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Bolton’s Long Game Against Iran – Pakistan Becomes Saudi Arabia’s New Client State

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The Wall Street Journal has an article whose very title – Ambitions for an “Arab NATO” Fade, Amid Discord – more or less, says it all. No surprise there at all. Even Antony Zinni, the retired Marine General who was to spearhead the project (but who has now resigned), said it was clear from early on that the idea of creating an “Arab NATO” was too ambitious. “There was no way that anybody was ready to jump into a NATO-type alliance,” he said. “One of the things I tried to do was kill that idea of a Gulf NATO or a Middle East NATO.” Instead, the planning has focused on “more realistic expectations,” the WSJ article concludes.

Apparently, “not all Middle Eastern nations working on the proposal, want to make Iran a central focus – a concern that has forced the US to frame the alliance as a broader coalition,” the WSJ recounts. No surprise there either: Gulf preoccupations have turned to a more direct anxiety – which is that Turkey intends to unloose (in association with Qatar) the Muslim Brotherhood – whose leadership is already gathering in Istanbul – against Turkey’s nemesis: Mohammad bin Zaid and the UAE (whom Turkish leadership believes, together with MbS, inspired the recent moves to surround the southern borders of Turkey with a cordon of hostile Kurdish statelets).

Even the Gulf leaders understand that if they want to “roll-back” Turkish influence in the Levant, they cannot be explicitly anti-Iranian. It just not viable in the Levant.

So, Iran then is off the hook? Well, no. Absolutely not. MESA (Middle East Security Alliance) maybe the new bland vehicle for a seemingly gentler Arab NATO, but its covert sub-layer is, under Mr Bolton’s guidance, as fixated on Iran, as was “Arab NATO” at the outset. How would it be otherwise (given Team Trump’s obsession with Iran)?
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Emergencies Do Not Trump the Constitution

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After Congress rejected President Trump’s request for 5.7 billion dollars for the border wall, the president declared a national emergency at the southern border. President Trump claims this “emergency” gives him the authority to divert funds appropriated for other purposes to building the border wall.
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Venezuela: US Regime Change in Progress!

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When the neocons wanted to invade Iraq and overthrow its government they spent a good deal of time trying to convince us that they didn't just want to invade Iraq and overthrow its government. No, it was all about 9/11 and WMDs and US national security and ultimately about "humanitarianism" in the end. We would be greeted as liberators, they said. They tried to make the case over the course of months and even years and even involved Congress in the effort: the Iraq Liberation Act was passed way back in 1998!

It's all different now. In January, on the eve of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro's second term, a politician all but unknown in Venezuela got a call from US Vice President Mike Pence urging him to invoke Venezuelan constitution article 233 and declare himself "interim president." Pence promised US backing for the move to overthrow the elected Venezuelan in favor of a politician who had never even run to be Venezuela's president. Ah, but they claimed that conditions spelled out in Venezuelan constitution's article 233 were met for this obscure politician, national assembly president Juan Guaido, to assume the office of the presidency. Of course article 233 says no such thing, but the US regime change express correctly counted on a compliant mainstream media to let that whopper go unchallenged. 

Checking their claims is actually quite easy, as article 233 is pretty straightforward. It lays out six scenarios whereby the head of the national assembly can temporarily assume the duties of the president for 30 days for the express purpose of holding another vote to fill the vacant presidential seat. None of the conditions have been met. While it's preposterous to assert that US foreign policy should be driven by the desire to enforce another country's constitution (while violating ours), even if we were to allow that to slip in this case there would simply be no legal case to recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela's president.
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Burning Aid: An Interventionist Deception on Colombia-Venezuela Bridge?

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CARACAS, Venezuela — The Trump administration’s coup against Venezuela culminated on February 23 with US-backed opposition attempting to ram several trucks loaded with boxes of USAID“humanitarian aid” across the previously unused Francisco de Paula Santander bridge connecting Colombia to Venezuela.

The trucks failed to reach the other side — but that was never really the point of the stunt. As Father Sergio Munoz, a right-wing Venezuelan activist posted on the Colombian side of the border, explained to journalist Dan Cohen, the humanitarian “aid” was a purely symbolic provocation aimed at discrediting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in international eyes and generating waves of destabilizing violence.

By the end of the day, the trucks lined up on the Francisca de Paula Santander bridge were flanked by gangs of guarimberos.

These were the nihilistic masked youth who form the shock troops of the right-wing opposition, and who placed Caracas under siege with violent barricade protests, known as guarimbas, at several points between 2014 and 2017. A mob of guarimberos burned to death Orlando Figuera, a 22-year old black Venezuelan accused of supporting Maduro, on an eastern Caracas street in broad daylight, back in June 2017.
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Richard Branson Joins Venezuelan Regime Change Effort

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As I write this, there is a false flag underway on the border of Venezuela and Brazil. It looks like two people were killed and a dozen wounded after Venezuelan troops opened fire on locals. The confrontation is part of an effort to deliver “aid” to the crisis-wracked nation (thanks in large part to US sanctions). 
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Half-A-Cheer For Supremes' Civil Asset Forfeiture Ruling

Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on civil asset forfeiture - that states are bound by the Eighth Amendment - may be a step in the right direction, but it's only a baby step. Police are still free to steal from individuals not even accused of a crime, let alone convicted of a crime. They are just now told to not steal too much. The real issue that needs to be addressed is that the government should not be able to steal from the people. It's that simple. A break down of the ruling and what it means in today's Liberty Report...
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What If They Started a War and No One Showed Up?

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The humiliation of United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Warsaw last week was a good thing. The ancient Greeks, exercising their demonstrated ability to synthesize defining characteristics, had a word for it: hubris. Hubris is when one develops an extreme and unreasonable feeling of confidence in a certain course of action that inevitably leads to one’s downfall when that conceit proves to be based on false principles.

Pompeo was in Warsaw for a “summit” arranged by the US State Department in partnership with the Polish government to discuss with representatives of sixty nations what to do about the fractious situation in the Middle East. In advance, he promised that the meeting would "deliver really good outcomes." The gathering was initially conceived as a “war against Iran” precursor, intended to pull together a coalition against the Persians, but when it became clear that many of the potential participants would balk at such a designation, it assumed a broader agenda concerning “Peace and Security in the Middle East.”

Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria were not, not surprisingly, invited as some of them were the expected targets of whatever remedial action the conference might recommend. Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu was, of course, present, tweeting in advance of the gathering that it would be all about “war against Iran.” He also characteristically delivered a warning that Iran was planning a “second holocaust” for his country.
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First Venezuela, Now Nicaragua? Bolton Says Ortega’s Days ‘Numbered’ & People ‘Will Soon be Free’

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US President Donald Trump’s top foreign policy advisor John Bolton appears dead set on resuming his decades-long stand-off with Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega, hinting that Washington-backed regime change may be in the offing.

“The Ortega regime has sentenced three farm leaders to 550 years in prison for their roles in protests in 2018, where Ortega’s police forces reportedly killed 300 activists. As President Trump said Monday, Ortega’s days are numbered and the Nicaraguan people will soon be free,” the national security advisor to the US president tweeted on Wednesday.

The leaders of anti-Ortega protests were given jail terms this week, after they were implicated in the deaths of four policemen and a teacher during a shootout last July.

The Central American nation has been rocked by unrest since April last year, with protesters demanding the resignation of Sandinista party leader Ortega, who has been president since 2007, and convincingly won another five-year term in 2016.
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Iraq Lies Redux: Trump Admin Claims Iran/al-Qaeda Alliance

In an astonishing Washington Times article this week, unnamed Trump Administration officials (who may or may not be called "John Bolton") are claiming that Iran, which has been battling al-Qaeda in Syria for nearly four years, is actually secretly allied with al-Qaeda and therefore Iran can be attacked with no further Congressional authorization. Are we seeing the old "babies thrown from incubators" lies resurrected to gin up a war with Iran?
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