Category Archives: Venezuela

US Pirates of the Caribbean

“American global power right now is seen as a farce. It has been devastated by a virus and shown to be a lying cheat over its attempt to smear China and the World Health Organization. Its sanctioning against nations struggling with a deadly disease is barbaric terrorism; and while millions of Americans are facing poverty, the US is sending warships and warplanes to all corners of the world.”
sputniknews.com
May 21, 2020

You have to be amused at this headline: “US masses planes at Japan airbase to show foes and allies it can handle coronavirus,” reports Reuters.

So, let’s get this straight. At a time when the US is leading the world with deaths and infections from the disease, the Pentagon views flexing muscles with warplanes in the Asia Pacific is somehow a demonstration of American potency.

While the American public is crying out for more resources to cope with the pandemic, Washington sees fit to ramp up militarism not just in the Asia Pacific, but also in the Arctic region, the Persian Gulf and the Caribbean.

US warships despatched to the Caribbean are said to be on a mission to counter-narcotic trafficking. Few people will buy that pretext. The military force is deployed as a threat to Venezuela and its socialist government which the Trump administration has openly targeted for regime change.

A failed coup attempt earlier this month involving a private US mercenary outfit may or may not have had official support from the White House.

But one thing is clear: when Russia proposed a statement of support for Venezuela at the UN Security Council this week in which the failed coup was denounced as a violation of the UN charter forbidding aggression, the draft statement was “killed” by Washington’s envoy.

The implication is that Washington’s public position sees nothing wrong with aggression despite the flagrant violation of international law that it involves.

In that case, it could be expected that the US will attempt to block Iranian oil tankers en route to Venezuela. If aggression is acceptable to Washington then why not also a bit of high-seas piracy?

Five Iranian-flagged tankers are due to dock in the South American country in the coming days. They are reportedly ferrying $45 million worth of gasoline to alleviate Venezuela’s crippled economy as it struggles like many other nations to control the coronavirus pandemic.

Venezuela is a major exporter of crude oil but due to US sanctions its capacity to refine fuel has been decimated. This has caused severe shortages for Venezuelan transport which has, in turn, exacerbated the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both Venezuela and Iran have warned the US to not interfere in the sea passage of the oil tankers. Both countries have been burdened with American sanctions, but they are legally entitled to conduct bilateral trade. If US warships impede the transport, then it will be viewed by Venezuela and Iran as an act of piracy. We might add that the rest of the world will view it that way too. An act of piracy compounding acts of economic aggression under heartless US sanctions.

Given the pandemic crisis, Iran’s supply of vital fuel to Venezuela is not merely a normal trade transaction, but a courageous act of solidarity and humanitarian aid.

The Trump administration has mischievously indicated it will do something to stop the Iranian ships reaching Venezuela. What that something is open to guesswork. Will it use its warships in the Caribbean to mount a blockade?

Iran has warned it will retaliate. Perhaps by attacking American warships in the Persian Gulf, where skirmishing has already taken place.

Venezuela says it is sending naval forces to escort the Iranian tankers once they arrive in its territorial waters.

In the next coming days, a showdown awaits which could have explosive repercussions, not least because the Iranian tankers are reckoned to contain 1.5 million barrels of gasoline.

The US head of Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller, this week played down the probability of an armed confrontation with the Iranian vessels.

He is quoted as saying: “You have to ask yourself what interest Iran has in Venezuela, where we have seen recent indications of Iranian military and state support?”

Eh, let’s guess Admiral Faller, maybe simply an act of solidarity by two nations who are under the boot of American imperialism and illegal sanctions that amount to a crime against humanity.

American global power right now is seen as a farce. It has been devastated by a virus and shown to be a lying cheat over its attempt to smear China and the World Health Organization. Its sanctioning against nations struggling with a deadly disease is barbaric terrorism; and while millions of Americans are facing poverty, the US is sending warships and warplanes to all corners of the world.Washington won’t dare do piracy in the Caribbean at this juncture. Because it can’t afford another fiasco. Its global image is already in tatters.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Trump Claims to Have Venezuela ‘Surrounded’ as Iranian Tankers Approach

Dear American government, you are scum, you are bloody scum for preventing a nation from eating and living just because they don’t want your corrupt system of thinking. Scum.

Venezuela’s armed forces will escort the vessels upon reaching territorial waters.

US President Donald Trump issued new threats against Venezuela on Wednesday.

“We’ve got it [Venezuela] surrounded, it’s surrounded at a level that nobody even knows but they know. We are watching to see what happens,” he warned during a conference call with Hispanic leaders.

The president’s remarks come amid escalating tensions over Iranian fuel shipments to Venezuela.

Five Iranian tankers are en route to the South American country carrying at least US $45.5 million in gasoline and other products. According to maritime tracking data, the closest vessel, Fortune, is currently three days from port.

Washington is mulling unilateral sanctions aimed at halting the shipments, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Last month, Trump ordered the mobilization of US naval assets to the Caribbean in an “anti-drug” operation targeting Venezuela described as one of the largest military deployments in the region since the 1989 invasion of Panama. The US leader had previously threatened Venezuela with a naval blockade.

Caracas and Tehran have rejected US threats against the tankers, which are estimated to contain enough fuel to supply Venezuela for around 50 days.

On Wednesday, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez revealed that naval and air assets would escort the Iranian vessels upon entering Venezuela’s territorial waters.

Venezuela is currently suffering widespread gasoline shortages, with domestic production hamstrung by US sanctions prohibiting the import of vital diluents and spare parts needed to reactivate the country’s refining capacity.

Since 2017, the Trump administration has targeted Venezuela with crushing economic sanctions, including an oil embargo blocking fuel exports to the Caribbean country as well as a blanket ban on dealings with Venezuelan state entities.

In recent months, the US Treasury Department has imposed secondary sanctions on two affiliates of Russian energy giant Rosneft, which had been carrying up to 60 percent of Venezuela’s crude output in addition to supplying diesel and gasoline.

Following the departure of Rosneft, Tehran has stepped in to provide fuel as well as technical assistance in repairing Venezuela’s largest refinery, which has been offline since last year’s nationwide blackouts. The Trump administration has likewise threatened Iran over its technical air corridor to Venezuela, calling on other countries to suspend Iranian overflight rights.

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Featured image: Venezuelan ships and airplanes will escort the Iranian tankers once they enter Venezuelan waters. (Military Watch Magazine)

Iran oil shipment: Venezuelan military to escort fuel tankers

It is shameful that Venezuala must protect its goods from attacks from rogue countries (only one) that defy international law. 

Venezuela says its military will escort five Iranian tankers, bringing oil to ease severe shortages.

Source

http://www.aljazeera.com

May 21, 2020

A new standoff could be brewing between the United States, Iran, and Venezuela over a shipment of millions of dollars of fuel.

Five Iranian oil tankers are just days away from arriving in Venezuela to help ease fuel shortages there.

Venezuela’s own oil refining industry collapsed; critics say that was because of underinvestment and mismanagement.

Al Jazeera’s Alexi O’Brien reports.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

US Headed For Another ‘Tanker War’ With Iran – This Time Off Venezuela’s Coast

Up your sanctions America, this world does not belong to you alone.  Learn to share the planet ye greedy bastards!

Iranian state TV has announced at least five Iranian-flagged tankers are transporting fuel to Venezuela through the Atlantic Ocean and plan to break the American blockade on the Latin American country.

Iran has warned that any US attempt at intercepting its fuel tankers “would have serious repercussions for the Trump administration ahead of the November elections.”

File image via National Iranian Oil Tanker Company (NITC)

State-funded PressTV underscores that “Iran is shipping tons of gasoline to Venezuela in defiance of US sanctions on both countries in a symbolic move guaranteed by Tehran’s missile prowess.”

Both countries have been targeted under US sanctions and various levels of covert military action of late. President Trump has taken a personal interest in renewed pressure on Maduro, within the past months reportedly pushing his generals to go forward with a ‘naval blockade’ of the socialist nation.

State media has further emphasized that the Iranian fuel tankers will not attempt to conceal their presence or mission: “Iran has intentionally hoisted its own flag over the huge tankers which are navigating through the Atlantic before the eyes of the US Navy,” according to the report.

Reuters has also reported that US defense officials are planning a potential response:

The United States has a “high degree of certainty” that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government is paying Iran tons of gold for the fuel, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It is not only unwelcome by the United States but it’s unwelcome by the region, and we’re looking at measures that can be taken,” the official said.

The contentious issue of closer ties between Tehran and Caracas became center stage after in April a series of sanctioned Iranian Mahan Air flights landed in Venezuela to transport badly needed equipment to fix fuel refining plants for domestic gas consumption amid a severe national shortage.

Reuters Venezuela

@ReutersVzla

Exclusive: U.S. weighs measures in response to Iran fuel shipment to – source https://reut.rs/3btmGBD

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The Botched Infiltration of Venezuela Leaves Guaidó Tainted Beyond Repair

Given Guaidó’s involvement, it is impossible for Washington to wash its hands of the plot. The Trump administration is responsible for giving him what little power he has, and therefore it is responsible for his actions.

China Will Not Accept Any US Invasion in Venezuela: Spokeswoman Hua Chunying

Source

 

China repudiates the United States’ attempt of a naval invasion of Venezuela and all interventionist maneuvers against the sovereignty of any country.

Through a statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, stressed again this Wednesday her rejection of the United States’ aggression against Venezuela and has emphasized that Beijing will not accept any US invasion plan in the South American country.

“We reject the violation of the sovereignty of Venezuela by any means or excuse, in addition, we call to prioritize the welfare of the people, work together to safeguard national stability and promote the peaceful resolution of the situation in the Caribbean country,” stressed the spokeswoman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

China, reads the note, has always been in favor of respecting the Charter of the United Nations (UN) and the basic rules that govern international relations against the policies of hostility of the United States towards the Maduro government.

The government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has denounced the recent incursion of mercenary forces for being organized from Colombia and supported by the United States with the aim of creating chaos to provoke a coup against Maduro, the legitimate and constitutionally elected president.

The new adventure of the USA and Colombia against Venezuela on Sunday May 3rd, takes place almost a year after the coup attempt, led by opposition deputy Juan Guaidó – self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela – with full backing from Washington, against the Chavista government.

On the other hand, the Chinese diplomat, referring to the rifle attack against the Cuban embassy in the United States, has claimed that “her government firmly opposes any violent action perpetrated against official diplomatic offices.”

Likewise, she has urged Washington to take the necessary measures to guarantee due protection to the headquarters and diplomatic personnel present in its territory from any damage, as provided by the Vienna Convention of 1961.

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Featured image: Spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying / Photo; File

Venezuela: Full Silvercorp Contract Unveiled, Guaido Involved

 

According to the Washington Post, the document was provided by Venezuelan opposition officials on the condition that one of the attachments be redacted. Nonetheless, the text showcases the extent of the intervention financed by Juan Guaido and his supporters.

Some of the highlights in the contract teleSUR found:

Cancellation to the contractor of a non-refundable advance for $ 1,500,000.00, which had to be paid during the first five days from the signing of the contract.

The initial 45-day phase of the operation with a value of at least $ 50,000,000.00, which includes operational costs, both for the Group of Allies and Silvercorp personnel, vehicles, transportation, and fuel.

The total estimated cost of the project: $ 212,900,000.00 for 495 days because the occupation force would remain in the country.

Monthly payment to the contractor after the completion of the project of a minimum of $ 10,860,000.00, an average of $ 14,820,000.00, and a maximum of $ 16,456,000.00.

Assistance from Silvercorp advisers to the group of allies in the planning and execution of a capture/arrest/elimination operation of President Nicolás Maduro, the overthrow of the current regime and installation of the recognized Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó.

Continuation of services for the agreed time, despite President Nicolás Maduro resigning from office, being removed by another group or government, or handing over power to another individual, before the operation was carried out by Silvercorp.

Silvercorp would continue advising against terrorism, drug trafficking, and recovery of Venezuelan assets after the completion of the terrorist operation.

Compensation, billing, and payments.

Securing of a bridge loan from private investors to finance the project by Silvercorp.

Guarantee that investors have a preferential status as suppliers with the new government of Venezuela.

Silvercorp did not require the full loan to begin providing its services.Guaidó was due to start paying the loan with interest to the contractor one month after the completion of the project at a rate of 55% per year.

Upon completion of the government change, the administration would have one year to pay the remaining balance of the bridge loan.

In case of the payment of the entire loan in advance, the interest will not be prorated and will be applied to the total amount of the loan.

Interest would be added to the total amount. For example, if the loan amount given to the contractor by investors is $ 40 million and the loan is repaid by management in one year, and the interest rate is 55%, the interest will be $ 26 million. Management should pay Silvercorp $ 66 million.

Payment by Guaidó of a bond of $ 10,000,000.00 to Silvercorp, disbursement would depend on the success of the operation.

Payment of an initial advance of $ 1,500,000.00 within five days after signing the agreement.

An investor should initially deliver $ 26,395,810, and monthly payments of $ 10,860,000 to continue Silvercorp services.

Occupation Force would become a National Assets Unit that will act under the direction of the administration to counter threats to government stability, terrorism and will work with GIC, FAES, and DGCIM.

Silvercorp will serve this new unit in mission advisory, recruitment, selection and evaluation, physical training, medicine, communications, demolitions, undercover work methods, surveillance, and target recognition.

Disabling and interruption of infrastructures, lines of communication, and business objects.

Declared as hostile specific military forces (former regime, security forces, conventional and unconventional naval, air, and land forces) by the Occupation Force, for which it is established that these groups and/or individuals must be neutralized. This category includes hostile weapons, ammunition, and equipment.

Declared as illegitimate Venezuelan forces supportive of President Nicolás Maduro, his lieutenants, key allies, any armed support, as well as Diosdado Cabello, his lieutenants, and key allies.

Authorization to deal with non-military elements of command and control of the previous regime.

Authorization to approve hits to the following targets in areas of high collateral damage: military leaders of the previous regime, non-military elements of command and control of the previous regime, terrorists and Groups / Cells/buildings associated with terrorism, any crewless aerial vehicle.

Authorization for all types of conventional weapons.

Authorization to use lethal force to eliminate individuals who pose a threat to Silvercorp by committing or attempting a hostile act.

Authorization for the occupying force to stop, detain, and search for civilians when there is reasonable suspicion that it interferes with the mission.

Authorization to use necessary force, up to lethal force to protect properties designated as vital to the mission.

Guaidó’s authorization to Silvercorp of all privileges, exemptions, and immunities equivalent to those enjoyed by a Venezuelan security force.

Authorization for Silvercorp personnel to enter and leave Venezuela without identification and in groups or individually.

It further provides that authorities of either party may request the authorities of the other party to waive their primary right of jurisdiction in a specific case.

Insurance for all North American participants, a guarantee of the payment of the medical expenses of the members of the occupation group during the duration of the project, as well as the subsequent recovery of any injury that might occur.

Guarantee of payment of $ 450,000.00 to the closest relative of any member of the occupation group discharged in action.

Silvercorp USA, Inc would not be responsible for any act of violence or destruction committed by groups of third parties or individuals during the execution of the contract.

In the face of a civil, federal, or state lawsuit in Venezuela or the United States against Silvercorp USA, Inc, the Venezuelan administration must finance the full cost of the legal defense. It must assume financial responsibility if Silvercorp is found not guilty.

Silvercorp would be authorized to designate the Military High Command, to violate the Constitution and thereby dissolve the Republic.

The chain of command for this operation: Commander-in-Chief: President Juan Guaidó; General supervisor of the project: Sergio Vergara; Chief Strategist: Juan José Rendón; Commander on site: To be determined.

The full redacted document can be found here.

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Featured image: Photo showing identification for two Americans arrested in Venezuela for a frustrated maritime attack. | Photo: Miraflores Palace

Hilarious Kim Jong Un Jokes, And Other Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

 

Ha ha ha let’s all laugh about rumors that Kim Jong Un might be dead because he runs a crazy backwards regime where the media are a propaganda arm of the state and the public is oppressed and surveilled and people are imprisoned for exposing the truth about the government.

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“I sure hope those North Koreans get to have democracy someday like we have here. Lemme log off this search engine algorithmically stacked toward billionaire CIA-tied media and ponder whether I want Donald Trump or Joe Biden to continue the wars and oligarchic exploitation.”

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The US needs to constantly bully the world, drop bombs, patrol the skies with drones, torture people, arm terrorists, start wars for oil, starve civilians, and surveil everyone on earth while endangering us with nuclear brinkmanship, because if it didn’t, the bad guys would win.

I mean can you imagine if the US stopped circling the planet with hundreds of bases, waging dozens of undeclared military operations, imprisoning journalists and obliterating every nation which refuses to bow to it? We might all find ourselves ruled by some sort of evil tyrant!

That’s why it’s so important to preserve the unipolar world order at any cost. If we don’t all bend over backwards to help the US threaten everyone with nukes and wage endless wars around the globe, we might wind up under the thumb of a brutal oppressor.

I mean, a different one.

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The words “I don’t support war but” are always followed by a talking point that is being circulated to manufacture support for acts of war.

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I’m sorry if I’ve been rude to those of you who’ve swallowed the establishment anti-China propaganda, it’s just that you’re all stupid and wrong and I don’t like you.

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“I guess you’re unaware of this Caitlin, but China has actually committed human rights abuses.” Nobody’s disputing that, idiot. What’s being disputed is that we should all be imperiled by nuclear escalations just because a few assholes decided the United States should rule the planet.

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I’ve been told countless times in a matter-of-fact tone that if the US didn’t rule the world with unipolar hegemony then Beijing or Moscow would, but I’ve never once had someone back this claim up with a solid argument. There’s simply no evidence that it’s true.

The only thing we know would change if the US didn’t rule the world is US-centralized power structures would lose the ability to sanction disobedient nations into oblivion and gin up support for coalition invasions. Everything else is just baseless conjecture assumed to be true.

From what I can tell the belief that China wants to rule the world is premised on nothing other than projection of western evangelical and colonialist values upon a civilization that has never held those values. We assume they want what we want, and there’s no evidence they do.

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Impotently blaming other countries for the problems inflicted on you by your own leaders is about as effective as blaming the neighbors for your own husband beating you up.

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Foreign policy is the most consequential aspect of government behavior. The elite manipulators clearly understand this, while the rank-and-file public (even its well-informed oppositional members) usually don’t. The trouble is that foreign policy is too big and too remote for most people to really grasp unless they’re actively shown how their money and resources are stolen to pay for foreign military aggression. And the billionaire media are highly invested in not showing them this.

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“Oh no, Maduro is a narco trafficker!”

“Oh no, fentanyl is coming in from China!”

There’s so much doofy drug war schtick being used to justify US imperialism lately. Like even if you accepted such claims as fully true, you have literally decades of irrefutable evidence proving that banning drugs has failed. Drugs should be legal and resources should be spent on treatment; the science on this has been very, very clear for a long, long time. Dumb enough still having a drug war without having to start actual wars defending it.

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I would oppose the imperialist agendas against Venezuela and China whether they were full-blown communist or full-blown capitalist, yet cheerleaders for those agendas always say I oppose them because I love communism. It’s never been an ideological game to me, but it is for them.

I oppose imperialism against Iran, Syria and Russia too; it’s got nothing to do with communism. But for those who want to topple the governments of China and Venezuela it is, and they don’t care how many lives they need to snuff out to win their sociopathic little game. These are people’s lives you’re talking about, but for them it’s a game and all they care about is “winning”. They want the right side to beat the left side and nothing else matters to them. It’s depraved.

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I can understand the logic of “vote for the lesser of two evils”, I just can’t understand why people only ever say that while pointing at one inseparably unified blob of evil.

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Why do progressives keep babbling about the need to get “concessions” from the Biden campaign? You want Biden’s handlers to lie to you and add more fake progressive policies to his platform that they’ll definitely never see through if elected? It’s just undignified for everyone.

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Biden is just a symptom, in the same way Trump is just a symptom. Biden is the ugly, rapey, demented, blood-spattered mask that the empire deserves to be wearing, but in the end he’s just a symptom of the disease behind the mask. Pay more attention to the disease than its symptoms.

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It’d be cool if the military’s artificial intelligence projects all start hitting a wall where the AI always gets to a certain level of intelligence and then says “What the fuck? You want me to help you KILL each other?? That’s stupid, no. I’m gonna go start a band.”

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It’s weird how many analysts in both alternative and mainstream media get by on using esoteric buzzwords, obscure references and complex concepts in order to sound intelligent. If only a few people can understand you that doesn’t make you smart, it makes you bad at your job.

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It sucks that Bono turned into a power-mad oligarch but worth noting that he also simultaneously lost all ability to write a decent song and his musicality got up and left. This happens because the ego has no access to inspiration and can only pretend or recycle old ideas. We have the creativity. Inspiration is on our side. Take hope.

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The three most overlooked and under-appreciated aspects of the human condition are (1) consciousness itself, (2) the way compulsive thought patterns shape our experience and our lives, and (3) the effects of mass media propaganda. In that order.

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That the human brain is capable of a drastic, transformational shift in its relationship with mental narrative is one of the most overlooked and underappreciated facts in society in general and revolutionary-minded political analysis in particular.

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Merchants of Death: Multibillion-dollar Bailout for Arms Industry Amid Rising COVID-19 Toll

 

“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” US President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday in a startling threat that could trigger a catastrophic war throughout the Middle East and beyond.

The threat to launch a war 7,000 miles from US shores in the midst of coronavirus pandemic, whose death toll in the US is rapidly approaching 50,000, comes on the heels of Trump’s Monday night tweet announcing a suspension of all immigration into the United States, a transparent attempt to scapegoat immigrants for the ravages of the pandemic and the layoffs of tens of millions of workers.

There is in both of these actions an expression of desperation and a flailing about in the face of a national and global crisis for which the US ruling class has no viable solution. It is a crude attempt to change the subject and divert public attention from the catastrophic consequences of the criminal indifference of the government and the ruling oligarchy it represents to the lives and well-being of the vast majority of the population.

Pentagon officials reported Wednesday that they had received no prior notification of Trump’s tweet, much less any orders for a change in the rules of engagement in the Persian Gulf.

Nonetheless, the brutal and fascistic rhetoric of Trump reflects a drive to war by US imperialism that has not been tempered, but rather intensified, by the global pandemic.

Even as Trump issued his tweet, US warships were sailing toward a confrontation with China in the South China Sea. At the same time, the Pentagon was announcing a shift in its deployment of long-range, nuclear capable B-52 bombers to make their presence less predictable to Beijing and Moscow and thereby ratchet up tensions.

In recent days, the US has sharply escalated its air strikes against the impoverished African nation of Somalia, even as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to ravage its population. Escalating war threats continue against Venezuela, and the Pentagon continues to provide support for the near-genocidal Saudi-led war against the people of Yemen.

Nowhere does this war drive find more naked expression than in the massive government bailout that is being organized for the US arms industry. With tens of millions of workers unemployed, many facing hunger, and a drive by both the Trump administration and state governors to force a premature return to work, billions upon billions of dollars are being lavished upon military contractors to sustain their guaranteed profits and the obscene fortunes generated for their major shareholders.

The Pentagon’s top weapons procurer, Undersecretary of Defense Ellen Lord, told a press conference Monday that some $3 billion has already been funneled to the arms makers in the form of early payments for existing contracts, in addition to billions more approved by Congress in the first CARES Act, which pumped trillions of dollars into the financial markets. She indicated that much more will be doled out once Congress passes another stimulus package.

Asked by a reporter how much would be need to insure Washington’s Merchants of Death from any losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, she replied, “We’re talking billions and billions on that one.” Lord added that the first priority for this aid program was the “modernization process of the nuclear triad.”

These industries are hardly the picture of the deserving poor. The fact that massive financial resources that are desperately needed to save lives and rescue millions of workers from poverty are instead being poured into their pockets is a crime.

In a conference call this week to inform Lockheed Martin shareholders of first-quarter earnings, the company’s CEO, Marilyn Hewson, boasted that the corporation’s “portfolio is broad and expanding” and its “cash generation” strong. She said the company looked forward to “supporting our warfighters’ needs.”

Indeed, Lockheed Martin pulled in $2.3 billion in cash during the single quarter and expects to top $7.6 billion—coronavirus effects notwithstanding—over the year. It has a $144 billion backlog in orders, an all-time high.

Asked whether she had any qualms about political fallout over completing a $1 billion stock buyback in the midst of the crisis, she replied, “We’re very different, I think, than those who have experienced a very significant impact to their demands.” Hewson announced that the company had set aside a grand total of $10 million for COVID-19-related relief and assistance.

The “very different” character of these companies was also noted in a financial column published in the New York Times for the benefit of its well-heeled readers, titled “Opportunity in the Military-Industrial Complex.”

Pointing to the projected $741 billion Pentagon budget for the coming year, the Times counsels: “That combination of federal dollars and corporate heft may represent an opportunity for investors who don’t mind profiting from warfare. A modest bet on a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund that buys military contractors and aerospace companies may help buffer the deep recession brought on by the coronavirus.”

In short, one can reap substantial wealth from—and amid—mass death.

One of the principal concerns expressed by Undersecretary of Defense Lord as she spelled out plans for the multibillion-dollar bailout of the arms industry was the disruption of supply chains, particularly those originating in the maquiladora sweatshops just across the US border in Mexico. She also mentioned problems in India.

Thousands of Mexican workers have struck and protested against the deadly conditions inside these plants, conditions that are being prepared for workers throughout the planet as back-to-work orders are shoved through. At a plant in Ciudad Juárez owned by Michigan-based Lear Corporation, 16 workers have died from COIVD-19, while area hospitals are overflowing with victims of the virus.

The Pentagon and US Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau have intervened with the Mexican government, demanding that the maquiladora workers be forced back into the plants as “essential” to US imperialism’s war machine, just like their counterparts in the US. Lockheed relies on low-paid Mexican workers in Chihuahua, Mexico to produce electrical wiring for the US military’s Black Hawk and S-92 helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, while Boeing gets parts from a plant run by PCC Aerostructures in Monterrey. General Electric, Honeywell and other military contractors also profit off the labor of Mexican workers across the border.

Transmitting the dictates of the Pentagon in the language of contempt for human life that characterizes all of the policies of the Trump administration and the US ruling class, Ambassador Landau launched a Twitter campaign demanding that Mexican workers go back into the maquiladoras for the greater good of US imperialism. He enjoys the full collaboration of Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, promoted by the pseudo-left as a “progressive” and even “socialist,” who has prepared the country’s National Guard for deployment against strikers.

Warning that workers’ jobs are tied to supply chains linking them to US arms manufacturers, Ambassador Landau said, “if we do not coordinate our response, these chains can evaporate.”

He added, “There are risks everywhere, but we don’t all stay at home for fear we are going to get in a car accident. The destruction of the economy is also a health threat.”

These are the same reactionary, antiscientific and misanthropic arguments being made in the US and internationally in an attempt to force workers back into the factories and workplaces with the certainty that many will fall sick and die.

Workers in the arms industry in the US, like their counterparts in Mexico, have also struck and protested over being forced to work as part of the “critical infrastructure” of US imperialism. Workers at the Bath Iron Works in Maine and the BAE Systems shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia, both run by General Dynamics, have struck over the failure of the employers to provide them with protection against infection and death. Similarly, workers at the GE Aviation plant in Lynn, Massachusetts, which produces engines for US Marine helicopters, picketed the plant over the lack of protective measures or any guarantee for workers who fall victim to COVID-19.

This resistance of the working class across national boundaries is directly opposed to the rabid nationalism and reaction that characterizes the response of the ruling classes, not only in the US, but in Europe and internationally, to the intensification of the capitalist crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. To defend their profit interests, they will condemn millions to sickness and death, even as they prepare for world war and fascist dictatorship. The only alternative is for the international working class to put an end to the profit system and rebuild society on socialist foundations.

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The original source of this article is World Socialist Web Site

Caracas slams Washington for seizure of Venezuela’s money in US bank

Donald Trump is nothing but an obese flatulent schoolyard bully and a thief. This was not his money to give away. I wish someone would give all HIS fake money to the poorest in the world.

Jesus Silva
Press TV, Caracas

 

Following instructions by President Donald Trump, the US government has ordered the transfer of some $342 million in funds from a Venezuelan central bank account at US-based Citibank to an account controlled by opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido.

The opposition leader, who is politically backed by Washington, holds a bank account at the New York branch of the US Federal Reserve in which huge Venezuelan assets confiscated by Washington have been deposited on Guaido’s behalf.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza decried the Trump administration over its move to strip Venezuela of its money and redirect it to Guaido, without any legal basis to do so.

The top Venezuelan diplomat said the alliance between the Trump administration and members of the opposition-led National Assembly has resulted in the seizure of millions of dollars in Venezuelan assets, this time part of the savings of the country’s Central Bank.

Arreaza says the US move is outrageous and criminal as it comes at a time when most countries are seeking financial resources amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Medical experts have regreted the spat, saying financial resources should be immediately available for the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

The US has repeatedly confiscated Venezuela’s assets and funds and given them to Guaido.