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Venezuela - Guaidó Got Snookered

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Yesterday's failed coup attempt in Venezuela significantly hurt the Trump administration's international standing. It delegitimized its Venezuelan clients Juan Guaidó and Leopoldo López. After recognizing that their original 'regime change' plan failed (again) the White House starts to beat the war drums.

That wasn't the plan:
The Trump administration, which has backed Mr. Guaidó since he first challenged Mr. Maduro’s authority more than three months ago, clearly thought the day would unfold differently.
There is no official explanation why the Trump administration believed that the comical coup attempt by Juan Guaidó and his master Leopolo López would work.

There are signs though that the government of President Nicolas Maduro set a trap. Several people in the top echelon of the Venezuelan government gave false promises that they would join the US proxy side. They snookered Guaidó into launching his coup to let him fail.
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As Venezuela Coup Fizzles, Pompeo Threatens US Attack

Self-proclaimed Venezuelan president Juan Guaido's coup yesterday failed to get off the ground. The military did not join him and protests were barely seen outside a few of Caracas's wealthy neighborhoods. Frustrated and furious, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded by threatening direct US military action to overthrow President Maduro. An urgent call with Russian foreign minister is scheduled today. Are neocons about to ignite the earth? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Venezuela Coup! Will Neocons (Finally) Get Their War?

At dawn, US-backed and self-proclaimed president of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, announced the "final phase" of his coup against the Maduro government. While defections from the military are minor at this point, it is unknown whether the coup will reach critical mass. In the US, both Republicans and Democrats - who not long ago were furious over claims that the Russians have interfered in our elections - are cheering this US interference in Venezuelan elections. US neocons have joined the battle from the safety of their keyboards. Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Why Are Clapper and Brennan Not in Jail?

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The clearest of all the laws concerning US intelligence is Section 798, 18 US Code—widely known in the Intelligence Community as “the Comint Statute,” or “the 10 and 10.” Unlike other laws, this is a “simple liability” law. Motivation, context, identity, matter not at all. You violate it, you are guilty and are punished accordingly.

Here it is:
a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, . . . any classified information—

(1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or

(2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States …or

(3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or

(4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence . . .

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
On December 9 and 10, 2016, the New York Times and the Washington Post independently reported that anonymous senior intelligence officials had told them that, based on intercepted communications, the intelligence agencies agreed that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee to help Donald Trump win the election.
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Tit for Tat? Why Did Mueller Let Trump Off the Hook?

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Why did Robert Mueller end the Russia investigation when he did? He could have let it drag it out for another year or so and severely hurt Trump’s chances for reelection. But he didn’t do that. Why?

Of course, we’re assuming that the investigation was never intended to uncover the truth. If it was, then Mueller would have interviewed Julian Assange, Craig Murray and retired members of the Intelligence Community (Ray McGovern, Bill Binney) who have shown that the Podesta emails were leaked by an insider (on a thumbdrive) not hacked by foreign agents. Mueller would have also seized the servers at DNC headquarters and done the necessary forensic investigation, which he never did. He also would have indicted senior-level agents at the FBI and DOJ who improperly obtained FISA warrants by withholding critical information from the FISA court. He didn’t do that either. Mueller did none of these things which simply proves that his final report was what many people had expected from the very beginning; a purely political document that twists the truth to achieve Mueller’s particular objectives. But to understand what those objectives are, we need to determine what the real goals of the investigation were. So, here they are:

1) To help sabotage Trump’s political agenda;

2) To create a cloud of illegitimacy over Trump’s election;

3) And to prevent Trump from implementing his plan to normalize relations with Russia.
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Why is Maria Butina in Prison?

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Russian gun rights activist and graduate exchange student Maria Butina was sentenced to 18 months in prison last week for “conspiracy to act as a foreign agent without registering.” Her “crime” was to work to make connections among American gun rights activists in hopes of building up her organization, the Right to Bear Arms, when she returned to Russia.
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With Assad Victorious, US Oil Sanctions Now Strangle Entire Syrian Population

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The deep irony of the tragic Syria war is that after seven years of massive bloodshed, as the government has emerged victorious, it is only now with relative stability and ensuing calm over most of the country that an "economic siege" has hit the population with full force. 

Damascus even during some of the worst years of war was always a bustling traffic-packed economic center for its six million inhabitants, but as we noted previously the country has been plunged into a fuel crisis that is the result of new US-led oil sanctions targeting Damascus and Tehran. As one recent WSJ report put it, Iranian oil deliveries to Syria have "fallen off a cliff" since January.

"Lifeless" and "decimated economy" are words used to describe the Syrian capital city and home to Assad in a new Bloomberg piece (which appeared just as busy as most any global cosmopolitan center only months ago), as further "traffic is light" and "morale is down," according to the report.

"Waiting 19 hours for gas in a lifeless city" — the headlines read. The ongoing weeks-long crisis has now been made especially worse after the Trump administration this week ended embargo exemptions for eight countries allowed to purchase Iranian crude.
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