on the political and demographic characteristics of those states, especially their past voting tendencies, ideological leanings, and demographics.” He found absolutely “no evidence” that it “had any effect” upon the electoral outcome.  Anyone who would have clicked through there to the actual study itself would have seen that it was definitive on its subject, and that there is no reasonable basis for accepting Hillary Clinton’s distorting insinuations that she had lost the election because of Russian interference. This study’s author accepted unquestioningly the Mueller Report in its allegation (on its page 19) that Russia’s Government “sought to influence [American] public opinion through online media and forums … as early as 2014.”

However, even the Mueller Report doesn’t anywhere allege that Russia “tried to” or “attempted to” cause America’s voters to prefer one candidate over another candidate in the election. Even an allegation like that  would have been devoid of even that Report’s own shabby evidentiary standard to become cited. In other words: even the Mueller Report doesn’t play so fast-and-loose with truth for it to allege anything that is at all contradictory to anything in this scientific analysis and conclusion about the matter: that Hillary Clinton’s defeat cannot rationally be even hypothetically blamed on ‘Russian interference’. If there was such interference, no one has yet nailed it. Insinuations have replaced it. Anyone who believes such an allegation is a willing mental slave. How common are such slaves, actually?

A good indication of how common they are is the Disqus thread (the reader-comments) to that Political Wire summary of the scientific study’s findings.

As was earlier noted, readers at that site are Democratic Party operatives, and extremely loyal Democratic Party voters. Overwhelmingly, those readers are sloughing off that scientific study and analysis of the data. Some do so by attacking its author, as being just “one person with one opinion,” and referring (mainly) to the extremely partisan Democratic Party propaganda-organ the New Yorker, and its rabidly partisan Jane Mayer’s 24 July 2018 “How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump,” which summarizes Kathleen Hall Jamieson’s book, Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President — What We Don’t, Can’t, and Do Know, which book was effectively and accurately destroyed in a two-star review of it at Amazon, by a “B. Wilson,” titled, appropriately, “Little if any real proof is established that the Russians swung the election. A top 10 list.” Looking at the Jamieson book itself, one sees no consideration whatsoever of the data and issues which were dealt with — quantitatively, and on the basis of high quality empirical facts — in the scientific study. Instead, Jamieson’s work is a non-quantitative ‘analysis’ that’s actually loaded with, and built upon, hedged assertions, such as “We can surmise the probable although not certain impact Russian shenanigans had on the balance of messages between the two major party campaigns” — and no data, and no counts, but pure hypothesization, without clear derivation from specific instances of anything. Her book is even less trustworthy than the Mueller Report that it cites so frequently. In short: it’s trash. But that’s good enough to override science, in the minds of believing partisans — mental slaves: people who ignore proven truth, in order to sustain their existing prejudices.

Jane Mayer said of Jamieson’s book, “In two hundred and twenty-four pages of extremely dry prose, with four appendixes of charts and graphs and fifty-four pages of footnotes, Jamieson makes a strong case that, in 2016, ‘Russian masterminds’ pulled off a technological and political coup. Moreover, she concludes, the American media ‘inadvertently helped them achieve their goals.’” Anyone who thinks that American media were predominantly slanted for Trump instead of for Hillary is beyond all reason and evidence — but there they are at Political Wire, as readers, commenting upon a squib, which summarizes this scientific study (the first and only one on the subject).

Of course, such closed-mindedness is good for sustaining any political party, but it can destroy any democracy.

NOTE: Incidentally, while I consider that scientific study to be definitive on its topic, I strongly disagree with its author’s analysis, in his 2018 book, The Great Alignment: Race, Party Transformation, and the Rise of Donald Trump, to the effect that “elites and activists” haven’t shaped “the American social and cultural landscape” of our time. As a historian (which he certainly is not — he’s a political scientist), I believe that, specifically (and ever since at least the time of FDR’s death in 1945) the wealthiest Americans (and not merely ambiguous “elites and activists”) did shape it, to become, as it now is: fascist. That’s why both Parties now are fascist — one liberal fascist, and the other conservative fascist. Liberalism is not progressivism. And fascism (extreme conservatism) is the opposite of progressivism. By contrast, liberalism mixes together those two opposites.  (Fascism is the modern form of feudalism, and derives from that. Progressivism is the anti-fascism.) Furthermore, by now, there exists massive empirical evidence that the U.S. Government, at least ever since 1981, is no democracy, at all, but is instead ruled only by its very wealthiest and well-connected citizens, so that, as the first of these studies phrased this matter: “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” (A superb 6-minute video summary of that landmark study is here.) Consequently, that book is bad even within its own field of political science. The book’s author, furthermore, displays there a strong prejudice favoring the Democratic Party. Fortunately, however, his scientific analysis of the 2016 election was unafflicted by that, or any other, prejudice. It was straight science. Furthermore, any ad-hominem attack (such as is common in the Political Wire reader-comments) is entirely unscientific regarding any study, including that author’s. Virtually all of the reader-comments at that Political Wire article reflect mental slaves. Instead of their being grateful to the study’s author for freeing them from lies which afflict them, they insult that messenger of science.

Furthermore: on 14 June 2016 (just 17 days after Trump won the Republican nomination) Dylan Matthews at Vox had headlined “One of the best election models predicts a Trump victory. Its creator doesn’t believe it.” Matthews opened: “One of the most respected and accurate forecasting models in political sciences says that Donald Trump will win the 2016 presidential election, and by a fairly comfortable margin at that. There’s just one problem: Its creator doesn’t believe his own forecast.” That author, Professor Alan I. Abramowitz’s, formula for predicting U.S. electoral outcomes will probably now become standard. (Trump had actually won by slightly less than Abromowitz’s model predicted, and this is what Abromowitz’s 8 August 2019 article was now documenting. He points out there that especially in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — the three states which decided the election’s outcome — Trump’s victory-margin was, in fact, lower than Abromowitz’s model had predicted it would be. So, when that Political Wire commenter attacked this author, as being just “one person with one opinion,” he was attacking the one person who had actually predicted accurately not just the 2016 Presidential election’s outcome, but the reasons why Trump was heading for victory. He was attacking the only person who had publicly figured these things out, in advance of the outcome.)

To be a mental slave is to be a believer in lies. This type of slavery was first documented anecdotally in Charles Mackay’s 1841, 500+page, classic, Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds. How is democracy possible with so many willing mental slaves voting — regardless of what the particular Party is? Is democracy impossible? Is the political situation actually hopeless? Shouldn’t overcoming prejudice — anti-scientific thinking (a tendency to believe only what one wants to believe) — be actually the chief purpose of all publicly financed education?

  • Originally posted at strategic-culture.org
  • The Difference between Being a Liberal and Being a Progressive

    The difference between liberalism and progressivism is ideological.

    Historically, liberalism started with John Locke, whose philosophy was superbly summarized, explained, and referenced to its sources, here; but the following will instead quote directly from those sources:

    Locke (as the commentator said) “praises money as probably no one prior and after him,” because Locke’s 1689 Second Treatise on Government, Sections 49 & 50, asserted that only by means of money, “Man will begin presently to enlarge his Possessions” and thereby start to get beyond the crudest agriculturally based economy. Locke then said in Sec. 124 that “The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property.” In other words: money enables wealth to grow, and government exists in order to protect wealth, not to serve nor protect people. Lord Acton, writing in 1877, criticized Locke’s philosophy because Locke’s “notion of liberty involves nothing more spiritual than the security of property, and is consistent with slavery and persecution.” That was the case about Locke because Locke’s philosophy wouldn’t have won any aristocratic sponsors at all, and would therefore simply have failed utterly and become lost to history, if it didn’t allow slavery, and — even more basically — allow unequal rights that depend upon the possession (and especially upon the inheritance) of wealth, and that generates respecting the wealthy (especially the hereditary wealthy) more than the poor (and with slaves being at the absolute bottom). Locke’s philosophy was affirmative toward the existing class-hierarchy, a property-based hierarchy. However, Lord Acton had, himself, been passionately committed to America’s slaveholding southern states’ Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War, because he believed more in the principle of local or home rule (as opposed to federal rule) than he opposed “slavery and persecution” (such as against slaves).

    So: the entire aristocracy, except for the outright conservatives (which were the vast majority) amongst them, were hypocrites, and liberalism is based upon that hypocrisy, nothing which is internally consistent. Since it’s unadulterated hypocrisy, it is sloppy thinking, and it is this because otherwise it would be simply “Might makes right” — pure conservatism — unadorned with any pretenses to decency, and to equality of rights irrespective of wealth. In other words: Locke offered the aristocracy a way to consider themselves to be decent people no matter how bad they might actually be, and his intellectual offering to them required a lot of intellectual sloppiness. This is liberalism, at its very outset, and right up till today. It is stupid, but the super-rich consider it to be acceptable, and so some of them sponsor it, which enabled it to become a “classic.”

    By contrast, progressivism is a total and unequivocal rejection of conservatism. It doesn’t respect wealth and the wealthy, nor does it despise the poor. It instead admires goodness which seeks no recompense or public honor therefore, but instead springs from as wide a compassion as possible (without regard to an individual’s race, creed, or ethnicity). And it despises greed, and rejects outright the “Greed is good” philosophy (a philosophy that’s consistent with both liberalism and conservatism; so, progressivism repudiates both). And it accords no honor to winning, and no shame to losing. The progressive (like anyone) wants to win, but only for a good cause, as “good” is accorded without any favoritism toward any individual or group or individuals, nor disfavoring of others, but purely with equal rights for all, to freedom and happiness and fulfillment.

    Because progressives are committed to the good, they do passionately support the good against the evil; and, to them, the “good” are progressives, and the “evil” are proponents of might-makes-right. This is what progressivism is all about — the difference between progressivism and conservatism. By contrast with those polar-opposite ideologies, liberalism is merely in-between. It is every shade of gray, because it compromises between good and evil. As some liberals like to say, it is “nuanced.”

    Might-makes-right — the very core of conservatism — is automatically favoring the rich against the poor, because, in the real world, money is power and the poor are therefore the weakest class of all. Locke’s First Treatise on Government, “Book I. Ch. XI. Who Heir?” (Sec. 107) goes even further into its conservative tradition of might-makes-right. It asserts that “the author” of the Bible (his God) is “affirming that the assignment of civil power is by divine institution, … so that no consideration, no act or art of man, can divert it from that person, to whom, by this divine right, it is assigned.” Liberalism not only accepts hereditary rule, but it rejects any sort of democracy, because, for a liberal, accountability is only to The Almighty, not to any mortal nor public of mortals. Thus, the founder of liberalism, Locke, said there that “it would be as much sacrilege for any one to be king, who was not Adam’s heir, as it would have been amongst the Jews,” because the will of The Almighty is eternal, and applies not merely in the past.

    When America’s Founders refused even so much as to mention any god, and opened the U.S. Constitution with “We, the people of the United States, … do ordain and establish this Constitution,” it was an authentic break away from the past, because they were repudiating not only conservatism but liberalism, and were actually starting progressivism. They were doing this because accountability here was being ordained, in this new country — via its Constitution — to be accountability to the mortals, the public; and not to any The Almighty, at all. They chose to do this — break radically from the past. That act, from them, the U.S. Constitution, gave birth to progressivism — not merey to a new country. This Constitution served as the American Scripture, except that unlike any religious one, it included provisions for its own subsequent amendment, via the public’s representatives. Unlike any religious Scripture, it allowed itself to become improved. That, too (allowance for improvement), is a basic feature of progressivism, which contrasts starkly against conservatism (which relies instead upon some immutable Scripture).

    Because a progressive favors equally the rights of all, and rejects unconditionally the supremacy of any nation above any other, a fundamental principle of progressivism is an utter rejection of imperialism (against which America’s Founders had waged their own Revolutionary War), and of any invasion of one country by another which has not become, nor been reasonably considered to pose a danger to become, invaded by that other, which it has invaded. During the War of 1812, Americans waged war to defend their largely democratic republic against imperial Britain’s invasion to re-seize this land. The imperialists committed aggression against Americans, after having lost the Revolutionary War to them. Consequently, for example: America, which since 1898 has itself unprovokedly invaded and sought to vassalize and exploit, more countries than any other nation, is perhaps the most conservative country, at least since around 1900. Today’s U.S. is, in this sense, profoundly anti-progressive and anti-American, because it has become the most imperialistic nation in the world, having taken the place of England, and of France, and of Spain, and of Germany, and of Portugal, and of Japan, and of Italy. America’s Constitution has now become overthrown. America today is ruled by ideological enemies of America’s Founders. Today’s America is unAmerican, in that deepest of all senses.

    Consequently, to be a progressive in today’s America is to be ideologically rather isolated, alone with the Founders, in this now extremist conservative society, so alien to its own Constitution. It’s to be at a severe disadvantage, in this society. But, to a progressive, there is no assumption that the good shall be rewarded and that the evil shall be punished. There is a hope for that, but no expectation of it. Consequently, the progressive is a progressive not for personal gain but purely to do justice in the world. Recognizing that the world’s norm is profoundly unjust, a progressive seeks especially to aid the good against the evil, irrespective of the consequences to oneself.

    Obviously, therefore, far more liberals than progressives exist. It’s not profitable to be progressive, but it is good to be progressive — and that’s a progressive’s main concern.

    It’s important to be able to tell the difference between a liberal and a progressive. One reason that’s so difficult for so many people to do is that many liberals are ‘progressives’ in sheeps’ clothing — fakes — and the biggest policy-area where this is the case is in foreign policies, because whereas average voters know that politicians who fight against lowering their medical costs are bad, they don’t know (nor even care) nearly so much about international affairs. Here is a typical example of a ‘progressive‘ who is also a neoconservative (though garbing it in ‘progressive’ arguments). He favors “a democracy promotion agenda” like other liberals did in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, etc. He doesn’t even so much as question that the Cold War was about ideology instead of about expanding the American empire. (How can anybody question that it wasn’t, after this? Is he really so ignorant? Or is the explanation something worse? He’s sufficiently ‘well-educated‘ so that it’s something worse. To put it as kindly as possible: he knows on which side his bread is buttered, and he cares more about that than he cares about truth and honesty.)

    Locke, having been a liberal instead of a pure conservative, would not approve of today’s America, because by his basing his ethic upon property (wealth), he acknowledged the extreme evilness of conquest. Thus, “Book II. Ch. XVI. Of Conquest” in his Second Treatise on Government, states (Sec. 176):

    That the aggressor, who puts himself into the state of war with another, and unjustly invades another man’s right, can, by such an unjust war, never come to have a right over the conquered, will be easily agreed by all men, who will not think, that robbers and pirates have a right of empire over whomsoever they have force enough to master; or that men are bound by promises, which unlawful force extorts from them. Should a robber break into my house, and with a dagger at my throat make me seal deeds to convey my estate to him, would this give him any title? Just such a title, by his sword, has an unjust conqueror, who forces me into submission. The injury and the crime is equal, whether committed by the wearer of a crown, or some petty villain. The title of the offender, and the number of his followers, make no difference in the offence, unless it be to aggravate it. The only difference is, great robbers punish little ones, to keep them in their obedience; but the great ones are rewarded with laurels and triumphs, because they are too big for the weak hands of justice in this world, and have the power in their own possession, which should punish offenders.

    So: today’s U.S.A. stands condemned even in that compromised work, the foundation of liberalism. It stands condemned because John Locke wasn’t a pure conservative — in that passage, he clearly condemned might-makes-right, which he said pertained “in this world,” meaning not in the world of The Almighty, in a supposed afterlife, where power, supposedly, does reflect virtue.

    By contrast, a progressive makes no assumption that power reflects virtue anywhere. The only reason for a progressive to be virtuous is to be virtuous — and not according to any ‘The Almighty’, but instead recognizing, from the progressive’s experience of this world, that if this world does reflect, in any sense, the will of ‘The Almighty’, then that Almighty is anything but virtuous — certainly not virtuous, at all. It’s not a progressive world — not at all. To be a progressive is to accept this fact, instead of to be deluded that there is some reward in ‘an afterlife’, because a progressive doesn’t expect to be rewarded for virtue, but, more likely, to be punished for it. (Consider whistleblowers as progressives, and almost all of them are punished for it.) To do something for a reward is commerce; it’s no political ideology, at all. So, again: there are very few progressives. Progressivism is no church which aims to increase the size of its flock (thereby compromising so much as to become worthless, even if it was not so before). Success is not its guidestar. Truth is. That’s what guides a progressive’s conscience. Thus, too, there is no progressive myth. None. A progressive accepts and recognizes history, but no myth. By contrast, a liberal, such as Locke, bases his ‘case’ upon whatever myth he chooses.

    *****

    PS, responding to a critic: A reader of this has objected: “Progressives are flawed human beings like everybody else. Yet Zuesse converts them into morally pristine übermenchen with all other human motivations outside of his progressive ideals being invalid. BTW, so Progressives never seek to maximize their economic well-being? They never game the system? They are never arrogant and self-serving? They never ignore the laws of unintended consequences? The laws of conflicting objectives don’t apply to them? I’d like to see a follow-on SCF article that critiques Zuesse’s claim to Progressism’s claim to outright and absolute moral supremacy. And then let the readers compare and contrast.” What he described there are liberals, not progressives. The title of this article is “The Difference Between Being a Liberal and Being a Progressive.” He missed its point. However, of course all people “are flawed human beings.” That’s just a cliché. And, of course, within the bounds of decency, progressives do “seek to maximize their economic well-being.” But all of his objection ignores the article’s argument and evidence. As regards evidence, here is more.

  • Originally posted at strategic-culture.org.
  • See also “What Is Progressivism?
  • US Government Tops All for Creating Refugees

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    On June 19th, Statistica headlined “Number of forcibly displaced people reaches new high”, and when one looks at the data, one finds an even bigger story which stands behind those numbers:

    This new report from the United Nations documents Statistica’s headline, and it proves that America’s regime-change operations have actually created around half of the world’s refugees. It proves that America’s penchant for invading and trying to overthrow the governments that its billionaires want to replace (“regime-change”) has been by far the biggest of all single causes of refugees worldwide, vastly higher than any other government. Regardless of how bad those other governments might possibly be, the US regime is far worse — at least as being the cause, the creator, of the world’s refugee problems.

    Consider the countries that the US regime has recently regime-changed or attempted to:

    The US regime invaded Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003, Syria in 2012-2019, and has been applying, in order to overthrow the Government of Venezuela, strangulating economic sanctions. All of those four target-countries (Syria, Venezuela, Iraq, and Afghanistan) lead the list of nations that are bleeding the most refugees. The US regime’s “regime-change” operations abroad are therefore certainly the leading cause of the world’s refugee-crisis.

    That’s the big news in the new UN report, though it is news that the report itself ignores.

    The biggest of these crises in 2018 were Syria and Venezuela, which were the US regime’s most recent regime-change operations. But Afghanistan and Iraq are also among the top bleeders of refugees — even now, over 15 years after the US regime had invaded them.

    On 26 January 2019, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens: ‘Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns’” and reported:
    Mr De Zayas, a former secretary of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and an expert in international law, spoke to The Independent following the presentation of his Venezuela report to the HRC in September. He said that since its presentation the report has been ignored by the UN and has not sparked the public debate he believes it deserves. “Sanctions kill,” he told The Independent, adding that they fall most heavily on the poorest people in society, demonstrably cause death through food and medicine shortages, lead to violations of human rights and are aimed at coercing economic change.
    In order for the US regime to blame Venezuela’s Government 100% for Venezuela’s problems including the economic shortages that result from the US regime’s sanctions, the US regime stages attempts to send aid to the Venezuelan people, and this aid is, of course, blocked by Venezuela’s Government, because it is just the aggressor’s PR stunt — the US regime’s effort to take over the country in a ‘kind’ way. (After all, Hitler claimed to love the “Volk,” even as he served the interests of Germany’s armaments-firms and the billionaires who controlled them.) However, if the aggressor had honestly wanted to help Venezuelans, it wouldn’t be applying such strangulating economic sanctions, which include penalties against countries that trade with Venezuela — an economic blockade against Venezuela.

    Here are highlights in the new report from the UN:

    UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, “GLOBAL TRENDS: Forced Displacement in 2018″

    The report says that in 2018, there were “13.6 million newly displaced” persons.

    “Altogether, more than two thirds (67 per cent) of all refugees worldwide came from just five countries:”

    Syria 6.7M
    Afghanistan 2.7M
    Sudan 2.3M
    Myanmar 1.1M
    Somalia 0.9M


    “The main countries of asylum for refugees were:”

    Turkey 3.7M
    Pakistan 1.4M
    Uganda 1.2M
    Sudan 1.1M
    Germany 1.1M

    However, this chaotic UN report also states that:
    At the end of 2018, Syrians continued to be the largest forcibly displaced population, with 13.0 million people living in displacement. … Colombians were the second largest group, with 8.0 million forcibly displaced, most of them (98 per cent) inside their country at the end of 2018.
    Presumably, the reason why Colombia does’t show on the list of “newly displaced” is that most of its “8.0 million forcibly displaced” occurred during the civil war there, which peaked in 2009.

    “Figure 17 | Major recipient countries of new asylum applications | 2017-2018” shows that pending asylum-applications are the highest in US, second-highest is in Peru (mainly from Venezuela resulting from America’s economic sanctions against Venezuela), third-highest is in Germany (mainly from Arabic lands that America invaded), fourth-highest is in France (mainly from Arabic lands that America invaded), and fifth-highest is in Turkey (mainly from Arabic lands that America invaded).

    In other words: four of those five countries are lands where America’s strangulating economic sanctions, and invasions, by America’s own troops and by its proxy-forces such as Al Qaeda and other ‘rebels’, drove millions of people out. Though the confusing report doesn’t note it, most of that “highest in US” asylum-applications come from the US regime’s banana republics — Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador — where the US trained death squads etc. created (or at least encouraged) the problems, at least a decade or more ago. Consequently, even in some nations where the US regime didn’t create refugees by means of invasions, it created many by coups and other means.

    “Figure 18 | Major source countries of new asylum-seekers | 2017-2018” shows that in 2018, the highest number of new asylum-applicants were from Venezuela, second-highest were from Afghanistan, third-highest were from Syria, and fourth-highest were from Iraq. All of those are lands that suffer from the US regime’s past and current aggressions. (Of course, everybody expects Iran to be the next.)

    Venezuelan refugees and asylum-seekers grew in number during 2018. The broader movement of Venezuelans through the region and beyond, increasingly took on the characteristics of a refugee situation, with some 3.4 million living outside Venezuela by the end of 2018, as more than 3 million Venezuelans left their homes, travelling mainly elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean. “This is the biggest exodus in the region’s recent history, and one of the biggest displacement crises in the world.” It could turn out to be even worse than Colombia’s was. The report notes:
    'When my nine-month-old daughter died because of the lack of medicines, doctors or treatment, I decided to take my family out of Venezuela before another one of my children died. Diseases were getting stronger than us. I told myself, either we leave or we die.' – Eulirio Baes, a 33-year-old indigenous Warao from Delta Amacuro in Venezuela. He abandoned the Warao’s ancestral lands and took his entire family to Brazil after three relatives died
    Lebanon continued to host the largest number of refugees relative to its national population. 1 in 6 people there was a refugee. Jordan (1 in 14) and Turkey (1 in 22) ranked second and third, respectively. Of course, those lands receive mainly Syrian refugees.

    At the end of 2018, Syrians continued to be the largest forcibly displaced population, with 13.0 million people living in displacement, including 6,654,000 refugees, 6,184,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) and 140,000 asylum-seekers. Colombians were the second largest group, with 8.0 million forcibly displaced, most of them (98 per cent) still living inside their country at the end of 2018. The top two foreign recipients of refugees from Colombia were Spain and Ecuador. As previously noted, Colombia’s refugees were generated by the lengthy civil war there, which peaked in 2009. The following visual, which is the most comprehensible part of this chaotic (and in places uninterpretable) UN report, doesn’t show Colombia, because these were the refugee-flows only for the year of 2018:

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    That visual is around half of the interpretable content in the entire 28-page UN report. It’s a visual way of showing that the US regime’s regime-change operations produce around half of the entire world’s refugee-problem. The only US Presidential candidate who even so much as just mentions America’s “regime-change wars” (and she is strongly against them) is Tulsi Gabbard, and she currently scores the support of fewer than 1% of America’s Democrats in that Party’s Presidential primary polls. So, at least America’s Democrats are overwhelmingly unconcerned about their country’s causing around half of the entire world’s refugee crisis. And there is no indication that America’s Republican voters are more concerned about it than the Democratic voters are. Americans, evidently, don’t care about this matter. At least, not yet.

    US Government Tops All for Creating Refugees

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    On June 19th, Statistica headlined “Number of forcibly displaced people reaches new high”, and when one looks at the data, one finds an even bigger story which stands behind those numbers:

    This new report from the United Nations documents Statistica’s headline, and it proves that America’s regime-change operations have actually created around half of the world’s refugees. It proves that America’s penchant for invading and trying to overthrow the governments that its billionaires want to replace (“regime-change”) has been by far the biggest of all single causes of refugees worldwide, vastly higher than any other government. Regardless of how bad those other governments might possibly be, the US regime is far worse — at least as being the cause, the creator, of the world’s refugee problems.

    Consider the countries that the US regime has recently regime-changed or attempted to:

    The US regime invaded Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003, Syria in 2012-2019, and has been applying, in order to overthrow the Government of Venezuela, strangulating economic sanctions. All of those four target-countries (Syria, Venezuela, Iraq, and Afghanistan) lead the list of nations that are bleeding the most refugees. The US regime’s “regime-change” operations abroad are therefore certainly the leading cause of the world’s refugee-crisis.

    That’s the big news in the new UN report, though it is news that the report itself ignores.

    The biggest of these crises in 2018 were Syria and Venezuela, which were the US regime’s most recent regime-change operations. But Afghanistan and Iraq are also among the top bleeders of refugees — even now, over 15 years after the US regime had invaded them.

    On 26 January 2019, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens: ‘Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns’” and reported:
    Mr De Zayas, a former secretary of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and an expert in international law, spoke to The Independent following the presentation of his Venezuela report to the HRC in September. He said that since its presentation the report has been ignored by the UN and has not sparked the public debate he believes it deserves. “Sanctions kill,” he told The Independent, adding that they fall most heavily on the poorest people in society, demonstrably cause death through food and medicine shortages, lead to violations of human rights and are aimed at coercing economic change.
    In order for the US regime to blame Venezuela’s Government 100% for Venezuela’s problems including the economic shortages that result from the US regime’s sanctions, the US regime stages attempts to send aid to the Venezuelan people, and this aid is, of course, blocked by Venezuela’s Government, because it is just the aggressor’s PR stunt — the US regime’s effort to take over the country in a ‘kind’ way. (After all, Hitler claimed to love the “Volk,” even as he served the interests of Germany’s armaments-firms and the billionaires who controlled them.) However, if the aggressor had honestly wanted to help Venezuelans, it wouldn’t be applying such strangulating economic sanctions, which include penalties against countries that trade with Venezuela — an economic blockade against Venezuela.

    Here are highlights in the new report from the UN:

    UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, “GLOBAL TRENDS: Forced Displacement in 2018″

    The report says that in 2018, there were “13.6 million newly displaced” persons.

    “Altogether, more than two thirds (67 per cent) of all refugees worldwide came from just five countries:”

    Syria 6.7M
    Afghanistan 2.7M
    Sudan 2.3M
    Myanmar 1.1M
    Somalia 0.9M


    “The main countries of asylum for refugees were:”

    Turkey 3.7M
    Pakistan 1.4M
    Uganda 1.2M
    Sudan 1.1M
    Germany 1.1M

    However, this chaotic UN report also states that:
    At the end of 2018, Syrians continued to be the largest forcibly displaced population, with 13.0 million people living in displacement. … Colombians were the second largest group, with 8.0 million forcibly displaced, most of them (98 per cent) inside their country at the end of 2018.
    Presumably, the reason why Colombia does’t show on the list of “newly displaced” is that most of its “8.0 million forcibly displaced” occurred during the civil war there, which peaked in 2009.

    “Figure 17 | Major recipient countries of new asylum applications | 2017-2018” shows that pending asylum-applications are the highest in US, second-highest is in Peru (mainly from Venezuela resulting from America’s economic sanctions against Venezuela), third-highest is in Germany (mainly from Arabic lands that America invaded), fourth-highest is in France (mainly from Arabic lands that America invaded), and fifth-highest is in Turkey (mainly from Arabic lands that America invaded).

    In other words: four of those five countries are lands where America’s strangulating economic sanctions, and invasions, by America’s own troops and by its proxy-forces such as Al Qaeda and other ‘rebels’, drove millions of people out. Though the confusing report doesn’t note it, most of that “highest in US” asylum-applications come from the US regime’s banana republics — Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador — where the US trained death squads etc. created (or at least encouraged) the problems, at least a decade or more ago. Consequently, even in some nations where the US regime didn’t create refugees by means of invasions, it created many by coups and other means.

    “Figure 18 | Major source countries of new asylum-seekers | 2017-2018” shows that in 2018, the highest number of new asylum-applicants were from Venezuela, second-highest were from Afghanistan, third-highest were from Syria, and fourth-highest were from Iraq. All of those are lands that suffer from the US regime’s past and current aggressions. (Of course, everybody expects Iran to be the next.)

    Venezuelan refugees and asylum-seekers grew in number during 2018. The broader movement of Venezuelans through the region and beyond, increasingly took on the characteristics of a refugee situation, with some 3.4 million living outside Venezuela by the end of 2018, as more than 3 million Venezuelans left their homes, travelling mainly elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean. “This is the biggest exodus in the region’s recent history, and one of the biggest displacement crises in the world.” It could turn out to be even worse than Colombia’s was. The report notes:
    'When my nine-month-old daughter died because of the lack of medicines, doctors or treatment, I decided to take my family out of Venezuela before another one of my children died. Diseases were getting stronger than us. I told myself, either we leave or we die.' – Eulirio Baes, a 33-year-old indigenous Warao from Delta Amacuro in Venezuela. He abandoned the Warao’s ancestral lands and took his entire family to Brazil after three relatives died
    Lebanon continued to host the largest number of refugees relative to its national population. 1 in 6 people there was a refugee. Jordan (1 in 14) and Turkey (1 in 22) ranked second and third, respectively. Of course, those lands receive mainly Syrian refugees.

    At the end of 2018, Syrians continued to be the largest forcibly displaced population, with 13.0 million people living in displacement, including 6,654,000 refugees, 6,184,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) and 140,000 asylum-seekers. Colombians were the second largest group, with 8.0 million forcibly displaced, most of them (98 per cent) still living inside their country at the end of 2018. The top two foreign recipients of refugees from Colombia were Spain and Ecuador. As previously noted, Colombia’s refugees were generated by the lengthy civil war there, which peaked in 2009. The following visual, which is the most comprehensible part of this chaotic (and in places uninterpretable) UN report, doesn’t show Colombia, because these were the refugee-flows only for the year of 2018:

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    That visual is around half of the interpretable content in the entire 28-page UN report. It’s a visual way of showing that the US regime’s regime-change operations produce around half of the entire world’s refugee-problem. The only US Presidential candidate who even so much as just mentions America’s “regime-change wars” (and she is strongly against them) is Tulsi Gabbard, and she currently scores the support of fewer than 1% of America’s Democrats in that Party’s Presidential primary polls. So, at least America’s Democrats are overwhelmingly unconcerned about their country’s causing around half of the entire world’s refugee crisis. And there is no indication that America’s Republican voters are more concerned about it than the Democratic voters are. Americans, evidently, don’t care about this matter. At least, not yet.

    How Lies Become “Facts” in U.S. “News”

    On Fox News Channel’s May 2nd edition of “The Story with Martha MacCallum” was alleged, by the program host (at 2:45 in this video), that one reason we must invade Venezuela (if we will) is that “People have lost 24 pounds” there. So (her point was), if we invade, that’s not evil, it’s no coup, but instead it’s humanitarian (presumably like it was in Iraq in 2003, when we invaded that country, which likewise had never invaded nor threatened to invade the United States — it was raw international aggression, by our country, against Iraq).

    Individuals who fall for a liar once, will typically fall for that liar again and again, without limit, because they are (for whatever reason) prejudiced to trust him. But is this attempt, at “regime change” in Venezuela, yet another example of that, or might it instead really be the case (this time) that (as this Fox host implies) to invade Venezuela will help the people there (gain back that lost weight, etc.), not kill many of them and destroy their nation even worse than it already was?

    So, I checked online, to find what the source was, if any, for this stunning allegation by the Fox News host. After all, such a steep weight-loss for an entire nation would be shocking.

    If, indeed, the allegation has a scientifically trustworthy source, then there exists, somewhere, a rigorously done, statistically sound, empirical study of thousands of Venezuelans’ body-weights, in which each one of those individuals has been weighed, not only once, but twice, separated in time by two specific years, so that there exists a credible “before” weight, and “after” weight, to compare, in each one of these many individual cases, such that the study found that the average Venezuelan lost 24 pounds during that before-after time-period. The sample-size has to be large enough, and the sampling-method has to be randomized enough, so that the result will meet the standards of statistical reliability in order to be able to represent the entirety of the Venezuelan population. Many thousands of such scientific studies are, in fact, published each and every year, and it might have been done regarding the body-weights of Venezuelans. However, otherwise (that is, if this was not done regarding Venezuelans’ body-weights), then that Fox News host was either lying, or else deceived by other people, in order for her to have made this remarkable statement. One, or else the other, is the case, here — either such a study was done, or else it wasn’t — so: which of those two options occurred, in this particular instance? Let’s see:

    She might have received this ‘fact’ which she had stated, from any of many sources that are online:

    Just a few days prior to that show, National Review had headlined, on 30 April 2019, “The Economics of Tyranny in Venezuela“, and reported “The real-life consequences of Chavismo’s misguided policies are telling: Venezuelans lost an average of 24 pounds in the year 2017.”

    That linked to the 24 January 2019 Council on Foreign Relations article “Venezuela: The Rise and Fall of a Petrostate, which said that Venezuela has “a devastating humanitarian crisis, with severe shortages of basic goods, such as food and medical supplies. In 2017, Venezuelans lost an average of twenty-four pounds in body weight.”

    That, in turn, linked to a 21 February 2018 Reuters article, “Venezuelans report big weight losses in 2017 as hunger hits, which opened:

    Venezuelans reported losing on average 11 kilograms (24 lbs) in body weight last year and almost 90 percent now live in poverty, according to a new university study on the impact of a devastating economic crisis and food shortages.
    The annual survey, published on Wednesday by three universities, is one of the most closely-followed assessments of Venezuelans’ well being amid a government information vacuum and shows a steady rise in poverty and hunger in recent years.

    Over 60 percent of Venezuelans surveyed said that during the previous three months they had woken up hungry because they did not have enough money to buy food. About a quarter of the population was eating two or less meals a day, the study showed.

    Last year, the three universities found that Venezuelans said they had lost an average of 8 kilograms during 2016. This time, the study’s dozen investigators surveyed 6,168 Venezuelans between the ages of 20 and 65 across the country of 30 million people. …

    “Income is being pulverized,” Maria Ponce, one of the study’s investigators, told a news conference at the Andres Bello Catholic University.

    She was the only cited source. So, on May 3rd, I googled

    “Maria Ponce” https://www.ucab.edu.ve/ “Universidad Católica Andrés Bello” and found https://ucab.academia.edu/MariaPonce

    That indicated she had done “11 papers” and the most promising to be the one was at the very top:

    https://www.academia.edu/38305342/Informe-PobrezaISBN-2017.pdf

    I did there a “Find” for the number alleged in the Reuters article to have been the sample-size, “6,168” because if this document does, in fact, report any such study, then that number would need to be shown somewhere in it. I got “0” finds. So, this paper can’t be the basis for the assertion.

    The only other promising prospect was here:

    That one too didn’t include “6,168”. However, it did give her full name: “María Gabriela Ponce Zubillaga” which I then googled. The only promising find I could see there was this and that too lacked “6,168”.

    Also, at the University itself, there is one paper shown from her, but it’s dated 2013.

    None of the works from her is actually dated after 2015, and so there is a mystery as to why the only “study” by her which contained such internationally influential ‘findings’ has not been included by her in what she has uploaded to the Web or has otherwise been made public (except as ‘summarized’ in that Reuters article).

    Also of interest is that a 2017 publication, which mentions her name, but which has no article from her, shows on its page 204, “Gráfica 14. Coeficiente de Gini. Venezuela. 2000-2015” or the year-by year economic-inequality coefficient or “Gini” for Venezuela, throughout the period 2000 to 2015, and this coefficient plunged during that period, to reach in 2015 “0.381” — which was one of the world’s lowest, which means that Venezuela had one of the world’s most equal distributions of incomes then — and this is an astounding performance, because in 2002 Venezuela’s was near the global average, 0.50. If that is true, then Venezuela’s Government has at least this important economic achievement to be proud of. (Hugo Chavez became President in 1999, and was replaced by Nicolas Maduro when Chavez died in 2013. The U.S. regime attempted many coups against both, but the present effort is the most serious one yet.)

    Furthermore, Ponce’s online-posted CV shows no publications from her after 2015.

    So, I contacted her and left her this message plus my email-address so that she could respond:

    EZ Eric Zuesse

    Please email me the alleged February 2018 study documenting that Venezuelans lost an average of 24 pounds due to the economic troubles. 

    It has been six days now with no response. If I ever hear back from her, or from anyone who is associated with that alleged ‘study’, then I shall do a follow-up news-report on the matter.

    America’s media-watchdog FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) headlined on 30 April 2019 “Zero Percent of Elite Commentators Oppose Regime Change in Venezuela“, and reported (and documented) that “Over a three-month period (1/15/19–4/15/19), zero opinion pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post took an anti–regime change or pro-Maduro/Chavista position. Not a single commentator on the big three Sunday morning talk shows or PBS NewsHour came out against President Nicolás Maduro stepping down from the Venezuelan government.”  This lengthy study of hundreds of news-commentaries closed by saying: “When it comes to advocating the overthrow of the US government’s foreign undesirables, you can always count on opinion pages to represent all sides of why it’s a good thing. And the millions of people who beg to differ? Well, they’re just out of the question.”

    So, though the present news-report is being distributed to all of America’s national news-media, for them to publish freely, they’ve already made clear that at least none of the ones that have large audiences will publish it. They know the truth, just as you do (now, at least), but they aren’t in the truth-business — they only pretend to be (just as they pretend to report ‘the news’, instead of the the carefully filtered propaganda).

    Polls show that Americans want bipartisan government. But both of the political parties are funded by billionaires, and all billionaires are neoconservatives — supporters of extending the U.S. empire — because it’s their empire, and because none of them is actually satisfied with how large it already is. So: they hire the writers for, and the candidates of, both political parties, to help them make it even bigger, ceaselessly. So, if you don’t see this article published in the pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, etc., you know why: they’re working to keep ‘fake news’ out, and to report only the real propaganda, the authorized propaganda — the propaganda that those billionaires want to be spread.

    And this also explains that interview on Fox News Channel’s May 2nd edition of “The Story with Martha MacCallum. It also explains why Trump could say there (at 0:19) — and be unchallenged for saying — “It is, from a constitutional standpoint, it’s the way it’s supposed to be. He [Guaido] was elected,” though everything in that statement is absurdly false; and this is also the reason why, later (at 3:05), the host, MacCallum, seconded that lie, by asserting that the actually merely self-proclaimed ‘interim President of Venezuela’, Guaido, is what “the people of Venezuela, what they democratically voted for,” though the only voters who ever actually voted for him were the majority of voters in merely Vargas, which is one of Venezuela’s 23 states. Guaido has never been in any national Venezuelan election (but only that local one) — not against Maduro, not against anyone else. Yet, the U.S. regime is trying to impose him upon the entire Venezuelan people, and Trump even claims that Guaido had won a national election.

    Mr. Guaido, in 2016, was elected by the residents of Vargas to become its Representative in the nation’s unicameral legislature, the National Assembly, and never yet has faced any  national Venezuelan election, on anything. His record in national public office is therefore almost non-existent; but, within the National Assembly itself, he nonetheless rose (due to his long-time backing by the U.S. regime) immediately to become elected by its members, as the President of that body, the National Assembly. In other words, he was appointed, by the national legislature, immediately after having been elected solely by, and solely to represent, the residents of the state of Vargas. If he were to become installed as ‘interim President’ of the nation, it would be with no clear record on national issues. And it would be with no vote by the national electorate.

    Vargas, one of Venezuela’s poorest states, was predominantly socialist, so Guaido had pretended to be socialist; and he won that local office on that fraudulent basis; but, once in office, he became immediately fascist. He was behaving in accord with his being a perfect CIA asset, to take over a democratic socialist country that the dictatorial capitalist U.S. regime wants to control. He is acting as a traitor to Venezuela, and certainly outside of and violating Venezuela’s Constitution. So, if he were to become Venezuela’s leader, that would be only by appointment on the part of the legislators, and not by any democratic election by the Venezuelan people, and it would also be in violation of Venezuela’s Supreme Judicial Tribunal, which is the only body that possesses the Constitutional authority to authorize the National Assembly to consider the possibility of appointing an interim President. (It didn’t do that; so, no one can possibly be “the interim President of Venezuela.”) All of what the U.S. regime and its supporters are demanding, stands in direct violation of Venezuela’s Constitution. The United States and its allies nonetheless demand it, and the U.S. regime says that “All options are on the table,” up to and including a U.S. invasion of Venezuela, in order to achieve their drastic and blatantly unConstitutional change-of-Government in Venezuela. Violating international law isn’t enough; they demand to shred Venezuela’s Constitution, too.

    And the lie about “People have lost 24 pounds” can be understood only in this broader context of lies, and only by means of exposing and understanding the lies for what they are, instead of only by what they claim (which is what the liars and their press want the public to be fooled to believe).

    Gallup Finds Americans Have Been Very Deceived Regarding United States’ Image Around the World

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    Gallup issued on February 28th its “2019 Rating World Leaders” report, subtitled “The US vs. Germany, China and Russia,” and said that “The world still frowned on US leadership more than the leadership of any other country asked about in 2018.” All four of the countries’ leaderships received approval-ratings from people worldwide in only the 30-39 percent range, and this low score for the US leadership (which was approved by merely 31 percent of people sampled worldwide during 2018) represented an enormous decline for the United States, which during the Obama years had received scores ranging from 41 percent to 49 percent approval. However, a Gallup report which had been issued only three days earlier, on February 25th, indicated that the American people are blissfully ignorant of any of this reality, and instead believe that the global approval-rating of the United States itself is high and is rising, not, as it actually is, low and declining.

    In fact, on January 18th of just a year back, 2018, Gallup had headlined “World's Approval of US Leadership Drops to New Low”, and this plunge in the global rating of America’s leadership could reasonably cause a person to expect a decline in the American public’s view of America’s national image in foreign countries, but it’s not showing up, at all. The exact contrary is being displayed in the recent data. On February 25th of 2019, Gallup bannered, “Americans' Perceptions of US World Image Best Since 2003”, and reported that “58 percent say US rates very or somewhat favorably in world's eyes.”

    This disparity between reality and the public’s view of reality, is clear in the data despite all of these polls’ having altogether ignored almost all of the Islamic-majority nations, where there has long been a very negative view prevailing both of the United States and of US leadership. (The US regime prefers its pollsters to sample mainly favorable countries regarding its public image around the world, and so that is what is done.)

    The last time that Gallup surveyed America’s global public image (and this isn’t the world’s approval of US leadership, but approval of the US itself, such as was measured and reported by Gallup’s report issued on 25 February 2019) was in "1991 Feb 28-Mar 2”, and the global public image of the United States was overwhelmingly favorable at that time — 95 percent favorable versus only 3 percent unfavorable — by far the highest of any country rated at that time, though today a few countries are nearly as high as that: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, UK (“Great Britain”), Japan, and Norway, all show nearly as high in Gallup’s global polling now, as America did then.

    Gallup's surveys never mentioned any other of the Scandinavian countries than Norway, nor mentioned Switzerland nor Netherlands, so those countries (which might even lead the ratings if they had been included) might likewise have been close to what America’s sky-high global approval-rating had been, at the time of the Cold War’s supposed end, in 1991. (Secretly, the US Government actually continued the Cold War even though Russia was unaware of the fact, and this one-sided and secret, purely aggressive, continuation was and is kept secret from both the American and global publics.)

    However, Pew has been polling this matter — the global image of the US itself — ever since, in 2008, Pew started taking it over from the Office of Research of the US Department of State.

    When Pew introduced their 2018 report concerning this matter, of America's global image, on 2 October 2018 at the CSIS or Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, the first question raised after the presentation was about America’s overall public image, and the presenter, with apparent reluctance, summed it up by acknowledging, at 29:05, “The US is definitely seen in a much more negative light than it was a few years ago. … People [worldwide] are much less likely to express a favorable opinion of the US … By and large on the questions we asked at least, we see much more negative views around the globe.”

    One would reasonably expect this fact to be showing up in the American public’s view of how foreigners see America, but it’s not showing up, at all; and, in fact, the exact opposite is being displayed in the data.

    Obviously, then, the major news-media that over 95 percent of the US public receive their "news" from have been hiding from the public the realities which are causing this steep plunge in America’s (the American nation’s) global approval-ratings. Whereas the approval-rating of the US went down, the American public thinks it has instead gone up, and only the country’s major "news"-media can be to blame for that extreme US fantasy-world, which is being displayed in the data.

    It’s the very same fantasy-world — and for the very same reasons — which overwhelming majorities of the American people believed in 2002 and 2003, when the US regime imposed the fraud that Saddam Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction (“WMD”) and that he supported Al Qaeda. All of the US mainstream, and virtually all of its minor, news-media were stenographically pumping these (even the most blatant) lies to the public, and therefore they’re co-responsible along with the US dictators for America’s having destroyed Iraq. That couldn’t have happened without the propaganda-operation’s compliance.

    And America has the same national press now as it did then, though some of the corporate names have changed since 2002.

    The ownership and control of America’s major news-media are obviously being very wrongly determined, and America cannot even possibly become again a functioning even partial democracy unless and until that situation — the system for determining the control of the corporations that constitute the US "news"-reporting oligopoly — is fundamentally and permanently (perhaps even Constitutionally) amended.

    America’s stenographic press merely uncritically reports the Government’s bipartisan lies (not the Democratic or the Republican Party’s lies, which can and do become exposed, but instead the lies that both Parties spout — the bipartisan lies which reflect the US regime. These are lies such as that WMD existed in Iraq in 2002, and that Russia and not the US is the world’s aggressor-nation seeking global conquest, and that America protects peace around the world, instead of its being the world’s top perpetrator of coups and of military invasions, by far the world’s biggest aggressor).

    America cannot become a functioning, actual, democracy, at all, unless and until the ownership and control of its major news-media has become ripped away from the present controllers and also becomes legally fully accountable in honest courts for any propaganda (regime-pumped lies) that it issues. Neither domestic policy nor international policy can be democratic in such a nation. America’s major "news"-media are obviously not trustworthy. Consequently, America isn’t a democracy. (Consequently, this news-report, which is exposing America’s major "news"-media as being instead national propaganda-media, is going to be rejected — not published — by all of them, though it’s being submitted to all of them, as well as to most other US international-news reporting sites.)

    The full written 2018 report from Pew is online as “America’s International Image Continues to Suffer.” It opens by saying: “A year after global opinion of the United States dropped precipitously, favorable views of the US remain at historic lows in many countries polled. In addition, more say bilateral relations with the US have worsened, rather than improved, over the past year.”

    The following highlights are taken from Pew’s verbal presentation to the CSIS:
    [19:56] 70 percent say no to “US takes into account the interests of other countries.” 28 percent say yes to that.

    [21:53] “Fewer Now Say US Takes into Account Their Interests.” The change (which is since the end of Obama’s Presidency) is -31 percent in Germany, -23 South Africa, -22 Brazil, -19 Mexico, -17 France, -16 Kenya, -16 Italy, -13 Indonesia, -13 UK, -13 Canada, -12 South Korea, -11 Philippines, -10 Japan, and -8 Spain. In Russia, 15 percent said yes to that question at the end of Obama’s Presidency, and that figure then soared to 41 percent in 2017, but it declined to only 26 percent in 2018. Perhaps now it’s again around 15 percent, as more and more Russians come to recognize that the US regime is set upon conquering Russia — recognize that anti-communism (prior to 1991, when the Soviet Union ended) was only an excuse for building America’s global control, an empire controlling the entire world, and that America, after the death of FDR and increasingly since then, is fascist, no authentic democracy at all. This fascism certainly explains Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2011-2018, Yemen 2015-now, Ukraine 2014 (a US coup in February 2014 that the regime instead calls a Russian ‘invasion’, which occurred thereafter in response and was no invasion at all, but defensive for Russia, against a fascist regime on its doorstep), and Venezuela 2017-now.

    [22:51] “US Perceived to Be Less Involved in Tackling Global Issues.” Percentages saying “less” involved, as opposed to “more” involved, were found in every EU country that was surveyed, except that it’s equal (= percentages), 22 percent saying US is both “less” and “more” involved, in Poland — but nowhere else that Pew was polling in Europe. Basically, Trump’s rejections of the Paris Climate Agreement and of the nuclear agreement with Iran, and his outlawing refugees from Syria and some other nations the US bombed, and his determination to wall-off the US from Mexico, have cemented the global public’s view of America as being a hostile country. But nonetheless, Gallup was able to headline on February 25th, “Americans' Perceptions of US World Image Best Since 2003”.
    Gallup’s findings regarding not the world’s favorability toward the US but the American public’s estimation of how favorably the world views the US, were reported there, and opened:
    Fifty-eight percent of Americans believe the US rates "very" or "somewhat favorably" in the world's eyes. Though the current figure is up just slightly from the 55 percent recorded last year, it represents the highest figure Gallup has found since 2003.

    The increase in the overall figure is the result of an increase in the percentage of political independents saying the US is rated favorably abroad, up eight percentage points, from 50 percent to 58 percent. Meanwhile, the views of Americans identifying as Republican or Democratic haven't changed.
    So: America’s non-aligned or “independent” voters are even more deceived about this matter — especially about the stark decline in the public’s approval of America — than America’s partisan voters are.

    This Gallup report furthermore says:
    At the same time, Americans are fairly upbeat about the country's global image, the percentage satisfied with the position of the US in the world today is also at a relatively high ebb.
    Whereas in 2019 Gallup finds that 58 percent of Americans think the world views America favorably, versus 41 percent unfavorably, and in 2018 these figures were almost as high, 55 percent favorably and 45 percent unfavorably, the figures in the very first month of Trump’s being in the White House were the reverse, 42 percent favorably versus 57 percent unfavorably; and, back in 2016 they were 54 percent favorably versus 45 percent unfavorably — almost but not quite as high as today. In fact, the current 58 percent favorably versus only 41 percent unfavorably is the rosiest view that Americans have displayed in these Gallup polls regarding how they think foreigners view the US, extending all the way back to Gallup’s polling on 14-16 April of 2003 — 61 percent at that time thinking the world viewed the US favorably, versus 37 percent unfavorably, and this was just a month after the US had invaded and destroyed Iraq.

    So: Ever since America’s Government destroyed Iraq on 20 March 2003, Americans haven’t had a rosier view of foreigners’ opinions of the United States.

    Such a deceived nation’s public is, obviously, a reflection of that nation’s ruling regime, both its Government and its stenographic mainstream ‘news’-media, which won’t publish reports such as the present one, because such reports, as this one, would be exposing the deceived public that results from America’s fraudulent and highly controlled (by America’s 585 billionaires) mainstream press. This reality of the press-problem in America is not what they call ‘fake news’ media, but it’s instead the mainstream media themselves that present to their public actually false ‘news’, real lies (that are the official government lies, bipartisan lies), to such a huge extent as to achieve this enormous disparity between the reality and the public’s warped view of that ‘reality’, regarding America’s international image. What’s important here is not this particular news-item itself, nearly so much as it is what that news-item means — what it indicates. What it indicates is enormous.

    This news-report is therefore being offered free of charge to all US media to publish, so as to help rectify the rabidly false impression that exists. Obviously, any news-media that aren’t publishing this report are trying to hide this reality — they evidently, and quite clearly, want to continue this particular deception of the public. But the sites that publish this are honest — as any reader here can easily verify by clicking onto this article’s links.

    Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.

    What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela

    Introduction

    This news-report is being submitted to all U.S. and allied news-media, and is being published by all honest ones, in order to inform you of crucial facts that the others — the dishonest ones, who hide such crucial facts — are hiding about Venezuela. These are facts that have received coverage only in one single British newspaper: the Independent, which published a summary account of them on January 26th. That newspaper’s account will be excerpted here at the end, but first will be highlights from its topic, the official report to the U.N. General Assembly in August of last year, which has been covered-up ever since. This is why that report’s author has now gone to the Independent, desperate to get the story out, finally, to the public:

    The Covered Up Document

    On 3 August 2018, the U.N.’s General Assembly received the report from the U.N. Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. His recent travel through both countries focused on “how best to enhance the enjoyment of all human rights by the populations of both countries.” He “noted the eradication of illiteracy, free education from primary school to university, and programmes to reduce extreme poverty, provide housing to the homeless and vulnerable, phase out privilege and discrimination, and extend medical care to everyone.” He noted “that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Ecuador, both devote around 70 per cent of their national budgets to social services.” However, (and here, key paragraphs from the report are now quoted):

    22. Observers have identified errors committed by the Chávez and Maduro Governments, noting that there are too many ideologues and too few technocrats in public administration, resulting in government policies that lack coherence and professional management and discourage domestic investment, already crippled by inefficiency and corruption, which extend to government officials, transnational corporations and entrepreneurs. Critics warn about the undue influence of the military on government and on the running of enterprises like Petróleos de Venezuela. The lack of regular, publicly available data on nutrition, epidemiology and inflation are said to complicate efforts to provide humanitarian support.

    23. Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Tarek Saab, has launched a vigorous anticorruption campaign, investigating the links between Venezuelan enterprises and tax havens, contracting scams, and deals by public officials with Odebrecht. It is estimated that corruption in the oil industry has cost the Government US$ 4.8 billion. The Attorney General’s Office informed the Independent Expert of pending investigations for embezzlement and extortion against 79 officials of Petróleos de Venezuela, including 22 senior managers. The Office also pointed to the arrest of two high-level oil executives, accused of money-laundering in Andorra. The Ministry of Justice estimates corruption losses at some US$ 15 billion. Other stakeholders, in contrast, assert that anti-corruption programmes are selective and have not sufficiently targeted State institutions, including the military.

    29. Over the past sixty years, non-conventional economic wars have been waged against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to make their economies fail, facilitate regime change and impose a neo-liberal socioeconomic model. In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being “weaponized” against rivals. Yet, human rights are the heritage of every human being and should never be instrumentalized as weapons of demonization.

    30. The principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States belong to customary international law and have been reaffirmed in General Assembly resolutions, notably [a list is supplied].

    31. In its judgment of 27 June 1986 concerning Nicaragua v. United States, the International Court of Justice quoted from [U.N.] resolution 2625 (XXV): “no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State”.

    36. The effects of sanctions imposed by Presidents Obama and Trump and unilateral measures by Canada and the European Union have directly and indirectly aggravated the shortages in medicines such as insulin and anti-retroviral drugs. To the extent that economic sanctions have caused delays in distribution and thus contributed to many deaths, sanctions contravene the human rights obligations of the countries imposing them. Moreover, sanctions can amount to crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. An investigation by that Court would be appropriate, but the geopolitical submissiveness of the Court may prevent this.

    37. Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns with the intention of forcing them to surrender. Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees. A difference, perhaps, is that twenty-first century sanctions are accompanied by the manipulation of public opinion through “fake news”, aggressive public relations and a pseudo-human rights rhetoric so as to give the impression that a human rights “end” justifies the criminal means.

    39. Economic asphyxiation policies are comparable to those already practised in Chile, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua and the Syrian Arab Republic. In January 2018, Middle East correspondent of The Financial Times and The Independent, Patrick Cockburn, wrote on the sanctions affecting Syria:

    There is usually a pretence that foodstuffs and medical equipment are being allowed through freely and no mention is made of the financial and other regulatory obstacles making it impossible to deliver them. An example of this is the draconian sanctions imposed on Syria by the US and EU which were meant to target President Bashar al-Assad and help remove him from power. They have wholly failed to do this, but a UN internal report leaked in 2016 shows all too convincingly the effect of the embargo in stopping the delivery of aid by international aid agencies. They cannot import the aid despite waivers because banks and commercial companies dare not risk being penalised for having anything to do with Syria. The report quotes a European doctor working in Syria as saying that “the indirect effect of sanctions … makes the import of the medical instruments and other medical supplies immensely difficult, near impossible”.

    In short: economic sanctions kill.

    41. Bearing in mind that Venezuelan society is polarized, what is most needed is dialogue between the Government and the opposition, and it would be a noble task on the part of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to offer his good offices for such a dialogue. Yet, opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Julio Borges, during a trip through Europe to denounce the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called for further sanctions as well as a military “humanitarian intervention”.

    44. Although the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not yet reached the humanitarian crisis threshold, there is hunger, malnutrition, anxiety, anguish and emigration. What is crucial is to study the causes of the crisis, including neglected factors of sanctions, sabotage, hoarding, black market activities, induced inflation and contraband in food and medicines. 

    45. The “crisis” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is an economic crisis, which cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others. It is significant that when, in 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because it ”is still a high-income country … and as such is not eligible”.

    46. It is pertinent to recall the situation in the years prior to the election of Hugo Chávez. 118 Corruption was ubiquitous and in 1993, President Carlos Pérez was removed because of embezzlement. The Chávez election in 1998 reflected despair with the corruption and neo-liberal policies of the 1980s and 1990s, and rejection of the gulf between the super-rich and the abject poor.

    47. Participatory democracy in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called “protagónica”, is anchored in the Constitution of 1999 and relies on frequent elections and referendums. During the mission, the Independent Expert exchanged views with the Electoral Commission and learned that in the 19 years since Chávez, 25 elections and referendums had been conducted, 4 of them observed by the Carter Center. The Independent Expert met with the representative of the Carter Center in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who recalled Carter’s positive assessment of the electoral system. They also discussed the constitutional objections raised by the opposition to the referendum held on 30 July 2017, resulting in the creation of a Constitutional Assembly. Over 8 million Venezuelans voted in the referendum, which was accompanied by international observers, including from the Council of Electoral Specialists of Latin America. 

    48. An atmosphere of intimidation accompanied the mission, attempting to pressure the Independent Expert into a predetermined matrix. He received letters from NGOs asking him not to proceed because he was not the “relevant” rapporteur, and almost dictating what should be in the report. Weeks before his arrival, some called the mission a “fake investigation”. Social media insults bordered on “hate speech” and “incitement”. Mobbing before, during and after the mission bore a resemblance to the experience of two American journalists who visited the country in July 2017. Utilizing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, critics questioned the Independent Expert’s integrity and accused him of bias, demonstrating a culture of intransigence and refusal to accept the duty of an independent expert to be neutral, objective, dispassionate and to apply his expertise free of external pressures.

    67. The Independent Expert recommends that the General Assembly: (g) Invoke article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations and refer the following questions to the International Court of Justice: Can unilateral coercive measures be compatible with international law? Can unilateral coercive measures amount to crimes against humanity when a large number of persons perish because of scarcity of food and medicines? What reparations are due to the victims of sanctions? Do sanctions and currency manipulations constitute geopolitical crimes? (h) Adopt a resolution along the lines of the resolutions on the United States embargo against Cuba, declaring the sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela contrary to international law and human rights law.

    70. The Independent Expert recommends that the International Criminal Court investigate the problem of unilateral coercive measures that cause death from malnutrition, lack of medicines and medical equipment.

    72. The Independent Expert recommends that, until the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court address the lethal outcomes of economic wars and sanctions regimes, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, the Russell Tribunal and the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission undertake the task so as to facilitate future judicial pronouncements.

    On January 26th, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens“, and Michael Selby-Green reported that:

    The first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years has told The Independent the US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law.

    Former special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term at the UN in March, has criticized the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans.

    The comments come amid worsening tensions in the country after the US and UK have backed Juan Guaido, who appointed himself “interim president” of Venezuela as hundreds of thousands marched to support him.

    The US Treasury has not responded to a request for comment on Mr de Zayas’s allegations of the effects of the sanctions programme.

    US sanctions prohibit dealing in currencies issued by the Venezuelan government. They also target individuals, and stop US-based companies or people from buying and selling new debt issued by PDVSA or the government.

    The US has previously defended its sanctions on Venezuela, with a senior US official saying in 2018: “The fact is that the greatest sanction on Venezuelan oil and oil production is called Nicolas Maduro, and PDVSA’s inefficiencies,” referring to the state-run oil body, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA.

    Mr De Zayas’s findings are based on his late-2017 mission to the country and interviews with 12 Venezuelan government minsters, opposition politicians, 35 NGOs working in the country, academics, church officials, activists, chambers of commerce and regional UN agencies.

    The US imposed new sanctions against Venezuela on 9 March 2015, when President Barack Obama issued executive order 13692, declaring the country a threat to national security.

    The sanctions have since intensified under Donald Trump, who has also threatened military invasion and discussed a coup.

    Despite being the first UN official to visit and report from Venezuela in 21 years, Mr de Zayas said his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored by the UN and the media, and caused little debate within the Human Rights Council.

    He believes his report has been ignored because it goes against the popular narrative that Venezuela needs regime change.

    The then UN high commissioner, Zeid Raad Al Hussein1, reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit, and the Venezuela desk of the UN Human Rights Council also declined to help with his work after his return despite being obliged to do so, Mr de Zayas claimed.

    Ivan Briscoe, Latin America and Caribbean programme director for Crisis Group, an international NGO, told The Independent that Venezuela is a polarising subject. … Briscoe is critical of Mr de Zayas’s report because it highlights US economic warfare but in his view neglects to mention the impact of a difficult business environment in the country. … Briscoe acknowledged rising tensions and the likely presence of US personnel operating covertly in the country.

    Eugenia Russian, president of FUNDALATIN, one of the oldest human rights NGOs in Venezuela, founded in 1978 before the Chavez and Maduro governments and with special consultative status at the UN, spoke to The Independent on the significance of the sanctions.

    “In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect that the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States,” Ms Russian said.

    She said there may also be causes from internal errors, but said probably few countries in the world have suffered an “economic siege” like the one Venezuelans are living under.

    In his report, Mr de Zayas expressed concern that those calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis” are trying to justify regime change and that human rights are being “weaponised” to discredit the government and make violent overthrow more “palatable”….

    Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and an abundance of other natural resources including gold, bauxite and coltan. But under the Maduro government they’re not easily accessible to US and transnational corporations.

    US oil companies had large investments in Venezuela in the early 20th century but were locked out after Venezuelans voted to nationalise the industry in 1973.

    Other than readers of that single newspaper, where has the public been able to find these facts? If the public can have these facts hidden from them, then how much trust should the public reasonably have in the government, and in the news-media?

    • Here is the garbage that a reader comes to, who is trying to find online Mr. de Zayas’s report on this matter:  As intended, the document remains effectively hidden to the present day. Perhaps the U.N. needs to be replaced and located in Venezuela, Iran, or some other country that’s targeted for take-over by the people who effectively own the United States Government and control the U.N.’s bureaucracy. The hiding of this document was done not only by the press but by the U.N. itself.

    • On January 23rd, Germany’s Die Zeit headlined “Christoph Flügge: ‘I am deeply disturbed’: The U.N. International Criminal Court Judge Christoph Flügge Accuses Western Nations of Threatening the Independence of the Judges“. Flügge especially cited U.S. President Trump’s agent, John Bolton. That same day, the Democratic Party and Labour Party organ, Britain’s Guardian, bannered “International criminal court: UN court judge quits The Hague citing political interference“. This news-report said that, “A senior judge has resigned from one of the UN’s international courts in The Hague citing ‘shocking’ political interference from the White House and Turkey.” The judge especially criticised Bolton: “The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat.” Flügge said that the judges on the court had been “stunned” that “the US would roll out such heavy artillery”. Flügge told the Guardian: “It is consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No 1 and we stand above the law’.”)

    • On February 6th, a former UK Ambassador to Syria vented at an alt-news site, 21st Century Wire (since he couldn’t get any of the major-media sites to publish it), “A Guide to Decoding the Doublespeak on Syria“, and he brazenly exposed there the Doublespeak-Newspeak that the U.S. Government and press (what he called America’s “frothing neocons and their liberal interventionist fellow travellers”) apply in order to report the ‘news’ about Syria. So: how can the public, in a country such as the U.S., democratically control the Government, if the government and its press are lying to them, like that, all the time, and so routinely?)

    1. Zeid Raad Al Hussein, who “reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit,” is Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a Jordanian Prince. Jordan is a vassal-state in the U.S. empire. But Prince Hussein is a Jordanian diplomat who served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 to 2018 — hardly an unbiased or independent person in such a supposedly nonpartisan role.

    How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump’s Coup in Venezuela

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    On Monday, February 5th, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that the 14 countries of the Lima Group — who had actually formed themselves under her direction into this new group on 8 August 2017 in order to overthrow and replace Venezuela’s current President Nicholas Maduro — have now been joined (though she didn’t say to what extent) by the EU, and by 8 other individual countries. She stated:
    Today, we have been joined by our Lima Group partners, from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Saint Lucia. We have also been joined in our conversations with our partners from other countries, for this Lima Group ministerial meeting. These include Ecuador, the European Union, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
    She, along with US President Donald Trump, had, all along, been the actual leaders of this international diplomatic effort, to violate the Venezuelan Constitution blatantly, so as to perpetrate the coup in Venezuela.

    Her active effort to replace Venezuela’s Government began with her formation of the Lima Group, nearly two years ago.

    Canada’s Ottawa Citizen headlined on 19 August 2017, “Choosing Danger”, and their reporter Peter Hum interviewed Canada’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Ben Rowswell, who was then retiring from the post. Rowswell said that Venezuelans who wanted an overthrow of their Government would continue to have the full support of Canada’s Government: “‘I think that some of them were sort of anx­ious that it (the em­bassy’s support for hu­man rights and democ­racy in Venezuela) might not con­tinue after I left,’ Rowswell said. ‘I don’t think they have any­thing to worry about be­cause Minister (of For­eign Af­fairs Chrys­tia) Free­land has Venezuela way at the top of her pri­or­ity list.’”

    Maybe it wasn’t yet at the top of Trump’s list, but it was at the top of hers. And she and Trump together chose whom to replace Venezuela’s President, Nicholas Maduro, by: Juan Guaido. Guaido had secretly courted other Latin American leaders for this, just as Freeland had already done, by means of her secretly forming the Lima Group.

    On 25 January 2019, the AP bannered “AP Exclusive: Anti-Maduro coalition grew from secret talks” and reported that the man who now claims to be Venezuela’s legitimate President (though he had never even run for that post), Juan Guaido, had secretly visited foreign countries in order to win their blessings for what he was planning:
    In mid-December, Guaido quietly traveled to Washington, Colombia and Brazil to brief officials on the opposition’s strategy of mass demonstrations to coincide with Maduro’s expected swearing-in for a second term on Jan. 10 in the face of widespread international condemnation, according to exiled former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, an ally.

    Playing a key role behind the scenes was Lima Group member Canada, whose Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to Guaido [9 January 2019] the night before Maduro’s swearing-in ceremony [on 10 January 2019] to offer her government’s support should he confront the socialist leader [Maduro], the Canadian official said. Also active was Colombia, which shares a border with Venezuela and has received more than two million migrants fleeing economic chaos, along with Peru and Brazil’s new far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

    To leave Venezuela, he sneaked across the lawless border with Colombia, so as not to raise suspicions among immigration officials who sometimes harass opposition figures at the airport and bar them from traveling abroad, said a different anti-government leader, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss security arrangements.
    During the last days in office of Canada’s Ambassador to Venezuela Rowswell, US President Donald Trump went public with his overt threat to invade Venezuela. On 11 August 2017, McClatchy’s Miami Herald bannered "Trump was making friends in Latin America — before he raised Venezuela ‘military option’”, and Patricia Mazzei reported that “President Donald Trump’s unexpected suggestion Friday that he might rely on military force to deal with Venezuela’s pressing political crisis was an astonishing statement that strained not only credulity but also the White House’s hard-won new friendships in Latin America.” Even a spokesperson from the Atlantic Council (which is the main PR agency for NATO) was quoted as saying that “US diplomats, after weeks of carefully building the groundwork for a collective international response, suddenly find their efforts completely undercut by a ridiculously over the top and anachronistic assertion. It makes us look imperialistic and old-time. This is not how the US has behaved in decades!” However, Peru’s Foreign Minister, Ricardo Luna, was just as eager for a coup in Venezuela as were Trump and Freeland.

    On 26 October 2017, Peru’s Gestion TV reported that Luna was the co-Chair of the meeting of the Lima Group in Toronto, which Freeland chaired, and that (as translated into English here) “Luna added that the objective of the meeting of the Group of Lima ‘is to create a propitious situation’ so that the regime of Nicolás Maduro ‘feels obligated to negotiate' not only an exit to the crisis, ‘but also an exit to his own regime’.” This gang were going to make Maduro an offer that he couldn’t refuse.

    So, the Lima Group, which was founded by Luna and by Freeland, was taking the initiative as much and as boldly as Trump was, regardless of what NATO might think about it.

    The topic of that news-report, and its headline, was “Peru proposes Grupo de Lima to involve the UN to face the Venezuelan crisis.” Four days later, Freeland and Luna met privately at the UN, in New York, with the Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. Inner City Press reported that “The title of the meeting is ‘the situation in Venezuela and efforts by regional organizations to resolve the crisis per Chapter VIII of the UN Charter’ [see it here] and the briefer will be not USG [Under Secretary General] Jeffrey Feltman but his Assistant, ASG [Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs] Miroslav Jenca.”

    Jeffrey Feltman was the person who, in the secretly recorded 27 January 2014 phone-conversation in which US President Barack Obama’s agent, Victoria Nuland — planning and overseeing the February 2014 coup that overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected President — instructed the US Ambassador to Ukraine, that, after Ukraine’s President is ousted, Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk was to be appointed as Ukraine’s ‘interim’ leader as the new Prime Minister, to replace the President.

    She also said: “I talked to Jeff Feltman this morning; he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry. … He’s now gotten both Serry and Ban ki-Moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. That would be great, I think, to help glue this thing, and to have the UN help glue it, and, you know, fu*k the EU.” So, the still Under Secretary General of the U.N, Mr. Feltman, is still America’s fixer there, who “glues” whatever the US President orders the UN to do, and his Assistant was filling in for him that day. Therefore, if Trump and Freeland turn out to be as successful as Obama was, then the UN will “glue” the outcome. Chrystia Freeland happens also to be a friend of Victoria Nuland, and a passionate supporter of her coup in Ukraine.

    Freeland’s grandparents were Ukrainian and supported the Nazis during World War II. Cameron Pike headlined about Freeland at The Saker, on 2 February 2019, "Canada’s Nazi Problem” and opened:
    In the 1960’s the Polish government, still reeling from their role as the main course of the European ‘meat-sandwich’ that was the second world war, went on the hunt for Nazi aiders and abettors who destroyed their people. Contrary to what mainstream readers are allowed to know, WWII Nazi and Waffen SS leaders, Goebbels’s publishers and editors (otherwise known as propagandists), willing and outright Nazi collaborators and vicious killers, made their way out of conquered Germany to the United States [under CIA direction] and to Canada, under MI-6 direction, [and Canada] took in 2000 of them. Most of them ‘made their way’ to Ontario and Alberta. One of them even became the President of the University of Alberta. I repeat, one of them EVEN BECAME THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA. … It was this former Waffen SS soldier-turned University President who created the Ukrainian Studies department at the U of A. … Michael Chomiak, another of these significant Nazis who were never caught, lived out his days after the war as a farmer in Alberta. His Nazi identification documents were uncovered by the Polish Government in the 1960’s. “Chomiak’s records show he was trained in Vienna for German espionage and propaganda operations, then promoted to run the German press machine for the Galician region of Ukraine and Poland during the 4-year occupation. So high-ranking and active in the Nazi cause was Chomiak that the Polish intelligence services were actively hunting for Chomiak until the 1980s – without knowing he had fled for safety to an Alberta farm in Canada.” [Editing note: Please see link for John Helmer’s extensive work on uncovering Freeland’s Nazi family history.] Poland was on the hunt but lost the trail because he was well hidden by their WWII ‘ally’, the British, unbeknownst to my fellow peaceful Canadians.
    Chomiac was Chrystia Freeland’s grandfather. Chrystia Freeland loves him very much and is unshakably loyal to his memory and to his far-right beliefs, which she proudly supports. She also is a close friend of George Soros, who likewise is entirely unembarrassed at, and unapologetic about, his having, as a supposed Christian child in Hungary, helped the Nazis take the property of other Jews, before they were sent off to the concentration camps. He chose to do that — help the Nazi regime — rather than die as a Jew himself. Of course, subsequently, he founded the rabidly anti-Russian Open Society Foundation and other political ‘charities’ to tax-exempt his global political donations. Soros, too, is a passionate supporter of the US coup in Ukraine and of Ukraine’s far-right, and helped to finance (tax-exempt via his International Renaissance Fund) Obama’s Ukrainian coup by being one of the three top donors to Hromadske TV, which propagandized for slaughtering at least one and a half million of the people in the far eastern region of Ukraine, where Obama’s imposed far-right Ukrainian government was totally rejected. It’s the region that had voted over 90% for the Ukrainian President whom Obama-Nuland overthrew, and George Soros was a top funder of such exterminationist propaganda. So, it’s reasonable that his fellow anti-Russian fanatic, Freeland, is a friend of his.

    That’s the “liberal” side of fascism. The “conservative” side of it is represented by such people as John Bolton and the Koch brothers.

    Of course, the man whom the US and Canadian regimes and the Lima Group are trying to install as Venezuela’s President, Juan Guaido, had been well groomed for that job, but not by political and electoral experience, of which he has almost none, but by his foreign sponsors. On 29 January 2019 the Gray Zone Project bannered “The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader”, and their two star investigative journalists, Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal, opened:
    Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington’s elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization.
    This report also noted that
    “The 'real work' began two years later, in 2007, when Guaidó graduated from Andrés Bello Catholic University of Caracas. He moved to Washington, DC to enroll in the Governance and Political Management Program at George Washington University, under the tutelage of Venezuelan economist Luis Enrique Berrizbeitia, one of the top Latin American neoliberal economists. Berrizbeitia is a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) [and the IMF is a central part the operation that’s described in John Perkins’s now-classic Confessions of an Economic Hit Man] who spent more than a decade working in the Venezuelan energy sector, under the old oligarchic regime that was ousted by Chávez.”
    Moreover, ”Stratfor and CANVAS – key advisors of Guaidó and his anti-government cadre – devised a shockingly cynical plan to drive a dagger through the heart of the Bolivarian revolution. The scheme hinged on a 70% collapse of the country’s electrical system by as early as April 2010.” Etc. This is how ‘democracy’ now functions. It’s not democracy — it is fascism. The euphemisms for it are “neoliberalism” and “neoconservatism.”

    Regardless of whether or not the Trump-Freeland-Luna program for Venezuela succeeds, democracy and human rights won’t be advanced by it; but, if it succeeds, the fortunes of US-and-allied billionaires will be. It’s part of their global privatization program.

    Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.

    Polling on the Border Wall

    Polling on the border wall shows that Trump’s proposal is very unpopular amongst the American electorate, especially amongst the people who live near the Mexican border; but Republicans nationwide do support his proposal — and overwhelmingly. Trump’s base is the mass of people who approve of Trump and his initiatives no matter what (they buy the Trump brand, regardless), but even Republicans who live near the Mexican border oppose him on this.

    During 14-17 October 2018, CBS News asked 1,108 registered voters “Do you favor or oppose building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to try to stop illegal immigration?” and the results were:

    37% “Favor”
    60% “Oppose”
    3% “Unsure”

    However, amongst ONLY Republicans, the results were:

    76% “Favor”
    19% “Oppose”
    4% ”Unsure”

    8 earlier polls that CBS took on this question since late 2016 showed essentially similar results. Public opinion on the border-wall matter has been quite stable over time.

    On December 19th, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram headlined “MOST TEXANS ALONG THE BORDER DON’T WANT TRUMP’S WALL, AND MANY DOUBT IT WILL BE BUILT”, and their reporter, Gordon Dickson opened:

    Many Texans who live along the U.S.-Mexico border support President Donald Trump, but their affection for the New York real estate mogul-turned-politician comes with a caveat:

    They do not want a wall.

    The Star-Telegram recently visited a 325-mile stretch of the Lone Star State’s boundary with Mexico to gauge attitudes toward the proposed wall. The trip included stops in Presidio, Big Bend National Park, Del Rio and Eagle Pass in late April, and visits with a farmer, a rancher, a wildlife biologist, a sheriff and people from many other walks of life.

    He wrote:

    Statewide, 61 percent of Texans oppose building a wall, while 35 percent support it and 4 percent don’t know or declined to answer, according to a poll conducted in April by Texas Lyceum, a nonprofit leadership organization.

    Residents of the Lone Star State who live, work and play along the international boundary with Mexico say they are happy that the Trump administration’s plans to quickly build the wall have encountered complications in Washington.

    So: right now, it would be reasonable to assume that the opponents of Trump, the Democratic Party in Congress, represent, regarding this issue, the overwhelming majority of the American electorate, and even the overwhelming majority of the voters who live near the border in heavily Republican states such as Texas. By stark contrast, the entire nation’s Republican electorate are even more overwhelmingly supportive of Trump’s position on it than everybody else is against his proposal on it.

    This issue now is preventing continued funding of the American Government. Consequently, it’s the nation’s most politically potent issue, until it finally gets resolved — and the nation is strongly against him on it.

    Today’s Republican Party therefore ignores the policy-preferences of the entire American electorate on this, the nation’s most potent issue, and the Republican Party especially ignores the policy-preferences of Americans who would be the most affected by Trump’s proposal.

    This issue, therefore, represents an example of the success, thus far, of one-man dictatorship, if the President manages to achieve his intention on it.

    This matter, since it is the nation’s political centerpiece until it becomes resolved, suggests that the only people who support the Trump proposal for a cement wall at the southern border are mere groupies of the Republican Trump. While that’s 76% of the nation’s Republicans, it excludes 63% of the U.S. electorate, and especially violates the will of the voters who actually would be the most affected by Trump’s proposal.

    Under these circumstances, this issue could become a crushing blow to future Republican Party electoral chances, if congressional Democrats just continue to say no to anything that even resembles Trump’s proposal. The public strongly don’t want Trump’s proposal. The longer that the U.S. Government remains shut down over this issue, the angrier the public will be against Donald Trump, for his not simply giving in to congressional Democrats on it.

    Consequently, any Republicans who continue to support Trump on this are supporting the Democratic Party, even though they’re not intelligent enough to recognize that fact.

    US Demands Europe to Join Its War Against Russia

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    In recent decades, the US Constitution’s clause that requires a congressional declaration of war before invading any country, has been ignored. Furthermore, ever since 2012 and the passage by Congress of the Magnitsky Act sanctions against Russia, economic sanctions by the US Government have been imposed against any company that fails to comply with a US-imposed economic sanction; a company can even be fined over a billion dollars for violating a US economic sanction. And, so, sanctions are now the way that the US Congress actually does authorize a war — the new way, no longer the way that’s described in the US Constitution. However, in the economic-sanctions phase of a war — this initial phase — the war is being imposed directly against any company that violates a US-ordered economic sanction, against Russia, Iran, or whatever target-country the US Congress has, by means of such sanctions, actually authorized a war by the US to exist — a ‘state of war’ to exist.

    For the US Congress, the passage of economic sanctions against a country thus effectively serves now as an authorization for the US President to order the US military to invade that country, if and when the President decides to do so. No further congressional authorization is necessary (except under the US Constitution). This initial phase of a war penalizes only those other nations’ violating companies directly — not the target-country. Though the US Government punishes the violating corporation, the actual target is the targeted (sanctioned) country. Sanctions are being used to strangle that target. The fined companies are mere ‘collateral damage’, in this phase of America’s new warfare. In this phase, which is now the standard first phase of the US Government’s going-to-war, the US Government is coercing corporations to join America’s economic war, against the given targeted country — in this case, it’s a war against Russia; Russia is the country that the US Government wants to strangle, in this particular instance.

    On Tuesday, 11 December, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously (no member objected), by voice vote — unrecorded so that nobody can subsequently be blamed for anything — that President Donald Trump should impose penalties, which could amount to billions of dollars, against any EU-based corporation that participates with Russia in Russia’s Nord Stream II Pipeline to supply gas to Europe. This “Resolution,” H.Res.1035, is titled “Expressing opposition to the completion of Nord Stream II, and for other purposes,” and it closes by asserting that the US House of Representatives “supports the imposition of sanctions with respect to Nord Stream II under section 232 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.” With no member objecting, the US House thereby warns corporations to cease doing business with Russia, because the US Government is determined that any such business will be terminated and will maybe also be fined. The US Government imposes its will as if it were the dictator to the entire world, and without even needing to use its military, but just economic coercion.

    The US Senate doesn’t yet have a similar bill, but the unanimous passage of this one in the House constitutes a strong warning to Europe’s corporations, that unless they obey the US sanctions, huge financial penalties will be imposed upon them. There are not many issues on which the US Congress is even nearly 100 percent united in agreement, but during this phase, the introductory phase, of America’s war against Russia, the war against Russia is certainly among those few instances — entirely bipartisan.

    According to RT, on December 12th, headlining “US lawmakers want to put a cork in Russia's gas pipeline to Europe”: "On Monday, Austria's OMV energy group CEO Rayner Zele stated that the company is set to continue financing the pipeline next year. OMV has already invested some 531 million euros ($607 million) into the project, Zele told Ria Novosti. In early December, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said that Berlin’s abandoning the project would not make sense as Russia will still go on with it. Germany earlier rebuked Trump’s criticism of the project after the US leader accused Berlin of being a ‘captive’ of Moscow citing Germany’s alleged dependency on natural gas from Russia.”

    If the US Government fails to strangulate the economies in the countries such as Russia and Iran against which it has imposed sanctions, then the next step, of course, would be some type of armed invasion of the given targeted country. Before the US invaded Iraq in 2003, America’s economic sanctions killed from 100,000 to 500,000 Iraqi children, but then the US invaded and destroyed the country vastly more than just that.

    Economic sanctions are an attempt to coerce a targeted country’s — in effect — surrender, but without needing to use a military invasion as the coercive means. Any sanctioned country is therefore in America’s bomb-sights, and will be conquered in one way or another, unless the US Government backs down, at some point.

    According to the most extensive study that was ever done of US military bases worldwide, there are over a thousand such bases, and this is a huge multiple of all non-US military bases put together. That study was published in 1995. Many new US military bases have been built and manned since 1995, such as several dozen in just one country, Syria, where the sovereign Government has never invited them in and many times has ordered them to leave, but they refuse to leave. Currently, the US Government spends more than half of all monies that are being spent worldwide on the military.

    Regarding the Nord Stream II Pipeline, the beneficiaries if that Pipeline is never completed and placed into service, will be American LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) producers, and also America’s allies such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. World War III could actually start as a result of the US Government’s serving America’s (and its allies’) fossil-fuels producers above all other concerns regarding not only global warming, but even world peace itself. Those are the interests that are, in effect, at war against the entire world. This is not a statement of opinion: it is established and well-demonstrated fact. It is the overwhelmingly documented reality.

    Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.